DC Traffic Cases

A traffic offense in DC is a violation of the traffic code, which covers various behaviors of misconduct related to driving. The most common offenses are speeding, driving under the influence, reckless driving, and driver’s license-related offenses such as operating a vehicle without a permit or while on suspension. Reckless driving is somewhat of a catchall for what is considered extremely dangerous driving. This offense may include driving well over the speed limit or swerving through traffic.

Reckless driving also may include a hit and run, operating a vehicle with improper registration, and illegal tinting or driving with improper equipment. This code also regulates who is allowed to drive, what sort of vehicles they are allowed to operate, and how a person is supposed to operate a vehicle on DC roads. There are a variety of DC traffic cases that a seasoned defense attorney could help someone navigate through.

Traffic Infractions with Severe Penalties

In DC, some of the most serious traffic infractions are driving without or with a suspended license. Someone charged with this offense may go to jail for up to a year, which is longer than the maximum sentence for a first-time DUI.

Reckless driving also may lead to a period of incarceration. Because the definition of reckless driving is pretty broad, a person could go to jail for any sort of behavior. More specifically, any misconduct that law enforcement considers as wanton driving without regard for the safety of other people on the road could lead to a reckless driving offense and up to 180 days in jail. Other common offenses such as driving under the influence or leaving the scene of an accident also carry potential jail sentences.

Mitigating Potential Consequences

If someone is facing traffic charges in DC, they could endure some severe consequences. Sometimes the person may not realize the seriousness of the consequences they face because they are not familiar with the penalties.  For example, if the charge is driving on a suspended license and the person did not realize their license was suspended, they still may face up to a year in jail and 12 points on their driver’s license, which is an automatic revocation.

Even other more moderate traffic offenses may have consequences that a person is not aware of. There may be issues with this individual’s driving record, and an attorney can assess all of these situations to determine or clarify the defendant’s situation. Then, they could fight the charges to help mitigate or avoid those consequences.

Sometimes, there may be procedural issues with the way the case has been handled, and it may be able to be thrown out. With some traffic cases in DC, there are ways to find some compromise in which a person may have less-severe consequences. These could be paying a fine, but receiving no points. Another example may be for DUI offenses. Instead of going to jail, a defendant could enroll in a diversion program or community service program.

Enforcement of Traffic Regulations

The police strictly enforce traffic laws because of the high volume of cars and other motor vehicles. This is because DC is a commuter city and an entirely urban environment. A few million people commute in and out of DC each day for work or other purposes. While a significant portion uses public transportation, a significant number of people drive. Major highways also go through DC and the regular traffic grid can be pretty confusing and complicated.

Some road conditions can be poor in some areas. Additionally, many tourists are unfamiliar with the roads and driving patterns. All of these factors combined lead to strict enforcement of traffic regulations by police.

Speak with an Attorney to Discuss Traffic Offenses in DC

Navigating through serious DC traffic cases can be difficult without a legal professional. If law enforcement has charged you with a traffic offense, consult an attorney as soon as possible. A lawyer could build your case and work to minimize the potential consequences you may be facing.