Code of the District of Columbia

Chapter 34. Use of “District of Columbia” by Certain Persons.


§ 22–3401. Use of “District of Columbia” or similar designation by private detective or collection agency — Prohibited.

No person engaged in the business of collecting or aiding in the collection of private debts or obligations, or engaged in furnishing private police, investigation, or other private detective services, shall use as part of the name of such business, or employ in any communication, correspondence, notice, advertisement, circular, or other writing or publication, the words “District of Columbia”, “District”, the initials “D.C.”, or any emblem or insignia utilizing any of the said terms as part of its design, in such manner as reasonably to convey the impression or belief that such business is a department, agency, bureau, or instrumentality of the municipal government of the District of Columbia or in any manner represents the District of Columbia. As used in this section and § 22-3402, the word “person” means and includes individuals, associations, partnerships, and corporations.


(Oct. 16, 1962, 76 Stat. 1071, Pub. L. 87-837, § 1.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 22-3423.

1973 Ed., § 22-3423.

Section References

This section is referenced in § 22-3402 and § 22-3403.


§ 22–3402. Use of “District of Columbia” or similar designation by private detective or collection agency — Penalty.

Any person who violates § 22-3401 shall be punished by a fine not more than the amount set forth in § 22-3571.01 or by imprisonment for not more than 90 days, or by both such fine and imprisonment.


(Oct. 16, 1962, 76 Stat. 1071, Pub. L. 87-837, § 2; June 11, 2013, D.C. Law 19-317, § 235, 60 DCR 2064.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 22-3424.

1973 Ed., § 22-3424.

Section References

This section is referenced in § 22-3401.

Effect of Amendments

The 2013 amendment by D.C. Law 19-317 substituted “not more than the amount set forth in § 22-3571.01” for “of not more than $300”.

Emergency Legislation

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 235 of the Criminal Fine Proportionality Emergency Act of 2013 (D.C. Act 20-45, April 1, 2013, 60 DCR 5400, 20 DCSTAT 1300).

Editor's Notes

Applicability of D.C. Law 19-317: Section 401 of D.C. Law 19-317 provided that the act shall apply only to offenses committed on or after June 11, 2013.


§ 22–3403. Use of “District of Columbia” or similar designation by private detective or collection agency — Prosecutions for violations.

All prosecutions for violations of § 22-3401 shall be conducted in the name of the District of Columbia by the Corporation Counsel or any Assistant Corporation Counsel. As used in this section the term “Corporation Counsel” means the Attorney for the District of Columbia, by whatever title such attorney may be known, designated by the Mayor of the District of Columbia to perform the functions prescribed for the Corporation Counsel in this section.


(Oct. 16, 1962, 76 Stat. 1071, Pub. L. 87-837, § 3; May 21, 1994, D.C. Law 10-119, § 18, 41 DCR 1639.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 22-3425.

1973 Ed., § 22-3425.

Change in Government

This section originated at a time when local government powers were delegated to a Board of Commissioners of the District of Columbia (see Acts Relating to the Establishment of the District of Columbia and its Various Forms of Governmental Organization in Volume 1). Section 401 of Reorganization Plan No. 3 of 1967 (see Reorganization Plans in Volume 1) transferred all of the functions of the Board of Commissioners under this section to a single Commissioner. The District of Columbia Self-Government and Governmental Reorganization Act, 87 Stat. 818, § 711 ( D.C. Code, § 1-207.11), abolished the District of Columbia Council and the Office of Commissioner of the District of Columbia. These branches of government were replaced by the Council of the District of Columbia and the Office of Mayor of the District of Columbia, respectively. Accordingly, and also pursuant to § 714(a) of such Act ( D.C. Code, § 1-207.14(a)), appropriate changes in terminology were made in this section.