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Adjudication Services Information for DC Residents
Welcome to the District of Columbia! 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 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, 301 C Street, N.W., Room 1157, Monday through Friday from 8:15 am to 4:00 pm. You may also submit an adjudication request online. To do so, you must be the registered owner of the cited vehicle or have a power of attorney form completed by the registered owner.
Minor moving violation and driver license hearings must be scheduled; they cannot be conducted on a walk-in basis. They can also be conducted by mail.
Parking and Photo Enforcement Ticket Timelines
Parking tickets and photo enforcement tickets* must be answered within 30 days of the issuance date. *Photo enforcement tickets must be answered within 30 days of the mail date of the ticket. To answer a ticket, you must request a hearing or pay the fine. After 30 days, a late penalty equal to the fine amount is assessed. After 60 days, you are deemed liable for the violation, which is considered to be in default and you can no longer have a hearing. You may file a motion to vacate the default judgment between day 61 and day 120. 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 fine is considered an admission. You cannot have a hearing on a ticket once the fine has been paid. Tickets that are not received by DMV, within 21 days, from the issuing agency for entering into the ticket database are automatically dismissed.
Unpaid parking and photo enforcement tickets may result in the immobilization (booting) of your vehicle. 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. Once the 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 days of the issuance date by requesting a hearing or paying the ticket fine. After 30 days, a late penalty will be assessed equal to the fine amount. If the ticket is not answered within 60 days of the issuance date, the ticket is deemed to be in a default status and the driver is deemed liable for the violation. Once the ticket is in default status, you can no longer have a hearing on the ticket. You can only file a motion to vacate default judgment on a moving violation if you scheduled a hearing for the ticket and failed to appear for the hearing. You must show excusable neglect for failing to appear and provide a defense to the ticket. Tickets that are not received by DMV, within 21 days, from the issuing agency for entering into the ticket database are automatically dismissed.
Unpaid moving violations will result in the suspension of your driver’s license. If you are found liable, you must pay the ticket fine within 15 days of the hearing date or your license will be suspended. If you fail to answer the ticket within 60 days, your license will be suspended.
Most moving violations result in points being assessed to your driver’s license. Your license will be suspended if you accumulate 10 points in a two year period and revoked if you accumulate 12 points or more in a two year period.
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. Cell phones 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 practical, or
7. The operator suddenly needed immediate medical assistance.
Your 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.
- 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 10 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 30 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 that allows drivers to create a single account, which provides near real time notification of ticket activity on up to four vehicles and a single driver’s license. The account is free of charge and will allow drivers to be notified by email when tickets are issued and receive reminder emails before negative consequences or punitive sanctions are imposed, such as the assessment of late penalties or vehicle impoundment.
To enroll, the tags and/or driver’s license must have had a least one ticket issued on it within the past eighteen 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 functions online.