Code of the District of Columbia

Subchapter IV. Arrest Warrant and Summons.


§ 23–561. Issuance, form, and contents.

(a)(1) A judicial officer may issue a warrant for the arrest of any person upon a sworn complaint which states facts constituting an offense over which the judicial officer has jurisdiction for trial or preliminary examination, and establishing probable cause to believe that the person committed the offense. More than one warrant may issue on the same complaint.

(2) Upon request of the prosecutor, a summons shall issue instead of an arrest warrant. More than one summons may issue on the same complaint. If a person fails to appear in response to a summons, a warrant shall issue for his arrest.

(b)(1) An arrest warrant shall be signed by the judicial officer and shall state or contain the name of the issuing court, the date of issuance of the warrant, a description of the offense charged, and the name of the person to be arrested or, if his name is unknown, any name or description by which he can be identified with reasonable certainty. It shall command that the person be arrested and brought before the issuing court or officer.

(2) A summons shall be in the same form as an arrest warrant except that it shall summon the person named to appear before the issuing court or officer at a stated time and place.

(c) An arrest warrant may be directed to a specific law enforcement officer or to any classifications of officers of the Metropolitan Police of the District of Columbia or other agency authorized to make arrests or execute process.

(d) Each complaint shall be made in writing upon oath or affirmation. Except for good cause shown, no warrant shall be issued unless the complaint has been approved by an appropriate prosecutor.


(July 29, 1970, 84 Stat. 627, Pub. L. 91-358, title II, § 210(a); Oct. 26, 1974, 88 Stat. 1456, Pub. L. 93-481, § 4(e).)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 23-561.

1973 Ed., § 23-561.


§ 23–562. Execution and return.

(a)(1) A warrant issued pursuant to this subchapter shall be executed by the arrest of the person named. The officer need not have the warrant in his possession at the time of the arrest, but upon request he shall show the warrant to the person as soon as possible. If the officer does not have the warrant in his possession at the time of the arrest, he shall inform the person of the offense charged and of the fact that a warrant has been issued.

(2) A summons shall be served upon a person by delivering a copy to him personally, by leaving it at his dwelling house or usual place of abode with some person of suitable age and discretion then residing therein, or by mailing it to the person’s last known address.

(b)(1) The officer executing a warrant shall make return thereof to the judicial officer before whom the person is brought for preliminary examination. At the request of the appropriate prosecutor, any unexecuted and unexpired warrant shall be returned to the issuing court or judicial officer and shall be canceled.

(2) On or before the return day the person to whom a summons was delivered for service shall make return thereof to the court or officer before whom the summons is returnable.

(3) At the request of the appropriate prosecutor made at any time while the complaint is pending, a warrant returned unexecuted and not canceled or expired or a summons returned unserved or a duplicate thereof may be delivered by the judicial officer to the marshal or other authorized person for execution or service.

(c)(1) A law enforcement officer within the District of Columbia making an arrest under a warrant issued pursuant to this subchapter, making an arrest without a warrant, or receiving a person arrested by a special policeman or other person pursuant to § 23-582, or a designated civilian employee of the Metropolitan Police Department receiving a person arrested by a law enforcement officer within the District of Columbia or a special policeman or other person pursuant to § 23-582, shall take the arrested person without unnecessary delay before the court or other judicial officer empowered to commit persons charged with the offense for which the arrest was made. This subsection, however, shall not be construed to conflict with or otherwise supersede section 3501 of Title 18, United States Code. When a person arrested without a warrant is brought before a judicial officer, a complaint or information shall be filed forthwith.

(2) Before taking an arrested person to a judicial officer, a law enforcement officer or a designated civilian employee of the Metropolitan Police Department, may perform any recording, fingerprinting, photographing, or other preliminary police duties required in the particular case, and if such duties are performed with reasonable promptness, the period of time required therefor shall not constitute a delay within the meaning of this section.


