Photo by PoPville flickr user Eric P.
I wanted to share a frustrating DC DMV incident and see if the good people of PoPville have any suggestions or faced similar situations.
I just moved into the District from Maryland and took a day off work to go to the DC DMV and switch over my drivers license and vehicle registrations as many new DC residents reluctantly do. To my surprise, I was informed that my DC driving privilege was “pending suspension.” This was due to a 2009 DUI incident in SE DC, for which I was ordered not to drive for 10 months, in addition to serving one week in DC jail (not fun), 18 months of supervised probation, 120 hours of community service, substance abuse treatment program, mothers against drunk driving sessions, fines, and 6 months of ignition interlock system in my vehicle. I looked up my driving record and sure enough I was listed as suspended from 2009 to comically December 31, 9999. I fully acknowledge that I did a bad, stupid thing as a 21 year old idiot, but I was shocked that my driving privilege was still suspended seven years after the fact.
The DMV told me to schedule a DC license reinstatement hearing to clear up the matter, so I went prepared with documentation to show that my drivers license had been reinstated after fulfilling the necessary requirements in Maryland. The hearing examiner was extremely rude and condescending and flat out refused to even look at the documents. She had already made up her mind that I would be required to serve a 6 month driving revocation within the DC limits starting that day. I work in a metro inaccessible area of PG County and I need to drive to get to work, so not being able to drive to and from my home for 6 months is a problem. The hearing examiner told me that “I can drive around Maryland all I want” but I could not drive in the district.
Her reasoning was that I had never formally served the DC suspension, despite the fact that I did not drive anywhere for nearly a year after the incident. After serving my Maryland driving sanctions I assumed the responsibility of my driving punishment had been transferred to them. I was not informed by DC that I had to serve an additional suspension in the District and that my driving privilege there would be pending suspension indefinitely and would never have known if I hadn’t have moved into DC.
I still have to get to work every day, so now I ride my bicycle 5 miles each way to the Maryland border to my car and drive the rest of the way to work through Maryland, avoiding roads that go through DC, every morning and every evening, effectively doubling my commute time.
I know I did a dumb thing at age 21, but I’ve done my best to change my life and move on. My lawyer who originally represented me in 2009 wants almost $5,000 to put together a petition for review, which I cannot afford. I’m trying to put together an appeal myself, but it seems hopeless. This situation seems ridiculous and I’m wondering if anyone has faced something similar, or might know who I can talk to about getting it resolved or at least getting permission to drive to and from work. Any help or advice is much appreciated.”