DC Traffic Attorney

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 uses 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 DC defense attorney can help you.

How Can a DC Traffic Lawyer Help?

If you find yourself accused of a traffic violation in DC, a DC traffic attorney can help. The attorneys at our firm have a wide range of experiences, from DUI violations to reckless driving allegations, and are experienced at helping their clients 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 you either reduce or eliminate any charges you may face.

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 you are charged with any type of traffic offense in DC as a lawyer can help ensure that your rights are protected and you’re not exposed to any consequences associated with the conviction, whether it is points on your driving record, suspension or revocation of your license, or potential jail time. An attorney can also help you challenge a 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 your DC driver’s record, but not on your 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 your 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 your criminal record, if convicted of a felony, you will face higher fines, longer sentences in prison, and supervised probation depending on the circumstances.

DC Traffic Point System

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

Consequences of Demerit Points

If you accumulate too many points, your DC driver’s license may be suspended or revoked. If you accumulate ten to eleven points, your driver’s license will be suspended for ninety days. If you accumulate twelve or more points, your driver’s license will be revoked for at least six months and will continue until you go through the reinstatement process.

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

Types of Offenses

When you see those flashing red lights in your rear-view mirror, it is normal to panic and ask yourself what you 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 you 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 you were driving, you 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 your driving reckless, you could face fines up to $1,000, the loss of your driving privileges, and, in some cases, jail time. Your auto insurance rates will either spike, or you could be dropped altogether. A DC traffic lawyer can help you 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 you over, observes signs that you were driving your vehicle while inebriated by alcohol and/or drugs, you 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 your driving privileges, your financial situation, and your personal freedom. Visit our DUI page for more information regarding drunk driving charges in Washington, DC.

Find a DC Traffic Lawyer Near You

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 attorney 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.