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Adjudication Services Information
Welcome to the District of Columbia! As you have probably learned, operating a motor vehicle in our city can be a challenge. Parking, photo enforcement (camera), and traffic violation enforcement are a reality in a city that accommodates residents, commuters, and tourists from around the world. Parking and moving violations are enforced to promote the free flow of traffic, provide safety, accommodate residents, and to allow limited spaces to be turned over at a frequency which will allow more people to park.
DC DMV does not issue tickets. Parking, photo enforcement, and minor moving violation tickets are issued by officers of the Department of Public Works (DPW), the DC Department of Transportation (DDOT), and law enforcement agencies including the Metropolitan Police Department, US Capitol Police, US Park Police, and other organizations.
Adjudication Services, which is part of DC DMV, is the agency that provides hearings on parking tickets, photo enforcement tickets, and minor moving (traffic) violations issued in the District of Columbia. Driver license suspension, revocation, and reinstatement hearings are also conducted at Adjudication Services.
Parking and photo enforcement hearings are available by mail and on a walk-in (unscheduled) basis at Adjudication Services located at 301 C Street, NW, Room 1157, Monday through Friday from 8:15 am to 4:00 pm. You may also submit an adjudication request online. You must be the registered owner of the cited vehicle or have a power of attorney form completed by the registered owner. A Power of attorney form is available on our website.
Minor moving violation and driver license hearings must be scheduled; they cannot be contested on a walk-in basis. Minor moving and driver license hearings can also be conducted by mail.
Parking and Photo Enforcement Ticket Timelines
Parking tickets must be answered within 30 calendar days of the issuance date in order to avoid a late penalty equal to the fine. Photo enforcement tickets must be answered within 30 calendar days of the mail date of the ticket in order to avoid a late penalty equal to the fine. To answer a ticket, you must request a hearing online, by mail, in-person, or pay the fine. After 30 calendar days, a late penalty equal to the fine is assessed. After 60 calendar days, a deemed admission is entered and you can no longer have a hearing. You may file a motion to vacate the deemed admission within 60 calendar days of the deemed admission date. There are limited exceptions. In the motion, you must provide an explanation that demonstrates excusable neglect for failing to answer the ticket timely and a defense to the violation. Payment of a ticket is considered an admission. You cannot have a hearing on a ticket once the fine has been paid. Unpaid parking and photo enforcement tickets may result in the immobilization (booting) of your vehicle. DMV does not boot or tow vehicles; however, once your vehicle is booted, it may also be towed to an impound lot. You may be booted for having at least two outstanding parking and/or photo enforcement tickets. Your vehicle may be booted even if it is legally parked if you have outstanding tickets. Unpaid tickets are subject to collections and may be posted to your credit report or offset by your District tax refund. Once tickets are satisfied, they are removed from your credit report.
Moving Violation Timelines
A minor moving violation or traffic ticket must also be answered within 30 calendar days of the issuance date by requesting a hearing or paying the ticket. After 30 calendar days, a late penalty will be assessed equal to the fine. If the ticket is not answered within 60 calendar days of the issuance date, the ticket is deemed admitted and you can no longer have a hearing. You can file a motion to vacate if you failed to answer the ticket within 60 calendar days or you answered the ticket, but failed to appear at the scheduled hearing. There are limited exceptions. You have 60 days to file a motion to vacate. In the motion, you must show excusable neglect for failing to answer the ticket or for failing to appear at the scheduled hearing and provide a defense to the ticket.
Unpaid moving violations will result in the suspension of your driver license. If you are found liable, you must pay the ticket within 30 calendar days of the hearing date or your license will be suspended. If you fail to answer the ticket within 60 calendar days after the ticket is issued, your license will be suspended. For out of state residents, unpaid moving violations are reported to your home jurisdiction for the possible suspension of your out of state license.
Driver impairment and distraction laws are vigorously enforced in the District of Columbia. In general, you cannot lawfully operate a motor vehicle with any measurable amount of alcohol or intoxicating drugs. Cellphones can only be used with a hands free device while driving. Texting while driving is not permitted under any circumstances. Seatbelt use is required for all passengers. Child restraint seats are also required and stringently enforced.
