A Primer of DC By Night: The Mortal World


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Various & Sundry Laws, Rules, Resources and Facts to help Players Navigate the Capital City




Pronunciation: 'pri-m&r, chiefly British 'prI-m&r
Function: noun
Etymology: Middle English, from Medieval Latin primarium, from Late Latin, neuter of primarius primary
2 : a small introductory book on a subject


This section is just a catch-all page for a wide variety of facts, laws and information regarding the Mortal World

that players have needed over the years, and there was really no other place to express them.

If you have any requests for additions, or corrections to the page, let us know.




An information page on various things such as DC law on arrest, jail and court procedures, victims' rights, bail, and other relevant things likely to come up in RP.




"What to do if you are arrested." This is a good web site to follow the various steps in processing a criminal case in DC. As much as various PCs get involved with the courts, this is handy to know, to track your actions in RP.




DC, Maryland and Virginia all have the same drinking laws regarding bars. No minors after 9PM, 18 to enter, 21 to drink, Drivers license, DMV ID Card, Military ID Card or Passport are only valid forms of ID. DC bars all close at 2 am.



GANGS: For various legal and sociological reasons, DC does not have Gangs in the traditional sense.

Sure, there are drugs and guns and criminal activity, but there are no Crips and Bloods wars, none of the Compton style stuff you see in New Jack City or Boyz N The Hood. There's rappers and gangstas but the "lifestyle" is different here. 

There are definitely Crews: smaller, looser organized. Crews hang, they are not for life. Hell, they're often not for more than a year or two to make money. They are just as vicious as Gangs, however. Crews are not staffed by Wannabe's. They are every bit as dangerous as Gang members. 

But please do not make references to Gangs in DC, in RP or in Backgrounds. They do not exist.

There are some Latino (such as MS-13) and Asian Gangs represented outside the City, mostly in Arlington and Alexandria (Route 1 South). They are of no meaningful consequence to DC proper, however. Remember the FBI makes its home here.

Please refer to these links for more info (first three are most important):

According to GangsOrUs, this is a rough roster of actual Crews in DC (obviously subject to frequent change):

12th Street Crew, 10th Place Crew, 12th & Hamlin Street Crew, 13th Street Crew, 14th & Clifton, 14th & Good Hope Road Crew, 14th & Monroe Crew, 1512 Crew, 15th Place Crew (1-5 Mob), 16th and U Street Crew, 1st & Kennedy Crew, 1st & O Street Crew, 1st & Seaton Place Crew, 1st & T Street Crew, 203 Crew, 3500 Crew, 501 Capers Crew, 58th Street Mob, 5th & O Street Crew, 7 n L Mob, 7th & O Crew, 7th & Taylor Crew, Alabama Avenue Crew, Allison Street Crew, Barry Farms  Crew, rw Brown Union, Clifton Terrace University, Condon Terrace Crew, Congress Park Crew, Crittenden Crew, E Street Crew, F Mob, Fairfax Village Crew, Fern Street Crew, H Street Crew, Hobart Stars, Hothead Boys, Kentucky Courts Crew, La Mara Park, La Mara R, Langston Crew, Levis Street Crew, Lincoln Heights Crew, Lincoln Westmoreland, Mellon Mob, Michigan Park Crew, Montana Avenue Crew, Naylor Road Crew, Orleans Crew, Park Morton Crew, Parkland Crew, Potomac Gardens Crew, Queen Street Crew, Riggs Road Crew, Rosedale Crew, Stanton Terrace Crew, Sursum Corda Court Crew, Todd Place Crew, Wellington Park Crew, Woodland Crew

See also a new book on this topic: Shadows Behind the U. S. Capitol, by Theophus A. Brooks and Bridget T. Miller



We already stated on the genre rules pages that most supernaturals should not be involved in such jobs, IC for various reasons (There are exceptions but that is our rule.) However, we also have found too many players who want these types of PCs and do not give them stats that make any sense.

So, one of our Ops has kindly put together a Doc outlining minimum stats distribution for any characters (usually meaning mortals or at least genetic humans) who are police, federal agents or military types. It can be downloaded  HERE (1.0 stats, needs updating for 2.0)

MINIMUM WAGE: For those of you who are either getting a job or paying a worker IC, some of you needed current minimum wage information and law from the US Dept. of Labor.


DCPD does not give out a master roster of all missing persons in the City to civilian walk-ins. You can enquire about a specific person to the Precinct that covers your area. (see Police Precincts)


There is so much available on the web about the Music Scene in DC, that it's hard to pick what links to share. But here is one that does a decent job of it. 


