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Fight Traffic Ticket in Washington DC

Fight Your Traffic Ticket


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Were you unfairly issued a traffic ticket in Washington D.C.? Do you have the means to prove your innocence? If so, keep reading to find out how to contest your citation with the District of Columbia Department of Motor Vehicles (D.C. DMV).

In Washington D.C. the process of fighting your traffic ticket will differ, depending on whether you received a citation for a:

When you contest ANY type of traffic citation, you're exercising your legal right to plead your side of the case to a D.C. DMV hearing examiner.

You can find specific instructions about contesting your charges printed on your traffic citation. If you lost your ticket, check out our page on lost traffic tickets in Washington D.C. for advice on what to do next.

Fight Your D.C. Moving Violation

You can choose to contest a D.C. minor moving violation ticket EITHER:

  • In person.
    OR
  • By mail.

Regardless of how you choose to fight your ticket, you must respond to D.C. DMV within 60 days of being issued the traffic citation. If you respond:

  • Within 30 days of receiving the ticket, you will NOT have to pay an extra penalty.
  • MORE THAN 30 days after the citation, you'll pay an additional fee, equal to the fine on your ticket.

In Person

The first step to fighting your moving violation ticket in person is requesting a hearing to plead your case at the D.C. Department of Motor Vehicles' Adjudication Services office.

You can request a hearing with the D.C. DMV:

  • Online.
  • By phone: (866) 893-5023.
  • In person at the D.C. DMV Adjudication Services office location.
  • By mail: Send a written request AND your ticket to:
    • DC DMV Adjudication Services
    • P.O. Box 37135
    • Washington, D.C. 20013

Once you've been assigned a hearing date, mark your calendar! Missing your court date could lead to penalties like:

  • Automatic guilty verdict.
  • Driver's license suspension.

If you need to reschedule a hearing, submit a written request at least 7 business days prior to your scheduled court date. Address your written request to:

D.C. DMV Adjudication Services
P.O. Box 37135
Washington, D.C. 20013

At your hearing, the examiner reviews evidence AND arguments presented by yourself and the D.C. ticketing agency that issued the citation, in order to decide whether or not to dismiss your ticket.

If your ticket isn't dismissed, you can request a reconsideration with the D.C. DMV, which allows you to re-plead your case before the hearing examiner.

By Mail

While fighting your ticket in person may be quicker, fighting your traffic citation by mail can be more convenient, especially if you have a busy schedule.

To contest your ticket by mail, you'll need to provide:

  • Your traffic ticket with all information on the backside filled out.
  • Written statement explaining why you're contesting your ticket.
  • Hardcopy evidence, like:
    • Pictures.
    • Receipts.
    • Records.

Enclose all of the above items in an envelope addressed to:

D.C. DMV Adjudication Services
Attn: Mail Adjudication
P.O. Box 37135
Washington, D.C. 20013

The D.C. Department of Motor Vehicles will send you a postcard when your contestation has been received. If you don't receive a confirmation postcard within 2 weeks of sending in your initial letter, call 311 to check the status of your case.

It could take up to 6 6 months for the D.C. DMV to make a decision about your traffic ticket. You'll be notified of the outcome of your ticket contestation:

  • By mail.
    OR
  • Through e-mail.
    • You'll need to register for the D.C. DMV's Ticket Alert Service online if you'd prefer an e-mail response.

If you aren't happy with the D.C. DMV's decision, you can file a request for reconsideration of your case.

Fight Your Parking or Photo Enforcement Ticket

There are a few different ways to contest your D.C. parking or photo enforcement ticket:

  • Online.
  • By mail.
  • In person.

Regardless of how you choose to contest your ticket, you'll need to do so within 60 days of when the ticket was issued OR mailed (in the case of photo enforcement citations).

The timeliness of your response will dictate how much you'll have to pay if you're found responsible for the traffic violations. If you respond between 31 to 60 days after receiving the citation, you'll be responsible for paying original fine PLUS an additional fee (equal to the original fine).

If you're found responsible for the traffic violations and want to continue to fight your traffic ticket, you can always submit a request for reconsideration with the D.C. DMV.

