“$5k+ in violations, yet vehicle never gets booted or towed”

by Prince Of Petworth April 5, 2016 at 2:15 pm 37 Comments


“Dear PoPville,

Over past few months my neighbors and I have noticed a “shady” vehicle that often parks in our street. The car’s registration and inspection expired over a year ago. This past weekend I decided to check the tags for outstanding violations and sure enough, I found that it has 38 outstanding violations totaling $5,307.

My question is, when does the DPW decide that a vehicle has enough tickets to boot and/or tow? We have called 311 to report the car whenever we see it, but parking enforcement only seems to ticket (they usually issue up to 3 tickets at the same time) but never request a boot/tow.

The scary part is knowing that if this person hasn’t renewed the registration in over a year, it is most likely they are driving around without insurance or without a driver’s license for that matter!”

  • layperson

    silly question: can an ordinary layperson check tags for outstanding violations? I realize this doesn’t address the specific subject-matter of the post.

  • transplanted

    Is the lead image the car in question? If so, can I get some more information about what makes this vehicle shady?

  • textdoc

    From http://dpw.dc.gov/service/booting-and-impoundment :
    “District law states that a vehicle is boot-eligible if it has two or more unsatisfied parking and/or photo enforcement tickets that are 60 days old.”

    • textdoc

      On towing:
      “DPW tow crane operators may tow a vehicle, once it is ticketed, for any parking violation. Legally parked vehicles also may be towed in an emergency such as at the request of the Secret Service or Metropolitan Police Department to aid the President’s travel throughout the city. Typically, DPW tows vehicles that pose a danger to the public or impede the flow of traffic.”

    • Marty

      but i wonder what it takes to actually get them to give to sh!ts and actually put a boot on it?

      • Nathan

        Judging by the number of cars that consistently park illegally in my neighborhood, get tickets, don’t seem to pay them, and still not get booted…..it takes a lot.

  • Bob Jones

    I bet $20 that this is a vehicle belonging to a well-connected DC official or councilmember. The same thing occurs in our neighborhood, but more often it’s DPW saying there’s “no violation” when there clearly is.

    Can you post the vehicle image and plate? You should also contact DPW and the mayor’s office and demand answers why this motorist gets away with blatantly illegal behavior.

  • H St Resident

    I’ve often checked the DMV web site for cars that I’ve seen with lots of tickets. I don’t think this situation is uncommon. You’d think DPW would be all over this, considering how efficient they are at issuing said tickets. Easy cash for the city!

    • gabeyo

      My guess is that they only do the towing portion in areas where they have regular street sweeping. I was semi illegally parked for a while on that particular block as i just moved and hadn’t switched my zone 1 parking permit to a zone 4. I was only ticketed one time in that 3 month period. I’ve also been towed with only two outstanding tickets but that was also in area where I saw the tow trucks out early in the morning on regular basis in the 11th street Columbia Heights area. A lot of the time they don’t tow you to the impound because its more effective to move multiple cars in the vicinity then tow one car to the impound lot in SE.

    • AnonV2

      That is assuming that somebody isn’t deleting those tickets in the background for these cars. DC has come a long way since the days of rampant patronage and open corruption and bribery. It’s down to merely average corruption at this point, and as we’ve seen over and over again average corruption at the local level of government is often astonishing.

      • H St Resident

        I hadn’t even thought of that possibility. I’m generally very cynical of DC operations, so I’m disappointed in myself for not thinking of this option!

      • ah

        If they were deleting tickets wouldn’t they show as closed or not show at all?

  • KeeChain

    Call 911. Tell them there’s a suspicious car on your block, that doesn’t belong to any of your neighbors.

    • V

      WTF??? For WHAT? someone parking on your street? Get out of here with that. Nothing is going on. Nothing. Except dude owes the city a ton of money. And side note, people who don’t live on your street are STILL ALLOWED TO PARK THERE. Jesus Christ! 911 for a car that isn’t yours. First world problems at its most annoying.

      • Anonamom

        This person and the OP remind me of that one lady in my neighborhood growing up who could not keep her nose out of everyone else’s business, only now they are able to get into people’s business much more easily because of the internet and easily accessible records.
        DO NOT call 911 for this. Doesn’t our city and our first responders have enough to worry about besides busy body neighbors? This is not an emergency, it is the modern day equivalent of a kid walking across someone’s lawn.

        • textdoc

          For what it’s worth… since about 2008, 911 has been the number for ALL police calls, both emergency and non-emergency.
          I don’t really see this issue as being worth calling the police about, though.

  • Anonymous

    What the hell? How does this happen? I bet the car isn’t even worth $5K.
    Someone probably has a friend or cousin in DPW or the DMV.

    • DC1

      My thoughts exactly. My guess is that they’re free riding the car ownership as much as they can, once the city boots or tows it, then it’s time for a new car.

  • atlascesar

    In all seriousness, is it possible that this person is a leader in a local religious community? Maybe the city does not want to trigger potential backlash from a church. Just a guess.

  • Tow Master

    It is almost impossible to get a car towed or booted. The reason is that the parking enforcement people and MPD do not have a consistent set of policies about who to call, what to do, etc. I have on occasion successfully had cars towed (one out of a handicapped parking space after three days, and one that was parked on my front lawn. Yes, on the lawn), and have learned that it will take many calls to various agencies of DC Government. Your best bet is to call 311, ask for thr Towing Department, and tell them that a ticket has been issued. They will ask for the ticket number, so give them any of those 38 tickets. They will then transfer you to the Parking Enforcement Tow Department. Keep calling them until a tow truck arrives. If no tow happens within 6 or so hours, call again, ask for Towing, tell them the vehicle has been ticked by MPD and needs a tow. Keep doing this until it works. Good luck.

    • V

      really? ask my neighbor who got booted in front of Big Bear for 3 outstanding tickets. Ask my old boss who sometimes won’t drive in DC because she’s “bootable”…

      • Anonymous

        They go where the money is. Apparently, that’s not Brightwood.

    • Anonamom

      Really? I’ve known plenty of people who have gotten booted after two or three tickets. I will give you that it probably depends on where you are parking, but it is definitely not near impossible!
      ….Now, excuse me while I go pay some outstanding tickets **whistles and walks away**

    • V2

      Oh they happily tow for somethings such as ticketing and then towing the cat to the other side of the street for street cleaning if you’ve not moved it within even 20 minutes of switch over time (putting aside half the time no street cleaning even happens). But like for this car or cars sitting in rush hour no traffic lanes, not a tow truck to be seen….

  • victoria

    The DMV tows cars where the owner is actually likely to pay. A beater car with $5,000.00 in tickets most likely will not come up with any payment. This is the same reason DPW primarily issues trash tickets to condo & apt. buildings in “gentrified” neighborhoods.

    • Caleb

      Totally agree. This car would just sit in the impound lot taking up valuable space for paying “customers”.

  • I Dont Get It

    Hmm…how long has Marion Barry been dead?

  • V

    “often parks on our street”… did you decide to go through an private investigation simply because the car is “shady”???? Good Lord, I wish I had your kind of time.

  • KayDee

    I accidentally let my DC registration expire. It was normally parked off the street so it went about two months without me realizing. One day I parked my car (otherwise legally) in front of my home and my car was ticketed and impounded within a couple of hours! How can my vehicle be towed and this car gets a pass?

  • lms3710

    as a DC resident who was towed last month with 2 outstanding tickets that amounted to less than $200 this is absolutely maddening


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