Several non-DUI traffic crimes exist in Washington, DC. The most common are driving with a suspended license, driving with no permit, reckless driving, and speed over thirty miles per hour. A conviction for any of these offenses carries varying degrees of bad points with the DC DMV and can result in jail and/or fines. Let’s start with the license crimes.
Operating after Revocation and Operating after Suspended or “OAR” and “OAS” respectively, each carry a maximum penalty of 1 year in jail and/or a $5,000.00 fine. Conviction for either offense carries 12 points on your license, which is enough to cause the DMV to revoke your driver’s license for six months. At 11 points, the DMV can suspend your license for 90 days. These draconian rules can cause individuals to dig a hole that DMV makes very difficult to get out of. Think about it: someone gets arrested for driving with a suspended license and charged with a crime. Meanwhile, the DMV failed to provide notice to the individual that their license was actually suspended. Unfortunately, DC law does not require an individual to have received notice to be convicted for OAS or OAR.
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The person gets charged with the crime and ultimately gets convicted for driving with a suspended license even though they never were told their license was suspended. Then, as a result of their convict, they get another 12 points on their license and a whole new revocation period gets triggered. That is why its important to consult with an experienced DC traffic offense attorney who can help you navigate through both the court system and the DMV.
Another license offense in DC is driving with no permit. It is a less serious crime that carries a maximum penalty of 90 days in jail or a $300.00 fine. Conviction for this offense also carries no points with the DC DMV. Prosecutors usually charge this offense when the person never had a license to begin with, has had an expired license for 90 days or more, or has a suspended license from another jurisdiction. In the latter scenario, the prosecutors usually cannot get someone from the out of state DMV to testify to prove the person’s license was suspended in that jurisdiction, so they charge and prosecute “no permit.”
Reckless driving in DC is a criminal traffic offense that can carry jail time, points, and/or fines. Unlike neighboring Virginia, DC reckless driving does not automatically get triggered based on speeding a designated amount above the limit. For example, in Virginia, speeding 20 miles per hour over the limit can automatically trigger a reckless driving charge. DC, however, requires the government to prove that the driver was “upon a highway carelessly and heedlessly in willful or wanton disregard for 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 a person or property.”
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With that definition, reckless driving in DC is more subjective. Basically, the government could prove the offense through a combination of dangerous driving—running a light, speeding, swerving, etc. The main thing is the government must prove the driving endangered a person or property. Conviction for reckless driving carries six points from the DC DMV. However, DC code has enhancements for the crime if there are aggravated circumstances. Aggravated reckless driving is the same as reckless driving but the government must also prove the driver (1) operated the vehicle at a rate or speed at or greater than 30 miles per hour over the stated speed limit; (2) Caused bodily harm or permanent disability or disfigurement to another; or (3) Caused property damage in excess of $1,000. D.C. Code § 50-2201.04 (b-1). In addition, the DMV will impose 12 points for aggravated reckless driving.
Speed Over 30
While Virginia charges reckless driving for anyone speeding 20 miles per hour over the posted limit, DC has a separate speeding criminal offense. Speed over 30 is a criminal offense in DC that carries a maximum penalty of 90 days in jail and/or a $300.00 fine. To convict someone the government must prove the person was driving and that the person was driving 30 miles per hour or more over the posted speed limit. DMV imposes 5 points for anyone caught driving 21 miles per hour or more over the speed limit.
Another traffic offense is fleeing from law enforcement. That means if a police cruiser attempts to pull you over and you do not immediately pull over to stop when its safe to do so, the government could charge you with a separate crime of fleeing law enforcement. The DMV will impose 12 points against a license for anyone convicted of fleeing. That means conviction for this offense would lead to loss of license. Fleeing can be a more serious crime and charged as a felony if the government can prove the driver not only fled but did so recklessly.
As you can see, there are a number of traffic offenses in the District that can trigger arrest and carry points. To give you more information on what offense carries, what point, we have provided the DMV’s traffic point chart below.
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DC DMV Traffic Points System
|You may incur points if you:||Points|
|Follow another vehicle too closely||2|
|Operate a vehicle with an improper class of license||2|
|Operate a vehicle with a license expired less than 90 days||2|
|Commit any moving violation that does not contribute to an accident and is not listed below||2 – 3|
|Fail to comply with seatbelt law||3|
|Commit violations that contribute to an accident||3|
|Speed 11-15 miles per hour above posted speed limit||3|
|Speed 16-20 miles per hour above posted speed||4|
|Fail to stop for a school vehicle with alternately flashing lights||4|
|Operate a motor vehicle in violation of a restriction on your license||4|
|Operate a vehicle with a learner permit unaccompanied by a licensed driver||5|
|Speed 21 miles per hour or more above posted speed limit||5|
|Fail to give right-of-way to a pedestrian||5|
|Commit a misdemeanor crime involving the use of a motor vehicle||6|
|Fail to yield to an emergency vehicle||6|
|Leave the scene of a collision in which no personal injury occurs||8|
|Turn off headlights of a vehicle to avoid identification by a police officer||8|
|Your license will automatically be revoked if you:||Points|
|Leave the scene of a collision in which personal injury occurs (hit and run)||12|
|Flee or attempt to elude a police officer||12|
|Aggravated reckless driving||12|
|Operate a vehicle after your driver license has been suspended or revoked||12|
|Use the driver license of another person||12|
|Receive conviction for an assault or homicide committed with an automobile||12|
|Operate a vehicle under the influence of, or when impaired by, intoxicating liquor and/or narcotic drugs||12|
|Operate a vehicle with any measurable amount of alcohol if the person is under 21 years old||12|
|Commit a felony crime involving the use of a motor vehicle||12|
|Make a false affidavit or statement under any law relating to motor vehicles||12|
|Commit any violation while operating a vehicle without the permission of the owner||12|