What are District of Columbia Public Traffic Records?
In the District of Columbia, public traffic records are official documents that contain a person's driving and traffic history. It typically features the details of any traffic offense(s) committed by the record's subject, traffic tickets, convictions, sentences, etc. Summarily, a public traffic record comprises various documents managed by different agencies.
In the District of Columbia, the Department of Transportation (DDOT) is charged with maintaining and managing public transportation infrastructure in the state. This includes generating and disseminating records of traffic offenses within state limits.
Are Traffic Records Public in the District of Colombia?
Yes, traffic records are public in the District of Colombia, and the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) guarantees public access to these documents. Section § 2-531 of the District of Colombia Official Code allows interested members of the public access records of interest upon request.
While most records are accessible to the public, statutory exceptions exist to authorize the withholding of public records in certain circumstances. These exceptions include situations where:
- The public disclosure would lead to an invasion of a person's privacy
- Disclosure would reveal investigative techniques not known outside the government
- The disclosure would endanger the life or safety of law enforcement officers
- Disclosure would interfere with an ongoing investigation
- The information is authorized under federal law to be kept secret in the interest of foreign policy and national defense
- The information is sealed and restricted from public access
Any government agency that withholds a public record must state which exception of the Freedom of Information Act allows the withholding of the record. However, the person making the request is not mandated to disclose a reason for making the request. Nonetheless, if the record is exempted from public access, it may help to disclose the reason for the request to the agency. For instance, if the requested record is restricted, the applicant may allege that the information is vital to an issue of public concern - this may weigh in favor of the applicant.
What do District of Colombia Traffic Records Contain?
A traffic record document in the District of Colombia contains the following:
- Traffic violations committed by the motorist
- License suspensions and revocations (if any)
- Fines for DUIs and other traffic offenses
- Details of license renewals
- The motorist's license number
- Details of all convictions and sentences
Does a Citation Go on Your Record in the District of Colombia?
The type of traffic violation determines whether the citation will go on a person's driving record. Generally, tickets or citations that result from a minor traffic violation will not show on a person's record because minor violations are not considered criminal.
The Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) uses a point system to access, monitor, and penalize motorists in the state. These points affect a person's driving privileges and may lead to license suspension or revocation. However, the state does not attach points for minor offenses like getting a parking ticket.
Having too many points may lead to a loss of a driver's license. In the case of a moving violation, if the motorist is found guilty at a hearing and fails to pay the ticket within the required period, the department will place points on the motorist's record.
A suspension is mandatory where a driver accumulates ten points, and twelve points lead to a revocation of driving privileges. Examples of traffic violations that can lead to an automatic license revocation are DUIs, OWIs, and fleeing the scene of an accident where an injury occured (hit and run). Others include aggravated reckless driving, operating a vehicle on a suspended or revoked license, and committing a felony using a motor vehicle.
Applicable points for some driving offenses in the District of Columbia include:
- Driving above the speed limit by eleven to fifteen miles per hour attracts three points
- Fleeing the scene of a collision where property damage occurred attracts eight points
- Fleeing the scene of a collision where an injury occurred attracts twelve points
- Reckless driving attracts twelve points
- Driving a vehicle despite having a suspended or revoked license attracts twelve points
- Using another person's driving permit attracts twelve points
- Committing a felony using a vehicle attracts twelve points
- Committing a misdemeanor offense using a vehicle attracts six points
- Refusing to yield to an emergency vehicle attracts six points
- Following another vehicle too closely attracts two points
- Refusing to stop for a school bus attracts two points
- Driving a vehicle with a learner's permit and without a licensed operator attracts five points
- Attempting to flee a police officer attracts twelve points
Types of Traffic Citations in the District of Colombia
In the District of Columbia, only the Department of Public Works, Department of Transportation, and law enforcement agencies like the US Capitol Police, Metropolitan Police Department, etc., can issue tickets. A motorist may get three major types of traffic tickets in the District of Columbia. These are:
Parking Tickets: This is a notice or fine issued to a motorist for parking wrongly or illegally. It is typically written by a traffic warden and attached to a car's windscreen.
Photo Enforcement Tickets: Motorists who speed past traffic or red light cameras are issued a photo enforcement ticket. Red light cameras are part of the Automated Traffic Enforcement Program, and these cameras take license plate pictures of vehicles whose drivers violate traffic regulations.
Generally, a vehicle is mandated to stop at a red light until it flashes yellow or green. If a motorist violates this law and is caught on camera, it is a traffic infraction, and the person will get a ticket and pay a fine. An officer may pull the person over to issue the citation, or it will be mailed to the registered owner of the vehicle, who may choose to pay or contest the ticket.
Minor Moving Violation Tickets: These are tickets issued for traffic violations that occur when a vehicle is in motion. Moving violations are minor where there is no danger or risk of harm due to the traffic violation. It is not regarded as a criminal offense, and thus, a citation suffices in punishing the offender.
District of Colombia Traffic Citation Lookup
Many situations may necessitate looking up traffic citations in the District of Columbia. It may be to stay ahead of possible citations and avoid the consequences of not paying a traffic ticket. Another reason may be the case of a lost or misplaced traffic ticket. Below are a few ways to lookup traffic citations in the District of Columbia:
The DMV Adjudication Service: Since the District of Columbia DMV handles traffic tickets in the state, the best way to start a traffic citation search is with the DMV Adjudication Service. Interested persons may visit the office at 955 L'Enfant Plaza, SW Washington, D.C. 20024; call 311 or (202) 737-4404. Also, the office has a service website where interested persons may find operation hours and days to make such inquiries.
