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Posted at 7:28 PM ET, 10/14/2010

No exit from a D.C. ticket thicket

By editors

By Richard L. Schmidt

Regarding the Oct. 9 letter from Mark Miller, “Welcome to D.C. That’ll be $125”:

On June 22, after completing an errand in the city, I apparently exceeded the posted speed limit (whatever that is) for the Ninth Street underpass entrance to the Southeast-Southwest Freeway.

On Aug. 14, 53 days later, I received via mail a Notice of Unsatisfied Photo Enforcement Ticket with a fine of $250. The basic fine of $125 had been doubled because I had not responded within 30 days of the violation. I had received no previous communication.

I paid the basic fine of $125 on Aug. 19 and sent along a letter explaining why I had not responded within the allotted time. My letter was ignored, and several more form letters demanding payment of the added cost arrived. On Aug. 26, I received from the D.C. police a Notice of Infraction, but it showed a different ticket number and a different date of infraction, Aug. 11, but at the same location. (I was in Rehoboth Beach on that date.)

On Sept. 30, I received yet another Notice of Unsatisfied Photo Enforcement Ticket with a fine of $250 for not responding within 30 days. This notice showed the second ticket number and the date of infraction as Aug. 11. I have tried once more via mail on Oct. 5 to describe this situation.

I believe that the D.C. Department of Motor Vehicles and the D.C. police owe me an explanation.

By editors  | October 14, 2010; 7:28 PM ET
Categories:  D.C., HotTopic  
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Yes, unfortunately you cannot practically contest tickets by mail in DC. You have to go to through the ticket appeal process, and even then you get satisfaction about half the time. My condolences.

Posted by: krickey7 | October 15, 2010 12:17 PM | Report abuse

You do deserve an explanation, but I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for one.

Your best bet is to file a formal complaint against the MPD.

Posted by: WashingtonDame | October 15, 2010 12:27 PM | Report abuse

the ticket appeals process is equally rigged to fail; I wen through the EXACT scenario as Mr. Schmidt - $250 ticket for a $125 camera ticket I never recieved... when I went online (yet again) to schedule a hearing, yesterday, I received a response, "Your hearing is scheduled for 09/22/2010 at 12:01AM. Please come to Adjudication Services, 301 C Street NW, at the appointment time. Be sure to bring any documents or photographs that support your statement."... really; past date just after midnight. The DMV must have another scammer in their midst. At this point I'm seriously considering sending a check for $1.25 & simply bleed the scam till their postage officer questions it. Crazy bad.

Posted by: dcdroid | October 15, 2010 2:37 PM | Report abuse

& yet another deadend - trying to schedule a hearing over the phone doesn't work either; the 202.289,2230 automated ticket #, option 5 - that should allow you to schedule a hearing - simply says that "your answer is invalid" when trying keypad or voice activated answering options... deadends.... unjust.

Posted by: dcdroid | October 15, 2010 2:46 PM | Report abuse

I think I know why this mess is allowed to persist: Politicians - and their extended families - are immune to the tickets.

For example, in California 1.5 million private cars have plate numbers protected from easy look up, making them effectively invisible to agencies trying to process red light camera violations. (In CA the list includes local politicians, bureaucrats, retired cops, other govt. employees, and their families and adult children!) Someone should check to see how many, and who, are on the list in DC.

You'd think that all that would be needed to fix this inequity would be for the persons requiring protection of their home address to file their work address as the place for their tickets to be mailed to. Indeed, until August, there was a bill (AB 2097) in the Calif. legislature to do just that. But the politicians killed it - their excuse was that the cost of the paperwork involved in gathering and computerizing the addresses was too great.

I urge everyone, everywhere, to call their legislators, their media, and their auto club about this class immunity from the tickets. Otherwise, the bureaucrats and politicians will keep laughing at us as we pay our fines.

Posted by: Henry66 | October 15, 2010 3:52 PM | Report abuse

All the more reason to stay out of DC. I'll spend my money elsewhere.

Posted by: MrBethesda | October 16, 2010 5:48 PM | Report abuse

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