Please find below frequently asked questions (FAQs) related to DC DMV's ticket services.
2. Legal defenses to parking tickets
a. Parking ticket scenarios with supporting documentation
3. Legal defenses to photo tickets
4. Understanding the ticket timeline
5. How to contest a ticket
How to Decrease Your Chance of Receiving a Parking Ticket
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 end 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.
- You will receive a ticket if you park illegally. Don’t expect to receive a verbal or written warning.
- 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, etc., do not require a posted sign under Title 18 District of Columbia Municipal Regulations Section 2405.
Legal Defenses to Parking Tickets
If you want to contest your parking tickets, there are certain defenses you can offer.
District of Columbia law (Official Code Section 50-2303.5 (a) (2)) provides seven defenses for parking violations:
- You were not the owner or lessee of the cited vehicle at the time of the infraction.
- The cited vehicle or its state registration plates were stolen at the time of the violation (requires full police report).
- The relevant signs prohibiting or restricting parking were missing or obscured.
- The relevant parking meter was inoperable or malfunctioned through no fault of the person who received the ticket.
- The facts alleged on the parking violation notice are inconsistent or do not support a finding that the specified regulation was violated.
- The vehicle was suddenly mechanically disabled, provided that the vehicle was removed as soon as practicable.
- The operator suddenly needed immediate medical assistance (proof of medical attention is 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 when you contest online or by mail request to:
DMV Adjudication Services
ATTN: Mail Adjudication
PO Box 37135
Washington, DC 20013
Note: If you are issued a ticket while driving a rental car, rental car agreements provide that a rental party is responsible for all tickets issued to the rental vehicle during the rental period. DC DMV has discovered that some rental car companies will automatically pay any ticket(s) incurred on vehicles and charge the customer the ticket fine plus administrative fees. They will not provide you with the opportunity to adjudicate the tickets, as the adjudication process ends once a ticket is paid even if the ticket is going through the adjudication process. As the legal owner of the vehicle, rental car companies are within their rights to use this process.
Most parking tickets in the District are written by the DC Department of Public Works (DC DPW). If you receive a parking ticket issued by DC DPW, you may visit the DC DPW website, then search TICPIX to see images of the parking violation and resulting ticket. Any images available will be posted 72 hours after a ticket is issued, but not all violations will have associated pictures.
Parking Ticket Scenarios with Supporting Documentation
This list shows instances in which you should be able to provide images or documentation to support arguments against a ticket:
- The meter read failed.
- The credit card used did not register.
- The coin did not register.
- You have a service request confirmation number from the Citywide Call Center for a report on a broken meter obtained on the same date the ticket was issued. Although a confirmation number will not result in a ticket automatically being dismissed, it will assist the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) in determining if the meter was inoperable.
- You paid for parking with ParkMobile. Submit your ParkMobile detailed sessions report that shows tag number, parking zone number, start time, end time, and date. The ParkMobile monthly invoice is not an acceptable document.
Ticket is defective
- The incorrect tag number. For example, your tag number is MD OQM123 and the tag number on the ticket is MD OOM123. Provide a copy of your vehicle registration as evidence for contesting the ticket.
- The time is missing. The time does not include AM or PM unless the time is noted on a 24-hour cycle or what is usually termed as military time.
- The officer’s name or badge number is missing.
- The ticket violation date is missing.
- The violation location is missing.
Vehicle owner is deceased
- There is no vehicle co-owner and the tickets were issued prior to the vehicle owner’s death.
- Provide a copy of the vehicle owner’s death certificate and the vehicle registration.
Vehicle or vehicle license plate was stolen on the date the ticket was issued
- Provide a copy of the complete police report (which must contain the vehicle tag number).
- The police customer complaint number (CCN) is not sufficient to adjudicate the ticket.
Vehicle suddenly experienced mechanical problems that prevented you from moving it (running out of gas is not a valid defense to a ticket)
- You have a receipt for the repair or tow of the vehicle on or soon after the date the ticket was issued.
You have a valid individuals with disabilities placard or vehicle tag
- The placard or tag was properly displayed at the time the ticket was issued.
