DC Criminal Traffic lawyer

Subtitle VII of Title 50 of the Washington DC official code outlines the regulation of traffic in the District. It discusses not only the proper way to operate while in and around traffic, but also the penalties if you were to violate any of these regulations. Violating aspects of Subtitle VII could result in years in prison and thousands of dollars in fines.


Certain miscellaneous rules governing the proper way to handle various traffic issues are also covered, such as towing and impounding of vehicles, right-of-ways at crosswalks and for buses, congressional tags and signs for yielding to pedestrians.

The revenue generated from traffic fines is growing rapidly in the District of Columbia, according to the Washington Examiner. Fiscal year 2012 saw an increase of more than 15 percent in revenue over the previous year, bringing fine revenue to $93.5 million. If you find yourself facing traffic charges, and want help defending your rights, give a DC traffic lawyer at our offices a call. Or, learn about other criminal offenses in DC.

How to Contest a Ticket

All motorists in the District can contest a driving ticket. To initiate the process, a driver or their attorney can file a request for a hearing online, by mail, over the phone, or in person. To avoid any additional fines, drivers should be sure to do so within 30 days of the date of receiving a ticket.

Drivers who utilize the online tool will be able to immediately select their own date and time for the in-person hearing. All other applicants will receive a notice of this time within two weeks via mail.

What to Expect at a Hearing

Unlike many other jurisdictions, Washington DC traffic court is not conducted like a short trial. At the day of the hearing, a driver must present their appointment confirmation form and their driver’s license at the courthouse. They are then brought to a room where a hearing examiner will listen to their reasons for why they should not be held responsible for the ticket. The officer who issued the ticket does not need to appear and, as a result, cannot be questioned by the driver.

This lack of ability to confront the police officer usually places drivers at a disadvantage. However, an experienced traffic attorney in DC could work to keep a defendant’s documentation organized, to present their case in a clear and concise manner, and to respond to any follow-up questions asked by the hearing examiner.

Once the session is complete, the hearing examiner will issue a decision. If the examiner believes that an individual was not responsible for the violation, the case is dismissed, and they are free to go. Even if the examiner still finds a person responsible, they may reduce the fine associated with the case, but they cannot waive the added points that will be applied to their driving record. Still, there is often nothing to lose for individuals who wish to exercise their right to a traffic court hearing.

Motor Vehicle Definition

In DC, motor vehicle is defined as any vehicle propelled by internal combustion engines, electricity or steam. Personal mobility devices and batter operated wheelchairs are separate entities.

Speeding and Reckless Driving

According to § 50-2201.04, a vehicle should never be driven at a speed greater than that permitted by adopted regulations. Drivers who do operate their vehicles in a careless manner on a highway, disregarding the rights and safety of others or who drive at such a high speed so as to endanger others, may be found guilty of reckless driving. A first offense of reckless driving can lead to up to $500 in fines and up to three months in prison. A second offense of reckless driving within a two year period from the first can mean $2,500 in fines and one year in prison. A third or greater offense within a two year period from the first offense may result in $3,000 in fines and up to a year in jail. If you are found guilty of reckless driving, rely on the knowledge of traffic violations lawyers in Washington DC for your best defense.

Infractions in Work Zones

Drivers that commit a moving infraction within a work zone while work is being performed, and traffic is regulated and restricted in and around the zone, run the risk of incurring civil fines double that of the normal amount. This is stated in º 50-2201.04c

Fleeing from the Scene of an Accident

If a driver causes damage to another person or their property, they are required to provide personal information to the other driver or other relevant persons. If this cannot be done, the driver at fault must report the accident and provide this info to the police. Failing to properly report the incident and necessary information when another person has been injured can result in a $1,000 and 180 days imprisonment for a first offense. A second offense may raise penalties to $2,500 and up to one year in prison. If the damage is limited to property, a first offense could result in a $250 fine and up to 90 days incarceration. A second offense involving property when the person has already been convicted of a first offense involving property can lead to $300 and 90 days in prison.

Driving Under the Influence of Drugs or Alcohol

According to § 50-2201.05b, no person may control or operate a vehicle if their blood alcohol concentration is 0.08, or if their urine shows a concentration of 0.10. Being under the influence of a combination of drugs and alcohol, or showing any measurable level of drugs or alcohol while under 21 years of age is also prohibited.

A first offense violation of this part of the code may receive a fine of $1,000 and up to 180 days imprisonment. Make sure that you speak with one of our lawyers in DC if you find yourself facing a traffic violation or criminal traffic charge.

Negligent Homicide

DC Code 50-2203.01 states that when a person causes the death of another through reckless, careless or negligent driving, even without will, they may incur a fine of up to $5,000 and face up to five years incarceration if convicted.

Obscured Vision

According to § 50-2207.02 no motor vehicle may be parked or driven upon public spaces and streets if its windshields have a certain level of decreased light transmittance. For vehicles other than mini-vans, front windshields and front-side windows must have at least 70 percent light transmittance, and rear windshields require at least 50 percent light transmittance. In the case of mini-vans, front windshields and front-side windows must have at least 55 percent light transmittance, and rear windshields require at least 35 percent light transmittance.

Violating this law can result in a $50 citation. The vehicle must be inspected and brought into compliance within five business days after the filing. If this is not done, the fine could increase to $1,000.

This section does not apply to limousines, ambulances, buses and hearses that meet the requirements set forth in 18 DCMR § 413.10. It also does not apply to church owned vehicles, official government vehicles, cars exempt because of certain medical conditions of the owner and vehicles that have tinting that was installed by the manufacturer prior to purchase.

Pedestrian Offenders

If a pedestrian commits an infraction, and is stopped by a police officer or other authorized official, he or she must give the official true identification information for the purpose of including that info on a notice of infraction, although they do not have to present documentation to prove that information. Refusing to provide this information can lead to a fine of no more than $250 and no less than $100.

This article does not contain all aspects of the Washington DC traffic law code. Citizens may find more details and guidance through a variety of Internet and city sources.

How a DC Traffic Attorney Could Help



If you ever find yourself facing traffic violation charges in the District, contact one of our DC criminal traffic lawyers for the best representation in and out of court. Our team is well versed in this type of law, and will provide you with the guidance you need at this difficult time. Call today to schedule your free initial consultation.