DC Traffic Lawyer

Speeding, DWI, failure to stop, driving without insurance, and driving with a suspended license are all examples of the types of traffic violations motorists receive every day in Washington, DC. Without the assistance of a DC traffic lawyer, some of these violations could result in major fines, suspended or revoked driving privileges, or jail time. Penalty points against your license add up, as do increased insurance premiums.

Speeding tickets account for over $6 billion in revenue nationwide each year, and DC is one of the jurisdictions that use speed and red light cameras to augment the administration of the laws. The District of Columbia is also one of many jurisdictions that prohibits the use of hand-held cell phones. Given the constant struggle with gridlocked traffic and the numerous new traffic laws that are enacted nearly every year, it’s fairly easy to find yourself cited for a traffic violation in DC. But what happens after the citation is issued? Here’s more about how a seasoned defense attorney could help you.

How a DC Traffic Lawyer Could Help

DC Traffic AttorneyA DC traffic attorney could help an individual who has been accused of a traffic violation. A traffic lawyer in DC has experience handling cases of a wide range, from DUI violations to reckless driving allegations, and are experienced at helping individuals successfully navigate the often complicated realm of traffic law. A local attorney understands how to build a strong defense for red light cameras and speed camera evidence. While many people assume a traffic ticket is tantamount to an automatic conviction, that is not the case. All traffic violations can be contested and a knowledgeable attorney is well-suited to helping a person either reduce or eliminate any charges they may face.

What Are the Levels of Traffic Offenses in DC?

In DC, there are minor traffic infractions that are resolved in the DMV, and also criminal traffic misdemeanors and felonies that are resolved in the DC Superior Court. Overall, it is advisable to hire a DC traffic lawyer as soon as one is charged with any type of traffic offense in DC. A lawyer could help ensure that their rights are protected and they not exposed to any consequences associated with the conviction, whether it is points on their driving record, suspension or revocation of their license, or potential jail time. An attorney could also help someone challenge the revocation of a license.

Difference Between Infractions and Misdemeanors

A DC traffic infraction is not considered criminal and is resolved in the DMV. Additionally, a conviction of a traffic infraction does not carry any jail time. As such, traffic infractions will show up on a person’s DC driver’s record, but not on their criminal record. A traffic misdemeanor, on the other hand, is resolved in the DC Superior Court and a conviction carries fines of up to $1,000 and/or up to one year in jail. Additionally, these types of offenses will show up on an individual’s criminal record.

Traffic Felonies

A criminal traffic felony differs from an infraction and misdemeanor because of the penalties associated. While a felony is also resolved in the DC Superior Court and shows up on a person’s criminal record, if convicted of a felony, an individual will face higher fines, longer sentences in prison, and supervised probation depending on the circumstances.

How Does the DC Traffic Point System Work?

If a person is found liable for a moving violation following an administrative hearing or has failed to pay a ticket within the required time period, the DMV will assess points to their DC driving record. Any moving violation received comes with at least two points that will automatically be assessed to the person’s driver’s record if not contested. As a result, it is often a good idea to consider hiring a DC traffic lawyer as soon as an individual receives a DC moving violation ticket, as points may have severe consequences on someone’s insurance rates or their livelihood, particularly if the person is a commercial driver.

Consequences of Demerit Points

If a person accumulates too many points, their DC driver’s license may be suspended or revoked. If they accumulate 10 to 11 points, their driver’s license will be suspended for 90 days. If a person accumulates 12 or more points, their driver’s license will be revoked for at least six months and will continue until they go through the reinstatement process.

Having a considerable amount of points on a driver’s record will also likely result in the person’s insurance company raising their premiums or possibly dropping them altogether. This may impact their ability to drive in DC even after they are officially reinstated.

Types of Offenses

When someone sees flashing red lights in their rear-view mirror, it is normal to panic and ask themselves what they might have done to warrant a traffic stop. Scores of drivers are pulled over by law enforcement in the District of Columbia every single day, but while one may think all traffic citations are alike, the truth is some police stops can result in misdemeanor criminal charges and long-lasting consequences.

Reckless Driving

Depending on how fast a person was driving, an individual could be charged with reckless driving, a criminal offense that carries serious repercussions. Incidents that could result in a reckless driving charge include, but are not limited to:

  • Eluding police
  • Tailgating
  • Causing an accident
  • Failing to yield to emergency vehicles

If an officer deems that an individual was driving reckless, they could face fines up to $1,000, the loss of their driving privileges, and, in some cases, jail time. A person’s auto insurance rates will either spike, or they could be dropped altogether. A DC traffic lawyer could help an individual avoid these consequences by either working to eliminate the charge outright, or having it reduced to a less serious moving violation.

Driving Under the Influence (DUI)

If an officer, after pulling someone over, observes signs that they were driving their vehicle while inebriated by alcohol and/or drugs, they may face charges of driving under the influence (DUI), driving while intoxicated (DWI), or operating while impaired (OWI). All three charges are classified as criminal misdemeanors – though in certain circumstances DUI charges can rise to the level of a felony — and all can have a serious impact on the individual’s driving privileges, their financial situation, and their personal freedom.

Contact a DC Traffic Attorney Today

DC traffic offenses, whether they are classified as infractions or misdemeanor crimes, can have a lasting impact. Traffic violations are expensive, time-consuming, and frustrating matters. The resulting penalty points, fines, the time required for court and DMV proceedings can take a toll on your professional and personal life. As a result, it is important to hire a local DC traffic lawyer who is well-versed in the DC driving laws and who will be able to work with you to come up with any possible defenses. To learn more or discuss what steps you can take, call and schedule a consultation today.