DCPD has 7 Precincts ( )

POLICE CHIEF:   (Charles H. Ramsey)




There is no such thing as private security jobs in the City of Washington, DC. There are in MD and VA, but possessing a license from either state is *NOT* valid to practice in the City. DC Private Eyes, bodyguards, etc. are trained through the Police Department and registered separately. You may not freelance, either. 

PI's, Bodyguards and Security who are not licensed by DCPD may not carry any form of weapons, and if they act upon a private citizen even "in the course of duty" you are subject to possible assault charges as if you were not on duty. You are a private citizen and are conferred no additional rights. 

In VA and MD, by the way, PI's, bodyguards etc. are also private citizens without additional rights BECAUSE they are not considered a division of the police as DC's are.


DC is not like New York City. It has a limited Metrorail, and a commuter rail (VRE (VA) & MARC (MD) trains, but they are not 24 hour. There is bus service between DC and the suburbs, and plenty of taxi's. There are 3 airports: Reagan National (Locals call it "National"), in Arlington/Crystal City near Southeast DC; Dulles, which is 15 miles west of DC out the Toll Road, and BWI, which is in Baltimore off 695, about a half hour North of the city. Things do tend to quiet down for non-collegiate mortals from around 3 am to 6 am most nights.


DC is, as of 2004, currently in the middle of the inevitable war over smoking in indoor public places. Currently, smoking policies for bars and clubs are individually set, but there is a bill in motion to ban it in all workplaces, and that would include nightclubs and restaurants. Please take the time to find out the smoking policies in any venues you RP in IC, unless your char is the sort to defy them on purpose, in which case non-compliance will be punished IC.

Virginia bars and clubs are almost all non-smoking.


DC proper has a street curfew for anyone under 18 (17 and under). I don't know what time but it is either 10 pm or midnight, we are working on finding out.

If your PC looks teenaged, assume you are occasionally hassled by police to go home, if out and about after those hours IC.


WEAPONS LAWS: Washington, D.C., law states that it is illegal for anyone to own a handgun unless he or she is a police officer, or has owned a gun registered prior to 1976. Even those allowed to possess a gun must keep it unloaded.

Private Investigators, Armoured Car Staff, etc. are not private corporate employees in Washington, but licensed through DCPD and are for legal purposes considered employees of DCPD, not private citizens. 

This is different than both Maryland and Virginia, both of which are far less restrictive. Virginia allows a Concealed carry permit through petitioning the Court. Maryland does not.

The DC city council grudgingly legalized pepper spray in 1993 (provided, of course, that it's properly registered). It is, in fact, illegal to have any weapons in DC, such as any swords or knives or stun-guns. Not even fake ones, and ESPECIALLY not within 100 yards of any Federal building, including airports. Yes, this also means props and toys.


REVISION: District of Columbia Official Code 2001 Edition:   Current as of 12/9/2005  updated 2/6/06

District of Columbia - 22-4504. Carrying concealed weapons; possession of weapons during commission of crime of violence; penalty.  

(a) No person shall carry within the District of Columbia either openly or concealed on or about their person, a pistol, without a license issued pursuant to District of Columbia law, or any deadly or dangerous weapon capable of being so concealed...

District of Columbia - 22-4514. Possession of certain dangerous weapons prohibited; exceptions.

(a) No person shall within the District of Columbia possess any machine gun, sawed-off shotgun, or any instrument or weapon of the kind commonly known as a blackjack, slungshot, sand club, sandbag, switchblade knife, or metal knuckles, nor any instrument, attachment, or appliance for causing the firing of any firearm to be silent or intended to lessen or muffle the noise of the firing of any firearms; provided, however, that machine guns, or sawed-off shotguns, and blackjacks may be possessed by the members of the Army, Navy, Air Force, or Marine Corps of the United States, the National Guard, or Organized Reserves when on duty, the Post Office Department or its employees when on duty, marshals, sheriffs, prison or jail wardens, or their deputies, policemen, or other duly-appointed law enforcement officers, including any designated civilian employee of the Metropolitan Police Department, or officers or employees of the United States duly authorized to carry such weapons, banking institutions, public carriers who are engaged in the business of transporting mail, money, securities, or other valuables, wholesale dealers and retail dealers licensed under 22-4510.
(b) No person shall within the District of Columbia possess, with intent to use unlawfully against another, an imitation pistol, or a dagger, dirk, razor, stiletto, or knife with a blade longer than 3 inches, or other dangerous weapon.
(c) Whoever violates this section shall be punished as provided in 22-4515 unless the violation occurs after such person has been convicted in the District of Columbia of a violation of this section, or of a felony, either in the District of Columbia or in another jurisdiction, in which case such person shall be imprisoned for not more than 10 years.