“Advice for multiple ticket mitigation with the city?”

by Prince Of Petworth December 17, 2015 at 1:15 pm 85 Comments

Photo by PoPville flickr user Josh Bassett

“Dear PoPville,

I just opened my mailbox and, to my delight, found TWO speeding tickets notifications. They are identical in many ways, both have $100 fines for speeding. They were also issued mere moments apart, the first at 9:53:42 am and the second at 9:54:53 am, for a time differential of 01:11. Given the shortness of the time period, I strongly feel that I have been double-fined for a single offense, and am interested in addressing this with city officials. However, I have had limited success in addressing traffic issues with the city, and I definitely want to avoid the additional fines that arise from non-payment (I would hate to pay $400 for this rather than the $200!).

I have unsuccessfully disputed parking tickets in the past, with photos and other evidence, and have always lost when sent in by mail, and had then the additional whammy of fines placed on those tickets. So, to make a long story short, I am looking for words of wisdom on this. How would you deal with a situation like this? Any advice? Does anyone know the legalities surrounding this? Do any of the city laws say anything about multiple tickets in neighborhoods where cameras are ubiquitous? Speaking of, questions like this might become more ubiquitous as the city moves towards blanketing the city with cameras.”

  • frank

    Going to need some more info. Are both photos that accompanied the tickets exactly the same, at the same intersection? If not, it sounds like you sped through two separate intersections more than a minute apart (which even if you were only going the max speed limit in DC (25 MPH)m could be a half a mile apart.

    These photo tickets come with all the location information, address and photos attached. It seems it would be pretty easy to see if it was the same ticket twice because all the info would be the same.

  • Timebomb

    So OP is a pathological endangerment to society who has a history of unsuccessfully getting away with it, and now wants to know how to successfully get away with it this time. OP does not appear to contest that they were speeding in two different places and received two different fines for those two infractions, just that the incidents occurred so close together so as to only warrant one fine rather than two?
    No sympathy here. Sorry OP. Try not speeding.

    • retropean


    • Josh


  • Evan Tupac Grooter

    “questions like this might become more ubiquitous as the city moves towards blanketing the city with cameras”

    ..or obeying the posted speed limit might become more ubiquitous

  • Rusty

    Some places have two cameras within a short distance of each other….like Conn Ave north of the circle, so if you were speeding past both, then you get two tickets. There is always a warning and speed limit posted prior to the cameras.

    • Anonymous

      I recall a public backlash about this stretch of Connecticut a few years ago (between Chevy Chase circle and Bradley Blvd.). People were getting double-ticketed (can’t recall if both were camera tickets or one was an officer and the other a camera). It might be worthwhile looking that up to see what happened.
      I agree that there’s something unfair about it. Had you known you got the first ticket (and most people don’t know when they get ticketed by a speed camera), you perhaps would have slowed down and not gotten the 2nd one. But you’re not given that chance. This is a HUGE source of revenue for DC, however, so don’t expect much sympathy.

      • nevermindtheend

        “This is a HUGE source of revenue for DC, however, so don’t expect much sympathy.”

        This is a HUGE danger to pedestrians in DC, however, so don’t expect much sympathy.

        There, fixed that for you.

        • Anonymous

          That’s cute. You keep thinking this is all about pedestrian safety.

        • People like you are obnoxious….pedestrians walking against traffic are a danger. Speeding itself, not so much a “HUGE” danger. If you’re going to rail against speedsters go do it at a council meeting – let the person ask questions on how to fight a ticket.

          OP: contest every ticket within 15 days and cite the administrative rule that all evidence must be submitted to DMV within 15 days. Always show up, always fight it, and always appeal it. If you appeal all the way to the OAG – none of their attorneys have actually fought these tickets in Superiour Court. Would be nice to see some precedent set. I’ve fought them and generally win them on my first review, Government ineptitude of filing documents on time.

          I literally fight every single ticket I get and typically have a 70% win ratio.

