1300 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W. Suite 700 - Ronald Reagan Building & International Trade Center - Washington, D.C. 20004

Criminal Defense

Two of our founding lawyers began their legal careers as prosecutors in D.C. Superior Court and D.C. federal court so we are equally at home in federal court or local court defending against criminal charges ranging from simple assault, sexual assault, sexual abuse, child pornography, child sexual abuse, assault with weapons, weapons possession, drug offenses, shoplifting, threats and fraud.

We defend college students, university students, business professionals and government workers and we know the repercussions even misdemeanor offenses can have on our clients’ careers and livelihoods.

We focus on criminal defense in cases involving:

We know that the criminal defense of a college student, university student or small business owner charged with simple assault is really the defense of our client’s career and livelihood because the effects upon their college career, future career, and business liabilities may be severe whether the criminal charge is misdemeanor simple assault or a more serious felony sexual assault or sexual abuse charge. Similarly, the criminal defense of a federal employee or the criminal defense of a government contractor against even a shoplifting charge requires knowledge of what effect the shoplifting charge may have upon the federal employee or government contractor’s security clearance.

Permanent repercussions can arise for client’s facing criminal charges involving sexual assault, sexual abuse, child pornography and child sexual abuse because of the sex offender registration laws. As former sex offense prosecutors, our lawyers investigated and prosecuted the most serious of sexual abuse, sexual assault, child sexual abuse and child pornography cases and we bring that experience to bear in defending our clients against these most serious and damaging of allegations.

Fraud

Effective defense requires your lawyer to understand how those circumstances appear to law enforcement and how best to protect you.

  • Bank Fraud: Bank fraud is a federal offense and typically investigated by the FBI and prosecuted by a U.S. Attorney and the Department of Justice.
  • Wire Fraud: Wire fraud can arise where any electronic means is used in the commission of the fraud. It may be charged by both local and federal law enforcement.

Assault

Assault primarily is investigated and charged by state or local law enforcement. Early and quick contacting of witnesses is often crucial to an assault defense. Our clients benefit not only from our lawyer’s investigatory experience but also from our skilled use of seasoned former-law enforcement investigators.

  • Simple Assault: Misdemeanor simple assault charges can arise from fights where blows are exchanged, pushing and shoving and even where the alleged victim claims they were just in fear of their physical safety.
  • Aggravated Assault: Aggravated or felony assault usually is charged when a complainant has more serious injuries.
  • Assault with a Deadly Weapon: In the District of Columbia and many other jurisdictions, Assault with a Deadly Weapon can be charged where the assault takes places with any object that can cause harm, including everyday objects like shoes, briefcases, sticks as well as knives and guns.
  • Domestic Violence: Assaults that arise between husband & wife, boyfriend & girlfriend, gay couples, members of the same family and household are considered in the District of Columbia and other jurisdictions as domestic violence.

Sexual Assault

Sexual Assault charges can arise from circumstances ranging from complainants of non-consensual touching to allegations of statutory rape and adult rape. The District of Columbia and many other jurisdictions often categorize these crimes under the name of sexual abuse.

Domestic Violence

Assaults that arise between husband & wife, boyfriend & girlfriend, gay couples, members of the same family and household are considered in the District of Columbia and other jurisdictions as domestic violence.

Stalking

Stalking charges typically consist of repeated non-consensual contacts with a complainant such as visits, telephone calls or letters. Cyber-stalking is doing the same thing through emails, text messaging, Facebook messages, Twitter and other internet means.

Cyberstalking

Cyberstalking is stalking done through emails, text messaging, Facebook messages, Twitter and other internet and electronic means.

Threats

Threats primarily are investigated and charged by state and local law enforcement. Threats communicated across state lines whether via telephone, internet or mail often are investigated by federal authorities. Thorough investigation and understanding of the circumstances under which the threats allegedly arose is crucial to defending against these charges.

Internet Threats: Emails, Twitter posts, messages left on Facebook pages can all give rise to criminal investigations of threats as well as stalking (stalking that involves internet communication is often termed “cyber-stalking”).

Computer Crimes

  • Computer Crimes: Crimes committed through use of a computer are prosecuted both locally and federally. Although a computer today can be used in almost alleged crime, the typical investigations and crimes associated with computers are possession of pornography (child pornography and adult pornography), cyber-stalking and piracy. Experts in recovery of electronic information and the analysis of where the information came from, who sent it and who stored it are often needed. WGW lawyers work with highly experienced and often former law-enforcement consultants and experts when they are needed to defend your case.
  • Cyber-Stalking: Stalking crimes typically consist of repeated non-consensual contacts with a complainant such as visits, telephone calls or letters. Cyber-stalking is doing the same thing through internet and/or other electronic means . Emails, text messages, even blogs and tweets on twitter could potentially form the basis for a cyber-stalking charge. An understanding of the internet and current electronic forms of communication is critical to defending such cases.
  • Pornography: Downloading and storage of certain images over the internet can be criminal. Defending against a charge and/or investigation of alleged possession of pornography or distribution requires a thorough understanding of what law enforcement believes to be criminal and whether evidence exists linking the possession and/or distribution to you. Forensic analysis of what has been electronically stored is essential in these cases.
  • Child Pornography: Images of underage children may be considered child pornography in certain instances. Sexual acts or mimicking of sexual acts may be the basis for child pornography charges and/or an investigations. Child pornography is often prosecuted federally and may result in significant jail time.
  • Piracy: Downloading music, movies and even video games may result in criminal charges and investigations in certain instances. Defending such charges require in-depth understanding of what is permissible to download and how to legally do it.

Drugs

Drug charges can vary from simple possession of a marijuana joint to complex conspiracies brought by federal prosecutors, involving wire taps, secretly subpoenaed bank records  and search warrants.

  • Possession: Illegal drugs (such as marijuana, cocaine, heroin, PCP)  on your person, in your car, in your home may cause you to be charged with possession of the drugs. Typically mere possession is a misdemeanor offense punishable by fines and jail time of less than a year. Defending a possession case requires a thorough understanding of how drug treatment and special drug court programs may affect your case.
  • Distribution: Selling or even giving illegal drugs to another person may result in criminal charges for distribution of those drugs. Distribution of drugs usually is charged as a felony with jail time potentially a year or more.

Weapons

Weapons offenses typically involve guns and unauthorized ammunition. Washington, D.C. has strict gun laws and knowledge of those laws is essential to defending your case. Local law enforcement as well as federal law enforcement investigate these charges.

  • Possession: An unregistered firearm or illegal type of gun on your person, in your car or even in your home may cause you to be charged with a crime ranging from a misdemeanor to a felony.
  • Distribution and/or Trafficking: Selling or distributing of illegal guns carry very heavy penalties. Often local police will work with federal agents from ATF (Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms) in investigating these cases.

Theft

Theft charges range from shoplifting to identity theft investigations and may include embezzlement of government funds, theft of government funds, improper use of government payroll and time and attendance fraud. The amount alleged to have been stolen will determine whether the charge is brought as a misdemeanor or felony.

  • Shoplifting: Quick investigation and negotiation with the prosecutor in shoplifting cases can often avoid convictions and jail time. WGW lawyers give you the benefit of their experience with having investigated hundreds of shoplifting cases.
  • Identity Theft: These charges are typically investigated by the U.S. Secret Service or FBI but sometimes also by local police. An understanding of how to analyze your bank records and your use of computers will be essential to defending you against identity theft cases. WGW lawyers will work closely with both accountants and computer experts to defend you.