The DC Office of the Attorney General or “OAG” prosecutes these traffic offenses and they are all misdemeanor crimes. For offenses that do not result in arrest, the District of Columbia Department of Motor Vehicles or “DC DMV” adjudicates these infractions. Judges in the District of Columbia Superior Court adjudicate criminal traffic offenses.
What is the difference between a criminal traffic offense and a ticket?
These charges are different from a speeding ticket, for example, where the police just give a citation that must either be paid or contested with the DC Department of Motor Vehicles. Traffic offenses that do not result in an arrest typically involve some type of moving violation. This could include speeding or running a red light. Other offenses include using a cell phone while driving, failing to use a blinker, and things like failing to control speed to avoid collision. In fact, the list of potential traffic infractions causing a DMV ticket are countless and based on the District of Columbia Municipal Regulations.
Criminal traffic violations are different because police can actually make an arrest if they have reason to believe the person committed these crimes. Criminal traffic offenses tend to involve either a regulatory violation (like driving with a suspended or revoked license) or some type of bad driving offense (like reckless driving or speed over 30). The OAG offers a wide range of diversion options for first and sometimes second offenders in some cases.
What are some examples of DC criminal traffic offenses?
The OAG also prosecutes minor traffic crimes involving counterfeit or altered vehicle tags.
Are there diversion options for DC criminal traffic offenses?
The OAG often offers diversion options for DC criminal traffic offenses. These options typically include having the person charged remedy their license and/or completing community service in exchange for dismissing driver’s license related charges. Other diversion options include a Deferred Sentencing Agreement or “DSA” where the person pleads guilty, completes some combination of classes, community service, and/or fines and then returns to court for sentencing. If the person completes all the requirements of the agreement, the OAG will not oppose a withdrawal of the original guilty plea and then dismiss the criminal case. Also, the OAG may offer something called a Deferred Prosecution Agreement or “DPA” which is similar to a DSA but does not require the defendant to plead guilty to the offense.
Does the OAG prosecute camera tickets?
No. Both DC DMV tickets and arrestable traffic crimes are different from camera tickets. The District of Columbia government permits private companies to maintain speed and red-light cameras all over the city. These tickets usually come in the mail after an alleged offense and do not involve an officer pulling you over and giving the ticket.
Does the firm defend camera tickets?
No. These tickets are notoriously difficult to defend because the law tickets the vehicle—not the driver. That means the fact someone else was driving your car when they got a camera ticket is not a defense to the actual ticket. Because they are almost impossible to contest, there is no real value we can offer clients who are frustrated and wish to contest camera tickets.
Does the firm handle DC DMV tickets?
At Scrofano Law PC, we do handle DC DMV matters but typically charge about $500 per hearing. We must charge at this rate because DMV matters usually take at least a few hours of the attorney’s time in traveling to DMV, waiting for the hearing to be called, and defending the hearing. For many people its not worth it to pay $500.00 to defend against a ticket that costs less than that. However, some situations it makes sense where the recipient of the ticket may have a commercial driver’s license, or their insurance company has encouraged them to contest the ticket to avoid an “at fault” designation in an accident.
A conviction for a DC traffic offense can have serious consequences, including loss of license or driving privileges, probation, or even jail. Contact Scrofano Law for a full consultation today.