          • Timebomb

            Not a HUGE danger? How big a danger is too big a danger to trump your minor personal inconvenience?

          • Timebomb

            Or big enough a danger, rather.

          • nevermindtheend

            Wow, I hope you don’t drive. Speed is, in fact, a HUGE danger to pedestrians. There is an extremely large body of evidence showing the odds of dying after being hit by a vehicle at different speeds.

            Odds of dying if hit by a car going 20mph = approximately 5%
            Odds of dying if hit by a car going 30 mph = approximately 45%
            Odds of dying if hit by a car going 40 mph = approximately 85%

            So yes, speeding is in fact a huge danger to pedestrians.

          • wdc

            You have enough experience with getting tickets that you have a routine for appealing them, and “a 70% win ratio”, and you’re calling pedestrians obnoxious? I think pedestrians could form a human wall down the middle of Mass Ave while singing a cappella Nickelback and be less obnoxious than an unapologetic serial offender like you.
            I’ve gotten one speed camera ticket in DC. In ten years here.

          • nevermindtheend

            I really wish comments like yours could be grounds for revocation of your license. Clearly you have no regard for anyone but yourself.

          • Timebomb

            It’s too bad that camera tickets can’t currently count towards DL points, or this person would possibly have gotten his/her license suspended by now.
            Maybe that should’ve been part of the Vision Zero campaign.

          • Edie

            What do you mean by pedestrians “walking against” traffic? Are you implying that, when on a sidewalk, pedestrians should always walk in the same direction traffic is flowing, such as the recommended rules for bikers? Because that’s pretty ludicrous if you’re on a sidewalk intended for foot and (sometimes) bike traffic. Now, if you’re talking about pedestrians walking against traffic / walk SIGNALS, then yes, that is dangerous, it is not a good idea to run in the middle of a busy street / intersection, which I hope was covered for most people in kindergarten / first grade.

        • Timebomb

          People who are upset about the revenue the city gets from parking/traffic violations should have EXTRA incentive to follow parking/traffic rules. If your bad driving habits and the ostensible convenience they bring you are are so important to you, don’t complain about having to pay for them. It’s not that hard.

          • Cass

            Thank you! People need to understand that they need to pay for things that they want! You want to speed? The cost is $1,000. If that’s not worth it to you, don’t speed.

          • Anonymous

            Who says I’m upset? I’ve never gotten a speeding ticket in DC, so it’s not me they’re making money from. But I’m not so naive as to think this is all about protecting pedestrians. Google the numbers for yourself.

          • Timebomb

            Yes, there is a lot of revenue involved with speeding and parking penalties. Meanwhile the city gets little revenue from legal use of the roads (because we don’t toll roads) or from legal use of parking (because street parking does not generally charge market rates, let alone demand-variable rates, other than softly in the pilot program area). Yes, you might pay a small amount in car registration fees and residential permit fees (only if you’re a DC resident, which is probably a relatively small number of drivers), but these are nowhere near the cost of the real estate required to sustain these activities. To say nothing of externalities of pollution and dealing with crashes and other incidents.
            So, I’m far from feeling ripped off by the government here. It would certainly be nice if we could get user fees from drivers and depend less on punish rule-breakers, but it’d also be nice if there was less rule-breaking. Do I think the government is perfect? No. Do I think there are erroneously doled out penalties and there should be grounds for refuting them? Yes. Do I think OP is talking about one of them? Definitely not.

      • Anon

        DC would rather the cameras work and drivers slow down than get the revenue. MPD officers would prefer not to have to go to the scene of fatal crashes. Have you ever heard an officer or other eyewitness describe a fatal crash scene? No? Listen to that and see if it will help motivate you to slow down.

        Also, Connecticut Avenue north of Chevy Chase Circle is Montgomery County. Those are not DC cameras.

      • Park View

        Between CC Circle and Bradley is MD. As soon as you go north of the Cirlcle you are in Chevy Chase, MD (as opposed to Chevy Chase, DC)…. There are traffic cameras there on that stretch of Conn Ave. Just not ones feeding the Districts coffers

    • Truxton Thomas

      Or K Street under Washington Circle.