- Display of the placard or tags allows the holder or vehicle owner to park for twice the posted time limit when parking is permissible. For example, the vehicle can be parked for four hours in a two-hour residential permit parking zone.
- This defense applies when the vehicle is parked at a red top meter, in a residential permit parking zone or in a designated space for individuals with disabilities.
- The authorized owner of the placard or tag must be present when the placard/tag is used.
You received a ticket while driving a rental vehicle
- The rental car company is the owner of the vehicle. The company may be a part of the District’s Multi-Owner Fleet program and receive monthly reports of unpaid tickets. The company can choose to pay all tickets issued to its vehicles. You should look for language concerning parking tickets in your rental agreement.
- Once the ticket is paid by you or the rental company, you cannot contest it. Under DC law, payment is considered an admission and the adjudication request will not be reviewed. This includes the scenario where you submit an adjudication request; however, before a decision is made, the rental company pays the ticket.
- If you contest in-person or virtually, you must provide a copy of the rental agreement.
- If you contest via mail or online, the decision will be mailed directly to the registered owner, the rental car company.
Legal Defenses to Photo Tickets
If you want to contest your photo tickets, there are certain defenses you can offer. The Automated Traffic Enforcement Act, DC Code §50-2209.01 et. seq. provides the following information. DC Code §50-2209.02(a) provides that absent a crime or fraud the owner of the vehicle is liable for payment of the fine assessed for the infraction. DC Code §50-2209.02(d) provides that the owner is presumed not liable when:
- Yielding the right of way to an emergency vehicle.
- The vehicle or tags have been stolen prior to the violation.
- Part of a funeral procession; or
- Following the direction of a law enforcement officer.
You can find more information on the Council of the District of Columbia Website.
Have questions about the process of your parking, photo enforcement, or minor moving violation ticket? Visit the understanding the ticket timeline webpage for more information.
How to Contest a Ticket
If you believe a ticket was wrongly issued, you may contest it and request a dismissal or fine reduction. To do so, provide DC DMV with all the information and documentation that supports your reasons for contesting.
For specific information on responding to parking or photo enforcement violations, please visit the contesting parking/photo enforcement violations webpage.
For specific information on responding to minor moving violations, please visit the contesting minor moving violations webpage.
Ticket Alert Service (TAS)
A ticket alert service (TAS) account will give you near real-time notification of ticket-related activity on up to four vehicles and a single driver license.
Booted or Towed Vehicles
DC DMV does NOT boot or tow vehicles.
In the District of Columbia, the DC Department of Public Works (DC DPW) boots or tows vehicles that have two or more 61-day-old, unpaid tickets. A boot is a device attached to the vehicle's wheel to immobilize it. The boot can be safely removed only by DC DPW. A booted vehicle is subject to towing immediately, if the outstanding tickets and boot fee remain unpaid.
A vehicle may be towed by DPW or the Metropolitan Police Department if it is parked so as to create a traffic or safety hazard. Information on fees for booted or towed vehicles is available at: DC DMV Fees.
For more information, please visit the booted or towed vehicles webpage.
How to File an Appeal
- To submit an appeal request online, complete the online appeals request here.
- To submit an appeal request by mail, prepare a written statement or complete the appeals form and send it to:
ATTN: Appeals Office
PO Box 77411
Washington, DC 20013
- To submit an appeal request in person, please visit the Adjudication Service Center.
If You Win Your Case on Appeal
If the Appeals Board reverses the hearing examiner’s decision, then all fines, penalties, and fees will be refunded to you by mail.
If the Appeals Board upholds the hearing examiners decision and you want to appeal the Appeals Board’s decision, then you may, within 30 calendar days of the Appeals Board’s decision, file an application for an appeal in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia [PDF]. Submit the completed form to the Office of the Civil Clerk.
The Top Ten Most Frequently Issued Parking Tickets
- AM and PM Rush Hour – In effect from 7-9:30 am and 4-6:30 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.
- Failure 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 Registration of Out of State Automobile (ROSA) 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 has 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. A relocation tow fee will be charged.