DMV Email Ticket Alert Service (TAS): The TAS service allows motorists in the District of Colombia to create an account that provides email notifications of tickets attached to a driver's license. Getting the account is free, and by subscribing to this service, motorists also get information on hearing decisions and other related ticket information.
The TAS service further sends subscribed motorists updates and reminders on deadlines, late penalties, and if the vehicle faces possible impounding or vehicle booting. However, one must have had a ticket issued within the past eighteen months to register.
Upon successful enrollment, the motorist may log in and view pictures associated with a citation or traffic ticket. The motorist will also access all the citation or ticket history files, such as appeals, payments, hearing requests, and outcomes.
The Police District: Another way to look up traffic citations in the District of Columbia is to contact the police department in the relevant police district. The searcher must contact the law enforcement agency that issued the citation.
DMV License Plate Number Search: Alternatively, an individual may visit the DMV website and click the "online" link under "Services." To find traffic violations without a ticket number, select the state in which the vehicle was registered and enter the vehicle license plate number. After providing this information, click "Submit."
If there is an existing ticket, a list of violations will pop up on the screen, and if not, the screen will display an error message: "Plate is not found."
How to Lookup my District of Colombia Traffic Records
Individuals may look up traffic records in the District of Columbia by requesting a Motor Vehicle Report (MVR) from the DMV. The report typically contains records of traffic offenses committed in the state, convictions (if any), and other information.
There are two types of driving records available in the District of Columbia, certified and uncertified driver records. The difference between both records is that a certified copy has an official DMV stamp and is fitting for official purposes. However, to protect the privacy of record holders, the DMV does not provide this information over the phone. Instead, a person may request online, by mail, or in person. To request online, the applicant must visit the DMV website, click the link for an uncertified or certified driver record, and input the required information like full name, license number, date of birth, etc.
To request a copy via mail, the interested person may send a letter attaching the applicable fees to the department. It takes seven to ten working days to process an application.
Alternatively, the interested person may walk into a DMV Service Center with official documentation like a social security number, license number, proof of identification (Real ID Proof of Identity or Limited Purpose Proof of Identity), etc. Both online and in-person requests are attended to immediately, while mail requests take some time before the record is made available.
District of Columbia traffic case records may also be available from third-party websites since they are considered public records. Unlike government sources or websites, third-party websites do not have geographical limitations. Hence, interested parties may access these websites from anywhere in the world. However, some third-party websites may require registration or subscription to access traffic record.
District of Columbia Traffic Violations
A traffic violation in the District of Columbia is any traffic infraction that occurs while operating a motor vehicle on public roads. This can include speeding, running a red light, or failing to yield to pedestrians. Depending on the severity of the offense, traffic violations can result in anything from a warning to a fine or even jail time. In some cases, multiple traffic violations can lead to the revocation of one's driver's license.
If cited for a traffic violation in the District of Columbia, offenders will be required to appear in court. At their hearing, the judge will decide whether or not to convict them of the offense. If convicted, they may be required to pay a fine or serve jail time. In some cases, the judge may also order that their driver's license be suspended or revoked. If the motorist is found not guilty, they will not be required to take further action.
Traffic violations can result in points being added to the offender's driving record. Depending on the number of points they have, their insurance rates may increase, and they may even lose their license.
District of Columbia License Plate Lookup
Motorists are issued license plates in Washington D.C. following a vehicle registration. License plate numbers are unique to vehicles and may be used to look up vehicle registration information. In order to conduct a Washington DC license plate lookup, requestors will be required to provide the full license plate number, the state in which the car is registered, the make of the car, the year the car was manufactured, and the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN).
Requestors may obtain license plate information by visiting the Washington D.C DMV website or by contacting the DMV directly. The DMV website offers an online search tool that allows members of the public to look up registered vehicles in Washington D.C.
Alternatively, the requesting party can contact the DMV by phone or in person. The DMV can be contacted at: (202) 727-5000 or 1-800-732-8222. In person visits can be made at the following locations:
- 1100 4th Street SW, Washington, D.C. 20024
- Moultrie Courthouse, 500 Indiana Avenue NW, Washington, D.C. 200
How to View Traffic Case Records for Free in the District of Colombia
Courts in the District of Columbia have an Online Case Search portal that allows interested persons to view electronic case records remotely. Alternatively, such persons may visit the courthouses of the relevant courts that handle traffic cases in the state to view the paper records and documents related to the case.
How Long do Traffic Offenses Remain on a Public Record in the District of Colombia
Once a motorist is found guilty of certain traffic violations, the Department of Motor Vehicles will attach points on the person's driving record. The department keeps these points assessment records for two years from the assessment date, after which the department is mandated to delete the points. However, if the record is sealed or expunged, it ceases to be on public records, and third parties may not access it.
How to Remove Traffic Records from Public Websites in the District of Colombia
As provided by the Freedom of Information Act, records generated by state agencies, including traffic records, are public. These records may be available on government websites and third-party data brokerage firms. Interested persons may opt to take down these traffic records from public websites.
One way to do this is to petition the courts to seal the record or expunge it. Sealed records are restricted from public access. Another way is to get a dedicated P.O. Box address and phone number for public use. Then, update this new information with government agencies like the Department of Motor Vehicles and the courts. This way, the individual can control how much personal information gets out in the public domain.
Do Motoring Offenses Affect Criminal Records in the District of Colombia?
Motoring offenses affect criminal records in the District of Columbia. While a minor civil traffic offense would not typically go on a person's record, a criminal violation would. These criminal offenses often involve the risk of injury or actual harm and may show up in background searches.
As a result, it can cause an increase in insurance rates for the convicted motorist and limit the person's access to employment opportunities, especially those in driving and similar fields.