  • TinkerTaylor

    How is this any different than blowing two red lights with cameras in short succession and getting two tickets? Would you argue that is a single offense?

    • Ben

      Hey once big Mario got knocked down to little Mario he was invisible for a few seconds and could do anything!

      • theoutregirl

        Hahaha. Best comment so far.

      • Yes!

      • Timebomb

        ‘cept falling into a pit. I guess that’s analogous to hurting oneself or someone else?

  • 11th

    I have noticed lately that a few speeding cameras have an additional speeding camera just a few feet ahead ticketing the same cars. Maybe that’s what happened here.
    I apologize for the snark and holier than though responses you are sure to get from this. :-(

    • anon

      You are apologetic for people willing to endanger the lives of pedestrian and other drivers by speeding?

      • 11th

        Nooo. I’m apologizing for the snark and holier than thou responses the OP is going to get from this.

        • anon

          Doesn’t the speeder deserve some snarky comments for breaking the law twice and asking how to get out of it?

          • 11th

            I don’t think the OP is asking how to get out of it…..I believe the OP is wondering if the second ticket is actually legit. The DC gov makes plenty of mistakes, which they also get plenty of snark for so it’s worth looking into.

    • TinkerTaylor

      Considering OP was speeding, it seems unlikely it took them 71 seconds to traverse “a few feet”

      • Or there was a red light between the cameras.

        • ano

          There was a red light between the cameras and the OP still gained enough speed for two tickets.

  • AnonV2

    So, I shot this guy and the bullet passed through his body and hit the guy behind him, too. Get this: the police are trying to charge me for TWO murders! What’s up with that?!?!?

  • Nate

    I’m confused about getting additional fines for non-payment of parking violations. If you contest, doesn’t that delay any payment until their decision?

  • textdoc

    “I have unsuccessfully disputed parking tickets in the past, with photos and other evidence, and have always lost when sent in by mail, and had then the additional whammy of fines placed on those tickets.” You don’t get an additional fine if you send in your appeal (or payment) within 30 days of receiving the ticket.
    However, I had the experience of never receiving the _initial_ ticket and then getting a notice out of the blue that I hadn’t paid my $30 parking ticket and that it had doubled to $60 as a result. Maybe that’s what happened to you?

  • JS

    My advice: stop speeding.

  • Nonna

    Yikes. This is getting nasty. Everybody speeds, big deal. Depending on where you were, driving for over a minute could mean you covered some distance. It sucks, but I don’t think there’s much you can do, especially considering how DC bureaucracy works. Just pay and move on. Save yourself the stress.

    • eva

      No. Everyone doesn’t. I very specifically avoid it and get threatened by other drivers because of it. But I don’t care.

      • Nonna

        K Grandpa

        • nevermindtheend

          Your disregard for the safety of others is very disturbing.

          • Nonna

            Give me a break. I drive and sometimes I may drive slightly faster than the posted speed limit. Big deal. It’s not like I speed up when I see a pedestrian crossing the road. I’m not looking for puppies and kittens to run over. If this is getting people so riled up I suggest y’all chill. I’m not perfect and neither are you.

          • Anonymouse

            ” I’m not looking for puppies and kittens to run over.”
            That seems to be a common refrain whenever a speeding driver hits someone. Sorry, I wasn’t looking.

          • nevermindtheend

            I’m glad to hear you aren’t actively homicidal. On the other hand, you don’t seem to care if you drive so fast you can’t stop in time to avoid hitting someone, so I’m still going to hope that you figure out how dangerous speeding is before you hurt someone.

      • Anon

        + 1 Thank you

    • wdc

      No, everyone does not speed. Stop trying to normalize dangerous selfish behavior.

      • Nonna

        Overreact much? You never drive 26 in a 25? Doubt it.

        • nevermindtheend

          People don’t get ticketed for going 26 in a 25, so don’t even pretend that’s what you mean when you talk about speeding.

