As a Washington, DC criminal defense attorney, I tend to get calls from college students or recent grads that have been arrested for the first time in their lives on alcohol-related charges. Whether it was from someone who got in a fight outside a DC bar or club and was charged with simple assault, someone charged with malicious destruction of property, a DUI, or even someone charged with sexual abuse after allegedly groping someone at a bar, these offenses all started out as plans to go out and have fun and ended with an arrest.
When my client is a college student or young professional with an alcohol-related charge, representation often requires a different approach than in the case of a major felony. In this case, the most important thing to my client is getting him or her through the process as quickly and as painlessly as possible while minimizing any criminal record. This is especially true with clients who are subject to background checks like law students, lawyers, and some federal employees.
A typical story might involve a group of friends going out to the bars in Adams Morgan or the H Street Corridor in Washington, DC. Shortly before the bars close, people are drunk and someone starts a fight. Everyone moves outside, and the fight continues. The DC Metropolitan Police (MPD) are called, and one or more of the people involved are arrested on assault charges. The college student is now put in the back of a scout car (MPD cruiser) and taken to the 3rd District station. He or she is booked, processed, interviewed, and hopefully released. If the suspect isn’t cooperative with the police, then he or she may be taken to the Central Cellblock, and you don’t want that happen.