(July 29, 1970, 84 Stat. 628, Pub. L. 91-358, title II, § 210(a); June 12, 1999, D.C. Law 12-284, § 8(b), 46 DCR 1328.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 23-562.

1973 Ed., § 23-562.

Cross References

Execution of warrants by police force, see § 5-127.05.

Emergency Legislation

For temporary amendment of section, see § 8(b) of the Metropolitan Police Department Civilianization and Street Solicitation for Prostitution Emergency Amendment Act of 1998 (D.C. Act 12-428, August 6, 1998, 45 DCR 5884).

For temporary amendment of section, see § 8(b) of the Metropolitan Police Department Civilianization Legislative Review Emergency Amendment Act of 1998 (D.C. Act 12-506, November 10, 1998, 45 DCR 45 8139), and § 8(b) of the Metropolitan Police Department Civilianization Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 1999 (D.C. Act 13-13, February 8, 1999, 46 DCR 2333).

Temporary Legislation

Section 8(b) of D.C. Law 12-282 inserted “or a designated civilian employee of the Metropolitan Police Department receiving a person arrested by a law enforcement officer within the District of Columbia or a special policeman or other person pursuant to § 23-582 (1981 Ed.)” in (c)(1); and in (c)(2), inserted “or a designated civilian employee of the Metropolitan Police Department.”

Section 13(b) of D.C. Law 12-282 provided that the act shall expire after 225 days of its having taken effect.


§ 23–563. Territorial and other limits.

(a) A warrant or summons for a felony under sections 16-1022 and 16-1024 or an offense punishable by imprisonment for more than one year issued by the Superior Court of the District of Columbia may be served at any place within the jurisdiction of the United States.

(b) A warrant or summons issued by the Superior Court of the District of Columbia for an offense punishable by imprisonment for not more than one year, or by a fine only, or by such imprisonment and a fine, may be served in any place in the District of Columbia but may not be executed more than one year after the date of issuance.

(c) A person arrested outside the District of Columbia on a warrant issued by the Superior Court of the District of Columbia shall be taken before a judge, commissioner, or magistrate, and held to answer in the Superior Court pursuant to the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure as if the warrant had been issued by the United States District Court for the District of Columbia.

(d) When an application alleges that (1) an act which would constitute a felony if committed by an adult has been committed by a child, (2) the child may not with due diligence be found within the District of Columbia, and (3) if the District of Columbia is a party to article XVII of the Interstate Compact on Juveniles, the child is not known to be in a jurisdiction which is a party to such article, a juvenile officer may secure a warrant for the arrest of the child as if he were an adult. When the child is brought before the issuing court or officer pursuant to the warrant he shall be ordered transferred to the Family Division of the Superior Court pursuant to section 16-2302. If the child is found in a jurisdiction which is a party to such article and if the District of Columbia is a party to such article, he shall be returned as provided in that article and the warrant shall be null and void.


(July 29, 1970, 84 Stat. 628, Pub. L. 91-358, title II, § 210(a); Mar. 2, 2002, D.C. Law 14-73, § 2, 48 DCR 9578.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 23-563.

1973 Ed., § 23-563.

Effect of Amendments

D.C. Law 14-73, in subsec. (a), inserted “a felony under sections 16-1022 and 16-1024” after “summons for”.

Emergency Legislation

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 2 of Parental Kidnapping Extradition Emergency Amendment Act of 2001 (D.C. Act 14-113, August 3, 2001, 48 DCR 7647).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 2 of Parental Kidnapping Extradition Legislative Review Emergency Amendment Act of 2001 (D.C. Act 14-137, October 23, 2001, 48 DCR 9918).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 2 of Parental Kidnapping Extradition Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 2002 (D.C. Act 14-249, January 28, 2002, 49 DCR 1047).

References in Text

The Interstate Compact on Juveniles, referred to in the first sentence of subsection (d) of this section, is codified in §