Legal Defenses to Parking Tickets
District of Columbia law (Official Code Section 50-2303.5 (a) (2)) provides seven (7) defenses for parking violations:
1. You were not the owner or lessee of the cited vehicle at the time of the infraction;
2. The cited vehicle or its state registration plates were stolen at the time of the violation;
3. The relevant signs prohibiting or restricting parking were missing or obscured;
4. The relevant parking meter was inoperable or malfunctioned through no fault of the Appellant; or
5. The facts alleged on the parking violation notice are inconsistent or do not support a finding that the specified regulation was violated;
6. The vehicle was suddenly mechanically disabled; provided that the vehicle was removed as soon as practicable, or
7. The operator suddenly needed immediate medical assistance (proof of medical attention required).
Your parking ticket can be dismissed only if one of these seven defenses is successfully raised. You should provide evidence to support your defense at the time of your hearing or when you submit your mail adjudication or online adjudication request. In general, to decrease your chances of receiving a parking ticket, always:
- Read the posted signage. Signs are not required to be posted every car length. Signs posted at the ends of the block are considered “anchor signs” and may govern the allowable parking for the entire length of the block.
- Adhere to the time restrictions on the signage. There is no “grace” period.
- If multiple signs are posted, the most restrictive sign should be followed.
- Don’t expect to receive a verbal or written warning. You will receive a ticket if you park illegally.
- Realize that posted signage takes precedence over what is written on the meter.
- Some violations, such as parking too close to the intersection, within ten feet of a fire hydrant, under a bridge, etc., do not require a posted sign under Title 18 District of Columbia Municipal Regulations Section 2405.
The Top Ten Most Frequently Issued Parking Tickets
The following is a list of some of the most commonly issued parking violations:
- AM and PM Rush Hour – In effect between 7:00 am and 9:30 am and 4:00 pm and 6:30 pm or longer; provides an extra traffic lane during prime commuter hours. A vehicle cannot block this lane during the restricted hours. You may stop only long enough to pick up or discharge.
- Loading Zone – Only commercial vehicles can park in loading zones. A commercial vehicle is a vehicle that is registered in the name of a business or enterprise, not an individual. A commercial vehicle may or may not display commercial tags, depending on the rules of the jurisdiction where it is registered.
- Meters – Adhere to the time restriction on the posted signs. Once the time limit is reached, you can be ticketed for parking overtime even if the meter has not expired.
- Residential Parking Permit Zones – You are allowed two hours in the entire zone for the entire day. You cannot move your car from space to space within the zone and restart the clock.
- Fail to Secure DC Tags – Vehicles parked in DC for a continuous thirty days are required to be registered in DC or to display a reciprocity sticker. If you are a frequent visitor, you may be issued a ROSA (Registration of Out of State Automobile) exemption that will prevent you from being cited for the violation. A ROSA exemption will not prevent the issuance of residential parking permit tickets.
- No Stopping – No stopping or parking is allowed.
- No Standing – No stopping, standing, or parking is allowed.
- No Parking for Street Cleaning – Adhere to the time and day of the week restriction, even if the street cleaning has been completed.
- Emergency No Parking – Adhere to the restriction until the time and date have passed or the sign has been removed.
- Relocation Tow – Your vehicle may be relocated to another space if it is parked illegally. The relocation tow is in lieu of towing your vehicle to an impound lot. The relocation tow fee of $100 will be charged.
Email Ticket Alert Service
DC DMV provides an email ticket alert service which allows drivers to create a single account that provides near real time notification of ticket activity on up to four vehicles and a single driver license. The account is free of charge and drivers will be notified by email when tickets are issued and reminder emails are sent prior to negative consequences or punitive sanctions are imposed, such as late penalties or vehicle impoundment. To enroll, the tags and/or driver license must have had a least one ticket issued within the past 18 months. Customers enrolled in the program will also be able to log on and view all images associated with a ticket and have access to all information in the ticket history file, such as hearing requests, outcomes, payments, appeals, etc. and have the ability to link to the ticket payment and hearing scheduling function.
The Ombudsman is available to assist you in navigating the adjudication process and addressing your complaints/concerns as it relates to the process. Additional information is available in the Ticket Adjudication Ombudsman section.