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District of Columbia Traffic Laws

Even experienced drivers may need to refresh their knowledge of the local driving rules. Reviewing the law can also help you plan your next steps after a car accident or traffic ticket.

States across the U.S. create their own traffic laws, and so does Washington, D.C. Read more about D.C. law and infractions in this article. You can also find services and tips for motorists through the D.C. Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).

The Washington, D.C. Code for Drivers

The traffic laws consist of statutes in Title 50 of the District of Columbia Code plus separate municipal regulations. See the chart below for links to specific driving rules.

Drinking & Driving Violations  Driving while under the influence of alcohol (DC Code sections 50-2206.01 to 2206.18)
Driving Without a License / With a Suspended License  Operation without permit prohibited (DC Code section 50-1401.01)
Driving Without Insurance / With Insufficient Insurance  Financial responsibility; proof required for each registered vehicle (DC Code section 50-1301.52)
Driving Without Registration / With Expired Registration  Registration; unlawful acts; penalty (DC Code section 50-1501.04)
Leaving the Scene of an Accident / Hit & Run  Fleeing from scene of accident; driving under influence of liquor or drugs (DC Code section 50-2201.05)
Mechanical Violations and Unlawful Modifications  Inspection (DC Code section 50-1101)
Reckless Driving  Speeding and reckless driving (DC Code section 50-2201.04)
Right Turns at a Red Light  Traffic control at intersections (DC Code 50-2201.04e)
Running a Red Light / Stop Sign  Fail to stop per regulations facing red signal (18 DCMR § 2103.7)
Seat Belt / Child Restraint Violations  Use of safety belts required (DC Code section 50-1802)Child restraint; requirements (DC Code section 50-1703)
Speeding  Speeding and reckless driving (DC Code section 50-2201.04)
Criminal Traffic Offense Penalties  Fines for criminal offenses (DC Code section 22-3571.01)
Moving Violations  Moving Infractions (DC Code § 50-2302.01 to § 50-2302.08)

Penalties for Common Traffic Violations

You can face a variety of penalties for breaking a D.C. traffic law, such as:

  • Speeding: $50 to $500 in civil fines and three to five driver's license points based on miles above the speed limit
  • Reckless driving: up to a $500 fine, six points, and 90 days in jail with higher penalties for aggravated reckless driving that causes injury
  • Driving without a license: up to a $500 fine and 90 days in jail
  • Failure to yield right of way: $65 to $250 in fines and up to six points depending on whether the other party was a pedestrian in a crosswalk, a regular car, or an emergency vehicle

If you get 10 or 11 total points on your driving record, you will face license suspension for 90 days. At 12 points, the District of Columbia can revoke your license for six months or more.

Criminal offenses have harsher consequences than a simple traffic infraction. For example, a driving under the influence (DUI) or hit-and-run offense requires law enforcement to issue an automatic license revocation. The jail time and fines can increase significantly for criminal traffic cases in the Superior Court.

Pulled Over in D.C.? Call A Lawyer

A citation from a police officer doesn't always have to stay on a driver's record. Learn about your options with a District of Columbia traffic lawyer. You may be able to reduce your license points or challenge a ticket before facing penalties.

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