Fight Your Ticket Online

Use the D.C. Department of Motor Vehicles' online adjudication system to submit/upload:

  • A written statement explaining why you shouldn't be charged.
  • Evidence to support your case, such as:
    • Pictures.
    • Car registration card.
    • Receipts.

A D.C. hearing examiner will review your case and mail a decision of whether or not they find you responsible for the traffic charges. It could take up to 6 months to receive these results.

Fight by Mail

If you want to contest your D.C. citation by mail, you'll need to provide:

  • Your traffic ticket with the back filled out.
  • Documents to support your case, such as:
    • Photographs.
    • Records.
    • Insurance card.
  • A completed Mail Adjudication Form (Form DMV-ADS-002).
    • The form contains a number of categories which your argument MUST fall under in order to contest your ticket. Review the form before selecting this option.

Mail the items above to the following address:

D.C. DMV Adjudication Services
Attn: Mail Adjudication
P.O. Box 37135
Washington, D.C. 20013

Dial 311 to call the D.C. Adjudication Services office if you want to check on the status of your case.

Fight in Person

If you'd like to contest your D.C. parking or photo enforcement citation in person, you'll need to attend a walk-in hearing at the Adjudication Services office. To be eligible to fight your ticket in person, you must be:

  • The registered owner of the vehicle on the citation.
    OR
  • Authorized via a Power of Attorney (Form AD-PA-01) to act on someone else's behalf.
    • This form MUST be filled out and notarized ahead of time.

Before heading to your hearing, make sure you have your argument AND hardcopy evidence (e.g. pictures, records, etc.) ready to present. For the Adjudication Services office's address and hours of operation for walk-in hearings, take a look at their contact page.

File a Request for Reconsideration

If you're found responsible for your traffic charges and you want to continue fighting your citation, you'll need to file a motion for reconsideration. You CANNOT FILE AN APPEAL without filing a request for reconsideration first.

You should only request reconsideration if you:

  • Have new/additional evidence in support of your case.
  • Feel mistakes were made by the hearing examiner.
  • Need to discuss certain parts of the case more in depth.

You have 30 days from the date you were found liable for the traffic violations to ask for reconsideration EITHER:

  • Online.
    • You'll have the opportunity to submit additional evidence and an explanation for your request.
    OR
  • By mail. You'll need to provide:
    • Any additional, hardcopy evidence.
    • Written statement explaining why your case deserves reconsideration.
    • A completed Request for Reconsideration (Form DMV-ADS-RR-001).

Send the above documents to:

DMV Adjudication Services
Attn: Request for Reconsideration
P.O. Box 37135
Washington, D.C. 20013

The D.C. DMV will mail their decision on your request for reconsideration within 180 days of receiving the motion.

If your request for reconsideration is denied, you can then file an appeal with the Traffic Adjudication Appeals Board:

If you choose to file an appeal by mail, you'll need to provide the following:

  • Completed Appeals Application (Form DMV-ADS 003).
  • Payment in form of check OR money order made out to the “D.C. Treasurer" for the following fees:
    • The original fine.
    • Any other fiscal penalties assessed in court.
    • $10 per ticket appeal fee.
    • $50 transcript fee.

Mail the above items to:

P.O. Box 77411
Washington, D.C. 20013
Attn: Appeals Office

Consequences of Fighting Your Ticket

Whether or not you're found liable for the traffic violations will determine whether you'll face positive OR negative consequences as a result of fighting your Washington D.C. traffic ticket.

Found Liable

Depending on the severity of your traffic charges, if you're found guilty of your traffic ticket, your penalties could include:

NOTE: If you're a commercial driver, you're required by law to inform your employer of traffic violations within 30 days of conviction.

DMV.ORG TIP: Watch Those Insurance Rates!

DID YOU KNOW: If you're found guilty of your traffic charges you could end up paying a lot more for auto insurance?

Make sure you're fully informed, and take a look at our page on how traffic citations can affect your car insurance rates.

Found Not Liable

If you're found not guilty of the traffic violation, congrats! You can look forward to:

  • Dismissal of all charges.
  • No additional points on your record.
  • No penalties or fines to deal with.
  • Insurance rates remaining the same.

Once you've received a decision about your D.C. traffic ticket, it's important to check your driving record for errors. Any incorrect information could lead to unnecessary penalties, stress, and fines down the road for you.

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