Criminal Defense

Updated on April 16th, 2024 at 05:21 pm

Criminal charges are a threat to your future. A criminal conviction on your record can not be an embarrassment but affect your ability to vote, carry a firearm, and obtain future employment and security clearances. Defense attorneys are here to protect your rights and obtain the most favorable result possible for your case. At Bruckheim & Patel, our aggressive Maryland and D.C. criminal defense attorneys are committed to safeguarding your future.

DC Criminal Charge

Our experienced attorneys handle a wide range of litigation. In the criminal arena, our specialties focus on DUI, DWI, simple assault, solicitation, prostitution, drug and gun possession, and unlawful entry cases. Misdemeanor offenses have lower possible sentences than felony offenses. At Bruckheim & Patel, our attorneys are with you every step of the way to help you navigate the landscape of hearings, plea offers, trial, and, if necessary, sentencing and post-conviction appeals.

Criminal defense lawyer - Washington, D.C.

Bruckheim & Patel defends all crimes in Maryland and the District of Columbia, including:

Contact Bruckheim & Patel for a free, immediate consultation at 240-753-8222.





Homicide: Murder & Manslaughter

There are different levels of homicide charges, all of which are Class A felonies. Murder in the First Degree is the premeditated and deliberate killing of another person. If convicted, sentences could range from 30 years to life without release. A person convicted of Murder in the Second Degree – the deliberate and malicious killing of another person – could face life in prison.

Both Voluntary and Involuntary Manslaughter are felony offenses and carry maximum sentences of 30 years. Voluntary Manslaughter is the killing of another person without malice and in the heat of passion. Involuntary Manslaughter is the killing of another person without malice while committing a misdemeanor offense or while committing a lawful act in an impermissible way.


An assault charge could range from a felony down to a misdemeanor. Aggravated assault is either the knowing/purposeful infliction of serious bodily injury on another person or the intentional/knowing engagement in conduct creating a grave risk of serious bodily injury to another person, causing the foreseeable injury, and doing so in a display of extreme indifference to human life.

It carries a maximum sentence of 10 years. Simple assault is the voluntary and purposeful use of violence in an attempt to cause injury to another person while having the ability to do so. As a misdemeanor, it carries a maximum sentence of 180 days in prison and/or up to a $1000 fine. An experienced DC Assault lawyer can ensure your rights are upheld and you have the best outcome possible.


First- and second-degree burglary are felony offenses under DC § 22-801. First-degree burglary involves breaking and entering a residential building with the intent to take anything from the premises or to commit a crime. It also requires that someone else be present at the time.

The charge carries a possible sentence between 5 and 30 years. Second Degree Burglary is entering a building or property where goods are kept with the intent to steal something or commit a crime. It carries a possible sentence between 2 and 15 years. An experienced DC theft lawyer can help get a reduced sentence or the case dismissed.


There are two degrees of theft: first and second degree. Theft is the wrongful obtaining or use of someone else’s property with the intent to either deprive the rightful owner of the benefit of the property or to keep the property for personal use.

The key difference between the two levels of theft is the value of the stolen property. First-degree theft involves property valuing $1,000 or more and carries a maximum sentence of 10 years. Second-degree theft involves property with “some value” that is less than $1,000 and carries a maximum sentence of 180 days and/or up to a $1000 fine.


Engaging in prostitution or soliciting for prostitution are both misdemeanor offenses. Prostitution involves the performance of sexual acts or contact in exchange for something of value. Prostitution/Solicitation carries a maximum penalty of 90 days for a first offense, 180 days for a second offense, and 2 years for any convictions after that. If you’re charged, a DC solicitation lawyer can help.


A person is found guilty of first-degree fraud when, after engaging in a scheme to obtain another’s property by use of false or fraudulent pretenses, the property is successfully obtained. If the property is valued over $1,000, it is a felony offense and carries a maximum sentence of 10 years and a fine potentially twice the value of the property involved in the case. If the property has “some value” below $1,000, it is a misdemeanor and carries a maximum sentence of 180 days.

Second-degree fraud is committed when a person participates in a scheme with the intent to obtain another’s property through fraudulent means. It is a felony offense if the property is valued over $1,000, carrying a maximum penalty of 3 years and a fine possibly twice the value of the property at issue. It is a misdemeanor if the property has “some value,” and a maximum sentence of 180 days can be imposed. If you’ve been charged with fraud, you’ll need an experienced DC fraud attorney to help.

Restraining Order

Restraining orders (“Civil Protection Orders”) are granted when at least two incidences of threatening, harassing, or stalking are provable against a particular individual and when that individual is reasonably afraid. To file a CPO or a CPO has been filed against you, you’ll need a solid DC CPO lawyer.


Stalking is committed when a person directs actions against a specific individual with (1) the intent to cause them to fear for their safety, feel seriously alarmed or suffer emotional distress, (2) the accused knows these actions will cause the target to experience these emotions reasonably, or (3) when the accused should have known these actions would cause a reasonable person to experience these emotions.

A conviction for stalking has a maximum penalty of 1 year for a first offense. Proof of stalking is also a basis for obtaining a restraining order (Civil Protection Order). A violation of a CPO order can lead to criminal contempt charges in DC Superior Court.


A hit-and-run violation occurs when the driver of a vehicle involved in a collision does not stop to relay identifying information to either the driver of the other vehicle or to the police. If the collision resulted in injury to another person, leaving before calling 911 and waiting for police to arrive could also be a hit-and-run.

If the collision resulted in injury to another, and the driver is convicted of a first offense, a maximum penalty of 180 days could be imposed. On a second offense, the maximum penalty goes up to 1 year. If the collision only resulted in the destruction or damage to property, a first-offense penalty is 30 days. A second offense has a maximum penalty of 90 days. Whether it’s your first or second offense, you still need a capable DC hit and run lawyer.

Driving under the influence (DUI/DWI)

DUI/DWI is a misdemeanor offense charged to a person who drives under the influence or operates a vehicle while intoxicated by drugs, alcohol, or both. A conviction for a first offense in the District of Columbia has a maximum penalty of 180 days and a possible fine of $1,000. There are differing mandatory minimum prison sentences depending on the driver’s Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) at the time of the offense.

For a second offense, the fine could be anywhere between $2,500 and $5,000, and a maximum penalty of 1 year in prison could be imposed. There’s also a 10-day mandatory minimum prison sentence, but additional jail time may be required depending on BAC.

For every conviction after the first two, the fine could range between $2,500 and $10,000, and a maximum penalty of 1 year could be imposed. For a third DUI offense, the district requires a minimum prison sentence of 15 days, but additional prison time may be required depending on the BAC.

Consult with Bruckheim & Patel Attorneys

Whatever trouble you find yourself in, you should always have an experienced attorney representing your rights in court. This ensures the case goes smoothly and your interests are well represented.

Our criminal defense attorneys have experience in the different areas we’ve outlined and can give you expert representation. Contact Bruckheim & Patel lawyers today for a consultation on your case.

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