If you want to contest a ticket, do not pay the fine and/or penalty. You cannot contest a ticket once you have paid the fine and/or penalty nor can you request a refund.
Adjudication requests must be received within 60 calendar days of ticket issuance.
Ticket fines double in 30 calendar days. If a penalty has already been applied, address both the original fine and the late penalty in your statement.
If you contest the ticket between 31 and 60 calendar days after it is issued, in the case of a parking ticket, or mailed, in the case of a photo enforcement ticket, you must pay both the fine and the penalty if DC DMV hearing examiner finds you liable.
When you submit an adjudication request to admit with an explanation or contest a ticket by mail or online. A DC DMV hearing examiner will read the information you submit to adjudicate the ticket and will decide whether you must pay the fine or the fine and the penalty. The hearing examiner can also decide to reduce or dismiss the ticket based on DC Code and Traffic Regulations. The hearing examiner will mail the decision to the vehicle owner’s address of record with the DMV notifying the owner of the decision.
Parking and photo enforcement tickets can be contested by scheduling a virtual hearing, submitting an online adjudication request, by mail using the mail adjudication form, or you may walk in for an in-person hearing.
Contest Parking and Photo Tickets Virtually
To schedule a virtual hearing for a parking ticket, please use the link below:
To schedule a virtual hearing for a photo enforcement ticket, please use the link below:
Contest Tickets Online
The online system will ask you to provide a written explanation as to why you are contesting the ticket. You should upload supporting documentation such as hardcopy photographs, vehicle registration, or receipts.
When DC DMV receives your online adjudication request to contest a ticket, DC DMV will send a confirmation email. If you don’t receive this email, you should resubmit the online form to contest the ticket or you may call 311 to ask that they confirm our receipt of your request.
The online adjudication form is available at the link below:
Contest Tickets By Mail
When DC DMV receives your request to contest a ticket by mail, DC DMV will send you a postcard that indicates we have received your request. If you don’t receive this postcard, you may call 311 to ask that they confirm our receipt of your adjudication request.
PO Box 31375, Washington, DC 20013
The mail adjudication form is available at the link below:
Contest Parking and Photo Tickets In-Person
To contest a Parking or Photo ticket in person you must visit Adjudication Services for a walk-in hearing.
To contest a ticket, you must be the registered owner of the vehicle and present the vehicle registration, or the owner must authorize you to act on his or her behalf by completing and signing the Power of Attorney form, available at the link below:
If you contest a ticket issued to a rental car you must provide the rental agreement for the vehicle showing the rental period matches the date of issuance for the ticket.
Find more information on the Adjudication Services Office available at the link below:
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 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:
PO Box 31375
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 (i.e., Dept 15 on the bottom of the ticket), 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.
Below is a link to the DC DPW:
How to Decrease Your Chance of Receiving a Parking Ticket
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 10 feet of a fire hydrant, 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 am and 9:30 am and 4 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.
- 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.
- ROSA information is available at the link below:
- 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. A relocation tow fee will be charged.
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:
- Meter problem.
- The meter read failed.
- 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 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.
- 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 disabled 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 disability parking space.
- The authorized owner of the placard or tag must have been associated with the vehicle during the period the ticket was issued. In other words, a non-owner of the placard or tag could not have been fraudulently using the placard/tag to benefit from disability parking.
- 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 Distict'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 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.
DC Code §50-2209.02(a) and (d). §50-2209.02(a) provides that absent a crime or fraud the owner if the vehicle is liable for payment. §50-2209.02(d) provides that the owner is presumed not liable when
- yielding the right of way to an emergency vehicle;
- when the vehicle or tags have been stolen prior to the violation;
- when part of a funeral procession; or
- when following the direction of a law enforcement officer. Here are the provisions:
§50-2209.02(a) Absent an intervening criminal or fraudulent act, the owner of a vehicle issued a notice of infraction shall be liable for payment of the fine assessed for the infraction.
§50-2209.02(d) The owner or operator of a vehicle shall not be presumed liable for violations in the vehicle recorded by an automated traffic enforcement system when yielding the right of way to an emergency vehicle, when the vehicle or tags have been reported stolen prior to the citation, when part of a funeral procession, or at the direction of a law enforcement officer.
You may contest parking or photo enforcement tickets online within 60 calendar days from the date the ticket was issued, or mailed, in the case of photo enforcement tickets, at the link below:
You will be asked to provide an email address. DC DMV will send a confirmation email to that email address when we receive your form contesting the ticket.
If you have a DC DMV email ticket alert service (TAS) account, you will receive an email telling you a decision on your ticket has been made. Register for TAS at the link below:
Contest by Mail
If you want to contest a ticket by regular mail, DC DMV must receive your documentation no later than 30 calendar days from the date the ticket was issued, or mailed, in the case of photo enforcement tickets. If your documentation is received between calendar days 31 and 60, a penalty will be assessed, equal to the initial fine—meaning the ticket will double. If you are held liable for the ticket at this point, you will be responsible for the initial ticket fine plus the penalty.
Complete the information on the back of the ticket and mail the ticket, Mail Adjudication Form, and supporting documentation to:
DC DMV Adjudication Services
Attn: Mail Adjudication
PO Box 37135
Washington, DC 20013