What happens if I have been issued a citation to appear in D.C. Superior Court for an arraignment?
A citation or a ticket requiring you to appear in court is the beginning of a criminal court proceeding. Citations are issued in lieu of you being arrested and fingerprinted if the police can ascertain and verify (1) your identity, (2) your address (3) that you have no outstanding warrants (4) the current offense is a misdemeanor (5) you’re not on probation/parole, and (6) your promise to appear on your own.
When you appear at your arraignment you will learn if you will be charged with the offense or determined by the U.S. Attorney’s Office if your case is “no papered”. It is critical to have an attorney present to represent you because 1) your next court date will be set and, 2) your release conditions will be set including
Stay away addendums,
Screening for diversion options and
Reporting conditions (e.g. every xx days)
Since you are presumed to be innocent, if these release conditions interfere with your life, family or work you will need an advocate to argue whether those conditions should be set in your case.