Lefeged was arrested during a traffic stop after police said they found a semi-automatic pistol in the car in which he was riding. Police say they also smelled what appeared to be marijuana and found an open bottle containing vodka and orange juice in the car's centre console. Lefeged and another passenger were taken into custody after they tried to run from officers, and the driver got away, authorities have said.
D.C. Superior Court Magistrate Judge Frederick Sullivan ordered Lefeged released on personal recognizance after a brief hearing in which the third-year pro appeared in court in an orange jail uniform. The decision came against the request of prosecutors, who asked to keep him behind bars as the case moves toward a possible grand jury indictment.
Lefeged, 25, has been charged with carrying a licensed pistol outside the home, a felony.
"This is a case involving a traffic stop, indicia of drug use, flight from police, recovery of an open container," prosecutor Ben Schrader told the judge.
Lefeged's lawyer, David Schertler, asked that his client be released, saying the Colts have considered him "an exemplary citizen" during his time with the team.
Police say the Chevy Camaro convertible was pulled over in northeast Washington just after midnight Saturday for speeding and because a backseat passenger was standing upright in the car. Police say the driver stopped but then drove away, nearly striking the officers who had surrounded the car. Lefeged and another passenger later ran but were caught in different locations, police say.
Officers say in a police report that they smelled burnt marijuana, though Schertler says no traces of the drug were found. They also say they found an open container of alcohol in the centre console cup holder and a semi-automatic pistol that the prosecutor says was loaded with one round in the chamber and 12 in the clip. Paperwork in the car showed that Lefeged bought the gun for about $900 this year, police said; it was spotted "in plain view" beneath the passenger's seat.
Police initially filed various other charges against Lefeged related to the incident, but prosecutors are only proceeding with the guns charge.
Colts spokesman Avis Roper said the team would have nothing more to say about Lefeged's arrest because it is a pending legal matter.
Lefeged, who grew up in Montgomery County, Md., and played for Rutgers in college, is entering his third NFL season. He was signed by the Colts as an undrafted free agent in 2011 and started four games last season.
AP Sports Writer Michael Marot in Indianapolis contributed to this report.