Washington DC, the capital of the United States, lies between Maryland and Virginia. It’s 40 miles south of Baltimore and almost four hours driving distance from NYC. Although it’s not considered a state, it’s not inside of a state either. DC is considered a federal district and has millions of tourists every year. Commuters travel from surrounding states, which can cause issues with DC parking tickets due to some parking rules they have.
Continue on to learn more about tickets in the area, how to avoid them, and how to dispute them if you’re innocent. Let’s dive in!
How Much Do DC Parking Tickets Cost?
Parking tickets typically cost $25–$100, but other types of tickets (speed camera and red lights) can reach up to $300. Speed camera and red light tickets range from $50–$300. DC isn’t playing around. Their red light camera tickets are 200% higher than they are in Virginia and 100% higher than they are in Maryland. Plus, prices double if tickets aren’t paid within 30 days.
Here are a few examples of prices for parking illegally:
Metered overtime parking: $30
Neighborhood parking without permit: $35
Violating street sweeping hours: $45
Bus zone: $100
Parking within 20 feet of a bus stop: $50
Double parking: $50
Over 12 inches from the curb: $20
Failing to turn wheels to curb: $20
Parking in loading zone: $50
Can You Park in DC Without DC Plates?
A large source of DC parking tickets is from cars without local plates. If you park overnight without having DC plates, you can receive a ticket. This applies to all areas (even neighborhoods). Luckily, you can park during the day without the risk of receiving a ticket.
There is a special exemption parking permit called a ROSA exemption that you may receive if you visit frequently. You can receive a ROSA exemption if you are a recurring visitor and have already received a DPW citation for parking without DC tags. To apply, you will need a copy of the citation, your lease to show out-of-district residence, a recent utility bill, and your vehicle registration card.
You can apply online, in-person, at any DMV in the district, or by mail with a money order (do not send cash).
If you’re a frequent visitor to DC, but don’t want to receive DC parking tickets, there are other means of transportation to consider if you want to visit and live in nearby states. For one, there are many buses or trains that run from nearby states into downtown DC.
The Greyhound is one example, but there are plenty of other private bus companies that you can purchase tickets for. From Baltimore, public transportation only takes an hour and a half.
Paying Your Ticket
Payment can be made online, in-person, by mail, or by phone. You will need your citation number, but you can often look it up through your license plate as well (sometimes you need to call in and pay by phone if you only have your license plate number).
How long do you have to pay parking tickets DC?
You must pay your fee within 30 days from the date of issuance for parking tickets, or the date of mail for photo tickets. If you decide to mail your payment, the DMV must receive it within 30 calendar days, so you need to mail it out early.
What happens if I don’t pay a DC parking ticket?
If you don’t pay within 30 days, your parking citation doubles in price. Your car may also be towed, impounded, or booted if you have too many unpaid tickets. Luckily, bills passed a few years ago helped reduce ticket burden. One of these was an amnesty program – if you have over $1,000 of tickets, you can pay off 60% and the rest will be removed from your history. They also set up a DC ticket payment arrangement allows you to split payments across set periods of time
Contesting Your Ticket
Sometimes, tickets are incorrectly written. If you are going to dispute your ticket, make sure you don’t pay the fine. You won’t be able to contest if you pay.
There are plenty of reasons your ticket may be invalid:
- Ticket is illegible
- Wrong date, time, or county
- Incorrect vehicle information (wrong plate number, plate type, vehicle color, model year, vehicle manufacturer, etc.)
- They didn’t specify whether you were parked in ‘Front of’ or ‘Opposite’ the address in question
How to Dispute Washington DC Parking Tickets
It’s easiest to go on their website and submit a hearing request, but you can also contest your ticket by mail and in-person. You will submit your initial request, then they will either throw out the ticket right away if you have sufficient evidence or assign you a court date for a hearing.
Writing your Statement
When you submit your dispute, you will need to write an explanation to let them know why you want your ticket thrown out. On top of that, make sure to provide any photographs or other records that help your cause. If your statement is convincing enough, your ticket will be thrown out and you won’t need to attend an in-person hearing.
We don’t recommend lying when contesting a ticket. It can result in even more fines and consequences if they find out.
When writing your statement, be professional (don’t go on a rant about how angry you are about the ticket). Simply explain the situation and why you believe your violation should be contested.
Statements that include evidence are far more likely to be deemed not guilty when compared with no evidence. Make sure to take as many pictures and gather other evidence at the scene that helps prove your innocence! Don’t give up if you don’t have any evidence though, many tickets can be contested without it. Even if they don’t completely throw out your parking violation, they will often reduce the fine.
If all else fails, you can still apply for a DC ticket installment plan to pay over a few months and make the payments less drastic.
Overall, parking in DC can be a hassle, especially if you’re a frequent visitor due to their strange overnight parking law. We hope you learned about DC parking tickets and how to dispute them if needed!