          • Nonna

            I applaud your passion for the rules of the road.

          • nevermindtheend

            I’m passionate about not being killed by some jackass who thinks it’s their god given right to speed.

          • Kent

            And yet 26 in a 25 is in fact speeding. I’m with Nonna on this one…everyone speeds. That doesn’t make it right, and it certainly isn’t justification for getting out of a ticket when you get caught, but the holier than thou attitude in a lot of these responses is comical.

          • Near Northeast

            No, everyone doesn’t speed. Some of us don’t drive at all, and are really tired of having to dodge back onto the sidewalk multiple times at a single intersection because cars can’t be bothered to slow as they approach a marked crosswalk or make a turn.

          • Kent

            Right, if you don’t drive you don’t speed. Anyone who drives occasionally drives faster than the posted speed limit.

        • Krampus

          But one doesn’t get ticketed for going 26 in a 25. If we’re even discussing the possibility of getting a speeding ticket we’re talking significantly over the speed limit.

        • Anonymouse

          A speed camera will not ticket you for driving 26 in a 25. The speed camera will ticket for excessive speeding, which, as noted, is not (and should not) be normal.

          • Nonna

            When I used to drive to VA for work every day there was a speed camera van right before the exit to merge on the highway. They expect you to go like 35 and then merge onto a highway with traffic going 50-60+ mph. You can’t tell me the city is doing that for pedestrian safety. Don’t act like it’s not normal to speed sometimes.

        • Austin

          DC’s speed cameras are configured to ticket only at 11 mph over the limit. Driving 36 mph in a 25 mph zone is not de minimis; it’s dangerous and inconsiderate.

          • Nonna

            I totally agree. I think people think I’m advocating for aggressive or dangerous driving. I’m not. Driving in this city is terrible, you have to be super cautious and on the look out for pedestrians, bikers, cabs, cars parked in the middle of a lane, etc, etc etc. You have to pay attention at all times. I live in a neighborhood and I see drivers speeding, running stop signs and generally acting like fools on a daily basis. Am I going to say I never speed? No. I’m just saying that sometimes I drive over the speed limit. On the highway I’ve been known to go 60 in a 55. Big deal. My advice to this guy was to pay it and move on. I forgot how many bikers are on this blog.

          • Kent

            Exactly. There is a difference between speeding, and aggressively/excessively speeding. Everyone speeds, not everyone speeds excessively.

          • anonymous

            no- you said it much earlier– it’s all the “holy than thou” people on here. They are all so perfect. They never speed, they only every cross the street where there’s a sidewalk, they stop at every red light and stop signs on their bikes.

          • anon

            Bikers in this city are 100x worse AT FOLLOWING LAWS than the cars in this city in general.

          • Kent

            Even if that were true (and I don’t believe it is), bikers breaking traffic laws is infinitely less dangerous than drivers breaking them.

  • It’s possible to get a red light ticket for not speeding, like if you have to decide between being rear ended by someone on your bumper (a big thing here), or you’re trying to make a left but can’t get in. Speeding is bad, but there are other reasons this situation could happen to other folks.

    • Timebomb

      “if you have to decide between being rear ended by someone on your bumper”
      What? I don’t understand what this means. You are being followed by someone very closely so you speed up to avoid them hitting you? I don’t actually believe this is a thing.
      “you’re trying to make a left but can’t get in”
      Get into the left lane sooner or just make the next left. Problem solved.

      • 1) when someone is tailgating, if you stop to avoid going through a red, they’ll rear end you. I know this because it’s happened to me. And where we live now, people are aggressive drivers and if you go the speed limit, they’re on your ass. This is not rare. If you’re driving in the city and someone is tailgating you, there isn’t often anywhere to go.
        2) if you’re in an intersection with no left arrow and no one is giving you a break, you often have to wait for the light to turn red in order to make that left…or stick out into traffic. There are few options. It’s a red light camera-able offense. Even if you weren’t speeding, it’s possible to get a red light ticket.

