D.C. Traffic Law

< D.C. Criminal Law

D.C. Traffic Attorneys

Subtitle VII of Title 50 in the official code of Washington DC provides comprehensive guidelines and regulations for traffic operations within the District. It not only covers proper conduct while navigating traffic, but also outlines the penalties for violating these regulations. Any violations of Subtitle VII can result in significant consequences, including imprisonment for several years and substantial fines.

Additionally, Subtitle VII addresses various miscellaneous rules that govern specific traffic situations such as vehicle towing and impounding, right-of-way regulations at crosswalks and for buses, and the use of congressional tags and signs to prioritize pedestrian safety.

According to the Washington Examiner, the revenue generated from traffic fines in the District of Columbia has been increasing rapidly. In fiscal year 2012 alone, there was a notable 15 percent growth in fine revenue compared to the previous year, totaling $93.5 million. If you are facing traffic charges and seeking assistance in protecting your rights, we encourage you to contact a DC traffic lawyer at our firm. Alternatively, you can explore information about other criminal offenses in Washington DC.

How to Contest a Ticket

Any driver in the District has the right to challenge a traffic citation. To begin this process, individuals or their legal representatives can submit a hearing request through various methods such as online, mail, phone, or in person. It is important to initiate the request within 30 days of receiving the ticket to avoid further penalties.

Using the online platform, drivers can conveniently select their preferred date and time for the in-person hearing. For those who opt for other application methods, a notice indicating the assigned hearing time will be sent by mail within two weeks.

Overview of a Hearing

In contrast to many other jurisdictions, the traffic court process in Washington DC differs from a traditional trial. On the day of the hearing, the driver must bring their appointment confirmation form and driver’s license to the courthouse. They will be directed to a designated room where a hearing examiner will listen to their arguments against being held responsible for the ticket. It’s important to note that the officer who issued the ticket is not required to appear and cannot be questioned by the driver.

The absence of the opportunity to confront the police officer can put drivers at a disadvantage. However, a skilled traffic attorney in DC can assist by organizing the defendant’s documentation, presenting the case in a clear and concise manner, and addressing any additional questions from the hearing examiner.

Following the hearing, the examiner will render a decision. If the examiner determines that the individual is not responsible for the violation, the case will be dismissed. Even if the examiner finds the person responsible, they may reduce the associated fine, but they cannot waive the points that will be added to the individual’s driving record. Nevertheless, exercising the right to a traffic court hearing often presents individuals with nothing to lose.

Definition of a Motor Vehicle

In the District of Columbia, the term “motor vehicle” refers to any vehicle that operates using internal combustion engines, electricity, or steam. However, it’s important to note that personal mobility devices and battery-operated wheelchairs are considered distinct and separate from motor vehicles.

Speeding and Reckless Driving

As stated in § 50-2201.04, it is important to adhere to the speed limits set forth by applicable regulations when operating a vehicle. Failure to do so may result in a charge of reckless driving if a driver operates their vehicle carelessly on a highway, disregarding the safety and rights of others, or drives at a speed that endangers others. For a first offense of reckless driving, penalties can include fines of up to $500 and imprisonment for up to three months. In the case of a second offense within a two-year period, penalties may involve fines of up to $2,500 and imprisonment for up to one year. For a third or subsequent offense within a two-year period, fines of up to $3,000 and imprisonment for up to one year may be imposed. If you are facing charges of reckless driving, it is advisable to seek the guidance of skilled traffic violations lawyers in Washington DC to mount the strongest possible defense.

Infractions in Working Zones

According to º 50-2201.04c, drivers who commit a moving infraction in a work zone where construction or maintenance work is being conducted and traffic is regulated and restricted may face civil fines that are twice the usual amount.

Fleeing from the Scene of an Accident

Drivers who cause damage to another person or their property are legally obligated to provide their personal information to the affected parties. If they are unable to do so, the driver at fault must report the accident and provide the necessary information to the police. Failing to comply with these reporting requirements when someone has been injured can result in penalties of up to $1,000 in fines and 180 days of imprisonment for a first offense. For a second offense, the penalties may increase to $2,500 in fines and up to one year of imprisonment. If the damage is limited to property, a first offense could result in a $250 fine and up to 90 days of incarceration. For a second offense involving property, when the person has previously been convicted of a first offense related to property damage, the penalties may include a $300 fine and 90 days in prison.

DUI Implicating Drugs or Alcohol

Under § 50-2201.05b of the code, it is illegal for any person to operate a vehicle if their blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is 0.08 or higher, or if their urine shows a concentration of 0.10 or higher. Additionally, it is prohibited to be under the influence of a combination of drugs and alcohol, or to have any measurable level of drugs or alcohol if you are under 21 years of age.

A first offense for violating this provision of the code can result in a fine of $1,000 and up to 180 days of imprisonment. If you are facing a traffic violation or a criminal traffic charge related to these laws, it is important to consult with one of our experienced lawyers in Washington DC.

Negligent Homicide

According to DC Code 50-2203.01, if a person causes the death of another as a result of reckless, careless, or negligent driving, even without intent, they may be subject to a fine of up to $5,000 and a maximum prison sentence of five years upon conviction.

Obscured Vision

As stated in § 50-2207.02 of the DC Code, it is prohibited to park or drive a motor vehicle on public spaces and streets if the windshields have a certain level of decreased light transmittance. The requirements for light transmittance vary depending on the type of vehicle. For vehicles other than mini-vans, front windshields and front-side windows must allow at least 70 percent light transmittance, while rear windshields require at least 50 percent light transmittance. In the case of mini-vans, the minimum requirements are 55 percent light transmittance for front windshields and front-side windows, and 35 percent light transmittance for rear windshields.

Violating this law can result in a citation of $50. The vehicle must be inspected and brought into compliance within five business days after the citation is issued. Failure to comply may lead to an increased fine of $1,000.

It’s important to note that certain vehicles, such as limousines, ambulances, buses, hearses that meet specific requirements outlined in 18 DCMR § 413.10, as well as church-owned vehicles, official government vehicles, vehicles exempt due to specific medical conditions of the owner, and vehicles with tinting installed by the manufacturer prior to purchase, are exempt from this section.

Pedestrian Offenders

When a pedestrian commits an infraction and is stopped by a police officer or authorized official, they are required to provide true identification information to the official. This information will be included on a notice of infraction, although the pedestrian is not obligated to present any documentation as proof. Failure to provide this information can result in a fine ranging from $100 to $250.

Please note that this article does not cover all aspects of the Washington DC traffic law code. For more comprehensive details and guidance, citizens are encouraged to consult various Internet resources and official city sources.

How We Can Help

If you are ever confronted with traffic violation charges in the District, we strongly advise reaching out to one of our experienced DC criminal traffic lawyers. Our team possesses extensive knowledge in this area of law and will offer you the necessary guidance during this challenging period. Contact us today to arrange a free initial consultation and secure the best representation for your case.