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DC Criminal Defense Attorney

Monday, April 22, 2019

Jason Kalafat Named to 2019 Super Lawyers


The Law Office of Jason Kalafat founder Jason Kalafat has been named by Super Lawyers as a Super Lawyer in the area of criminal defense in Washington, D.C.   

Super Lawyers is a rating service of outstanding lawyers from more than 70 practice areas who have attained a high-degree of peer recognition and professional achievement.


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Monday, August 14, 2017

Remaining Silent: Why it's Never a Good Idea to Speak to the Police

I’m often asked, “what is the one thing you wish you could have advised your clients before they hired you?”  The answer to that question is easy, DO NOT SPEAK TO THE POLICE.

Time and time again, after I am retained in a criminal defense matter, I learn that my clients spoke to the police about their cases before hiring me.  Those conversations take many forms, ranging from short “informal” discussions to formal interrogations. With very few exceptions, it is never in someone’s best interest to speak to the police if there is any chance whatsoever the police are investigating them for a crime.  By speaking to the police you are providing them with a significant amount of evidence that can be used against you at trial (remember, statements given to police by a criminal defendant are admissible in any prosecution brought against them).


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Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Will Police Misconduct in DC Finally Be Addressed?

As reported in the Washington Post, on January 24, the D.C. City Council will hold an oversight hearing to address issues related to police misconduct in the District.  Council member Tommy Wells (D-Ward 6), chairman of the D.C. Council’s public safety committee said he wants Metropolitan Police Department (“MPD”) Chief Cathy L. Lanier to answer questions about whether police officers who are engaged in unsavory behavior are being identified. 

Wells, who is running for mayor, stated “[i]t is very important to me that residents have confidence in our police officers to be upstanding citizens who are on the side of angels and not people who commit crimes.” 


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Monday, December 30, 2013

What is Diversion? -- Part Two

This blog post is the second of a two part series discussing the various forms of "diversion" offered for most DC misdemeanor crimes.  

When an individual is charged with a criminal offense in Washington, DC, in most cases a plea offer is made by the prosecutor.  For a majority of misdemeanor offenses and occasionally in felony matters, the plea offer made by the government will be an offer of what is known as “diversion.”

Diversion is a method by which an individual can resolve his or her case short of conviction.  There are many different types of diversion, including, DC Traffic Diversion, STET Agreements, Deferred Prosecution Agreements, Deferred Sentencing Agreements, Drug Court and Mental Health Court.  Each type of diversion comes with its own advantages and disadvantages. DC Traffic Diversion, STET Agreements and Deferred Prosecution Agreements were discussed previously in Part One.  Deferred Sentencing Agreements, Drug Court and Mental Health Court are discussed in detail below.


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Friday, December 27, 2013

What is Diversion? -- Part One

This blog post is the first of a two part series discussing the various forms of "diversion" offered for most DC misdemeanor crimes.  

When an individual is charged with a criminal offense in Washington, DC, in most cases a plea offer is made by the prosecutor.  For a majority of misdemeanor offenses and occasionally in felony matters, the plea offer made by the government will be an offer of what is known as “diversion.”

Diversion is a method by which an individual can resolve his or her case short of conviction.  There are many different types of diversion, including, DC Traffic Diversion, STET Agreements, Deferred Prosecution Agreements, Deferred Sentencing Agreements, Drug Court and Mental Health Court.  Each type of diversion comes with its own advantages and disadvantages. DC Traffic Diversion, STET Agreements and Deferred Prosecution Agreements will be discussed in detail in this blog post.  Deferred Sentencing Agreements, Drug Court and Mental Health Court will be discussed in Part Two.


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Friday, December 6, 2013

What Happens After I am Arrested in DC?

The answer to this question greatly depends on the particular facts and circumstances surrounding your arrest.  At the outset, if you are arrested for a criminal offense in Washington, DC, that means that the law enforcement agency arresting you believes there is “probable cause” to place you under arrest.  Whether or not probable cause exists depends on whether in the particular circumstances, a police officer who is conditioned by their observations and information, and guided by their experience, reasonably could believe that a crime has been committed by the person who is arrested.

Once an officer has probable cause for an arrest, the officer can then formally arrest you and take you into custody.  This means that you are now subject to the control of the police, are no longer free to leave and you would most likely be constrained by handcuffs or by some other means. 


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Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Why the Police Don't Read You Your Rights

When an individual is placed under arrest a police officer is required to read an individual their Miranda rights.  Those rights, as made famous by mainstream television on shows like Law and Order, guarantee that an individual who is placed under arrest cannot be interrogated without an attorney present or without first waiving his or her right to have an attorney present.  Therefore, if after you are placed under arrest the police officers interrogate you, meaning they ask you incriminating questions related to the crime, without first reading you your Miranda rights, then anything you say to the police cannot be introduced as evidence at trial.  


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Wednesday, August 7, 2013

When Can the Police Search My Car?

The short answer is, it depends.  If the police have stopped your vehicle due to a traffic infraction they may be able to search your vehicle in certain circumstances.  If the police have probable cause to believe there may be illegal drugs or weapons in your vehicle then they will be legally justified in searching your vehicle.  However, probable cause cannot be established purely through a "hunch" of the police officer.  They must have an objectively reasonable basis to believe there are illegal drugs or weapons in the vehicle.  This basis is usually established if the officer see or smell drugs or see weapons within the vehicle.  In addition, if you or one of your passengers were to tell the police officer that there were drugs or weapons in the vehicle they would also most likely have probable cause.  


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Monday, July 1, 2013

Supreme Court Says OK to Government DNA Collection

On June 3, 2013, the Supreme Court ruled in Maryland v. King that when police officers make an arrest supported by probable cause to hold a suspect for a serious offense and bring him to the station to be detained in custody, taking and analyzing a cheek swab of the arrestee’s DNA is, like fingerprinting and photographing, a legitimate police booking procedure that is reasonable under the Fourth Amendment.


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| Phone: 202-505-2135

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