        • Timebomb

          I misread your original post. You’re talking about red light tickets. I still think (1) is an unacceptable case and that there are ways to deal with someone tailing you that don’t involve breaking rules yourself.
          Anyway, as far as I can tell, this post is about speed cameras, not red light cameras.

        • houseintherear

          Red light cameras are often triggered by left turners, yes, but the city is not legally allowed to ticket you for exercising your right (yes, it’s a right) to clear the intersection after the light turns red while turning left. If they send that ticket, you can get it expunged. This is all assuming you are one car, the first one, in the intersection. Second cars, etc, will be ticketed and rightly so.

      • Copwatch

        “You are being followed by someone very closely so you speed up to avoid them hitting you? I don’t actually believe this is a thing.”

        I do not mean this insincerely or snarkily, at all, but my first thought when reading this comment is that you probably do not have much experience driving. This is a very huried and self-important town. If you try to drive the 30 mph speed limit on 16th St NW, you will got honked at and cut off by cars driving at dangerous speeds. I have gotten tickets based on this scenario. It sucks. I’ve paid and moved on. I think the OP was probably speeding and went through two cameras. I’m not very sympathetic.

        The bottom line here is not about safe roads or slowing people down. To the folks preaching about safety for pedestrians, you need to start demanding better of your elected and appointed officials than lazy policing through cameras. Fire a couple meter maids and hire a police officer to go up and down 16th during rush hour. You’ll fill the coffers and actually slow people down. Getting a ticket in the mail a week after the offense does nothing to alter or correct behavior.

        • Timebomb

          False on just about all counts. I grew up in DC and have been driving for 15 years. As an adult, I’ve started trying to drive as infrequently as possible. When I was younger, I could very well have written something as entitled as what OP wrote. We all have our part to play in trying to change the driver-centric culture that enables this kind of behavior and sentiment.
          If someone is following you too closely, tap your brakes to let them pass you. Obviously, don’t be in the left-most lane. If you are on a single-lane road with a solid divider, this is probably not a situation in which you should be speeding at all, and you shouldn’t feel pressured by a jerk behind you. If you can’t keep your cool dealing with jerks on the road, you should sincerely consider how you can rearrange your schedule/obligations to be less car-dependent.

        • Timebomb

          Regarding whether speed camera tickets alter behavior, all research shows that it does. Anecdotally, it certainly has with me and everyone else I know. Speeding, especially in an urban environment full of stoplights, just isn’t worth the cost of these tickets. They are doing their job. If people follow the posted rules, there is no cashgrab to complain about. If you don’t want to follow the rules surrounding a government good (the roads), then I can’t help you. Try buying a private road and setting your own rules?

          • Austin

            Helpful research on this here: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0012902/

            “Twenty eight studies measured the effect on crashes. All 28 studies found a lower number of crashes in the speed camera areas after implementation of the program. In the vicinity of camera sites, the reductions ranged from 8% to 49% for all crashes, with reductions for most studies in the 14% to 25% range. For injury crashes the decrease ranged between 8% to 50% and for crashes resulting in fatalities or serious injuries the reductions were in the range of 11% to 44%. Effects over wider areas showed reductions for all crashes ranging from 9% to 35%, with most studies reporting reductions in the 11% to to 27% range. For crashes resulting in death or serious injury reductions ranged from 17% to 58%, with most studies reporting this result in the 30% to 40% reduction range. The studies of longer duration showed that these positive trends were either maintained or improved with time.”

  • Park View

    You either have back luck or are doing something wrong (I’m guessing the latter). In the last 15 years every parking ticket appeal (maybe 15-20 in all) and every moving violation appeal (7 or 8) I’ve submitted has been successful, so I do think they tend to be responsive a mistake is made…. Do you send them w/ illegible handwriting rather than typing them out? Are you polite? Are you making emotional appeals along w/ the photographic evidence, or sticking to the facts (as I think is one’s best bet)? And, most importantly, did the city official/camera actually make a mistake, or were you just appealing b/c you didn’t want to pay?

