Washington, DC Traffic Violations Explained
In Washington, DC, traffic violations may be civil infractions that could result in fines and points on your driver’s license, or they may be considered crimes depending on what a motorist is accused of doing.
Here is a closer look at some motor vehicle crimes and infractions. There is more information posted in our DC Traffic Violations Frequently Asked Questions section
Speeding (non criminal) – In the District of Columbia, the standard posted speed limit is 25mph. If you have been stopped for speeding, and the officer alleges that you were traveling at a speed greater than 25mph but less than 55mph, the officer can give you a standard speeding ticket. This can result in points on your license and higher insurance premiums.
Criminal Speeding Violation – If you are stopped for driving more than 30 miles over the posted limit, you can be charged with criminal speeding. In DC, criminal speeding is punishable by a fine of $300 and up to 90 days in jail. The jail time can be suspended. If you intend to fight a criminal speeding charge, your DC traffic violations defense lawyer can challenge the manner in which the police conducted the vehicle stop, the laboratory and field calibration of the laser or radar gun, and other aspects of the incident.
Reckless driving – The DC Code defines reckless driving as operating a vehicle “carelessly and heedlessly in willful or wanton disregard of the rights or safety of others, or without due caution and circumspection and at a speed or in a manner so as to endanger or be likely to endanger any person or property.” This may include excessive speeding, not yielding or stopping for police or other emergency vehicles with sirens and lights operating, following too close (tailgating), or other conduct which is considered dangerous. For a first offense, reckless driving in Washington, DC is punishable by up to three months in jail and a fine which can vary depending on your criminal record.
Operating After Suspended License (OAS) – In DC, OAS is serious criminal traffic violation that can result in a fine of up to $1,000 and a maximum of a year in prison.
Operating After Revoked License (OAR) – In the District of Columbia, OAR is treaded similar to OAS. Please see the description of OAS above. These are treated as serious offenses because an unlicensed driver is considered dangerous.
Getting a ticket or criminal summons when you are pulled over does not mean that you will be convicted. There are many possible things your lawyer can do to assist with this process, so that you can get on with the rest of your life.