    In the instance you provide, it sounds like two different intersections just very close together, in which case it is not really worth your time to argue. I’m sure the city is aware that these cameras are close together and are purposely targeting speeding enforcement in that area b/c its a problem.

  • GS

    All nasty comments aside, in response to the OPs question – if you believe you have been improperly ticketed, the best way to address it, with proof, is to have an in-person hearing. Till date I am 6 out of 6 in getting traffic tickets dismissed when I went in for an in-person hearing. And I was 0 out of 2 when I did a mail adjudication,including one instance of what I thought was a black and white case, and mailed in a valid ParkMobile receipt.
    With a speeding camera, the burden of proof is on the city to prove that the camera is calibrated and functioning properly. While the speeding camera ticket does indicate some of this information, any recent changes in the vicinity of the camera (construction, accidents affecting camera location, etc) would enhance the City’s burden to ensure the camera is functioning properly.
    As for the broader conversation about traffic cameras in DC, there probably would be less resentment with the cameras, if only the City could be held responsible for its actions, in just the way it expects from its citizens. Would the City reimburse its citizens every time a pothole is left unattended and affects vehicles? Would the City reimburse its citizens for time/travel/parking whenever there is a successful contest of a traffic ticket? Absent any accountability from the City, the expansion of traffic camera usage would be deemed as a predatory measure.

  • Anonymouse

    Well, it would only make sense that the fines were applied doubly if you received the exact same citation twice and your account said you owed $200. In this case the times were different, and I’m guessing the accompanied photo was different as well. So you were probably speeding in two different locations. So argue them separately, or pay them both.

  • SAY-10

    Timbbomb, do you drive in this city ? Let’s not act like the speed limits couldn’t be given a boost in some areas. The city can front and says its about public safety but I never see police pull over speeders anymore, I never see pedestrians getting ticketed , and bikers could care less about traffic laws. The whole constitutionality of the cameras seems to be up for debate.

    • Timebomb

      I drive in this city far more than I care to. And have been doing so for more than half my life.
      And I missed the constitutional amendment that says punishment for crimes should be doled out by a human, and not by a machine. Or maybe you were referring the constitutional amendment that says the right of a person to drive the speed they feel they should be able to should not be infringed?
      Sure, some speed limits could be bumped up, but not without any risks. And I don’t think there are any economic or safety benefits associated with making driving a little easier at this time, so there’s no rewards either.

    • Anon5

      “and bikers could care less about traffic laws. ”

      That means they care.

  • Chris

    I just resolved a nearly identical situation yesterday! I received two speeding tickets in October: same block, same camera, a few minutes apart. $100 each. I contested with a letter saying, “May I please see the serial number of the camera, etc.” asking for all the things you’re supposed to request to get out of it. That didn’t work: two letters arrived a few weeks later doubling both fines (because, the office incorrectly said, I was late with my response), so I was looking at $400! Yesterday I went to the Adjudication Office for a hearing, waited 90 minutes, was finally called into a small room with 7 other people. In there, a clerk looked at the pictures and determined they were flawed. All of my fines were dismissed! So: writing a letter to the DMV didn’t work for me, but persistence did. If you can afford to spend a few hours away from work to fight it, do it!

  • 20011

    Hi OP – I had something similar happen several years ago. I paid the first ticket (the earlier time stamped one) and then contested the second. At the hearing I basically said, yes, I was speeding, but if I had been pulled over by a cop instead of being mailed a ticket several weeks later, I would have adjusted my behavior accordingly and would not have received the second one. It was in an area I wasn’t familiar with so the speeding wasn’t intentional (yes, it was still my fault). It seemed like a reasonable argument to me and they cut the second fine in half. However, that deduction was not worth the time I spent so I would suggest just paying both unfortunately.

  • John

    How do I fight 2 photo speed citations minutes apart while traveling through DC from NY to SC?


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