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“Infuriating incompetence or respectable evil genius?”

by Prince Of Petworth November 1, 2016 at 12:45 pm 24 Comments


“Dear PoPville,

The problem relates to a circular series of hyperlinks on the DMV website when one tries to contest a ticket online.
The starting page is this:
Clicking on the “contest a ticket” hyperlink lands one here:

Clicking on the “contest it” hyperlink lands one here:
Clicking on the “contest tickets online” link lands one here:
You probably see the problem here. My questions are:
(1) Infuriating incompetence or respectable evil genius?
(2) Have people been able to get around this issue to somehow contest online? (3) Does this allow for a reasonable argument that the 60 day limit for contesting can be challenged? “

  • MD Resident

    I successfully navigated the website and submitted my request. Received email confirmation that it was received and would be reviewed in “6-8 months”. I checked in after a month to verify it was still in queue and they emailed saying yes, keep waiting. A month and half later I received notice from a collections agency for a past due ticket + late fee. I called in to ask why, was put on hold for quite a while, and eventually hung up. I ended up paying for the $25 ticket + late fee to close the collections notice.

    • jumpingjack

      If this happens again, you can stop the collection activities by sending the debt collector a letter disputing the debt, asking them to stop contacting you, and requesting verification of the debt.
      In my experience, the collection agencies are so used to the DC government’s incompetence that they won’t bother you again.

    • ST21

      I am going through the exact same experience. I contested a ticket online within 30 days of originally receiving the ticket- I never got an email confirmation so I submitted another note contesting the ticket- and another- and another. After 4 tries contesting I figured there must have been glitch in the confirmation system and that they had to receive at least one of them. HOWEVER, 2 weeks ago I got a letter in the mail saying my ticket was outstanding and that the fine had doubled- complete BS. Luckily I took a screenshot of my original contesting note and emailed it to myself with the date and time. I am about to handwrite another note and mail it in along with my original letter that was submitted within 30 days. I am normally one to just pay the ticket, cut my losses, and move on but this “parking violation” was complete BS- claimed I was 5 ft from a stop sign- yet my car was parked there for a week and the meter maid comes through every single day- if it wasn’t a ticket the first 3 days then it shouldn’t be a ticket on the 4th day. I refuse to pay any late fees on this one.

      • Cleveland Park runner

        But was your car 5 ft from the stop sign?

        • ST21

          It was not. I was debating with myself when I parked if it was too close or not but I felt it was probably closer to 8 ft away than 5- plus that location has a car there almost every day. If I had gotten a ticket on the first day then maybe I could see where they were coming from. I physically walked past the parking enforcement person right by my car every morning that week. Never got a ticket or warning so I figured I was fine. Finally on the 4th day it was there I received a ticket and it also read “no activity observed”- soooo because I hadn’t moved the car it warranted a ticket? Seemed like this one was worth contesting which I had never done before.

          • anon

            If you were eight feet away, contest it. But look up the photo online that they may have taken to see if it actually supports your claim, or you may not win – and as these tickets are $20, they aren’t worth ruining your credit over.
            My two tickets were for this as well – though I was arguably within 5 feet, so I won’t win on that. The fact that the building driveway is really wide and so I wouldn’t be blocking anything, even a truck, that tried to pull out of it wouldn’t win to defeat the ticket (I have sympathy for homeowners who have narrow driveways that people can block by parking too close – I don’t do that.) Nor the fact that someone is parked there all time on my street within the 5 feet with no problems.. The fact that the tickets (there were two on successive nights) said I was on the other side of the street (N v. S) should get the ticket dismissed – we’ll see – if they ever adjudicate them.
            I don’t know if this is a new thing they are ticketing for all over, this 5 feet from alley or driveway thing, or not – this, plus, as someone pointed out on a recent thread, you are supposed to leave a few feet (I forget how many) between parked, means that they could probably ticket every single car in the parking congested parts of the district every single day, multiple times.

      • siz

        WAIT so this exact same thing is happening to me, but i had convinced myself i was crazy. I was pulled over for having a bike rack on my car that was partially obscuring my rear plate – I had removed the bike that day and had forgotten to take the rack off. A cop pulled me over and told me the ticket was a “warning” – all i needed to do was take off the rack, take a picture of my unobscured license plate, and contest the the ticket, it would be dismissed. I asked if I could just take the rack off right there, it would take 2 seconds, but he said no. Fine. THE TICKET WAS FOR $500. I also got a ticket for not having a paper copy of my registration on me, just the sticker in the window. He said to do the same thing about that one – get the registration, take a picture, and contest. So I get the new registration, take the pictures, contest both tickets. The other day, I got a letter in the mail that the fine had doubled because I had not contested the license plate ticket, the fine has now doubled to $1000. I checked to see if I had an email confirmation, and as it turned out, I only had one for the registration ticket, which, about a day later, I got a letter in the mail saying that charge had been dismissed. Unfortunately I DIDN’T do a screen shot of the original contesting note, and I KNOW I submitted it at the same time I submitted the other one…I was beginning to think maybe I’m crazy and I didn’t actually submit it??? But now you’re making me think they’re at fault…I’ve requested a hearing but it’s not until February and I’m totally paranoid I’m going to get a collections letter after 60 days. I tweeted at the DMV to ask them to confirm my hearing (since they offer no other form of confirmation, you schedule the hearing over the phone), and they did. The whole system is garbage.

  • logan

    Just click the right link.

    DC DMV Online Ticket Adjudication

  • Joey

    You can contest online. If you have to use the DC DMV Adjudication Services link to guide you to enter your information. If that still isn’t want you want, call them and ask. You would have had your answer by now instead of waiting for the people on here to point it out.

  • So, Just Sayin’

    But the “Contest Tickets” page, if you read down, has this info:
    If you want to request a reduced fine (i.e., dismissal of the penalty or dismissal of the entire ticket), submit a written explanation, and any documentation or evidence that supports your request, to the DC DMV at the link below:
    DC DMV Online Ticket Adjudication

    • Last, First

      Reading is cool!

  • dcd

    The URL to this post should be Hanlon’s Razor: “Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.” Heck, that could be the DC government’s motto (with several notable exceptions).

  • Simon

    Honestly, if you own a vehicle in the District you need to simply budget in another $200 a year in tickets as the “cost of living here”.

    I have lived and had vehicles registered in probably half a dozen jurisdictions in my life (bigger city/small towns) and NEVER seen the level of cronyism (issuing clearly bogus tickets you can’t get repealed) and complete dysfunction of a DMV as I’ve seen here in DC, and it isn’t like DMV’s anywhere are known for their pleasant efficiency.

    They (rightfully) know that 99.99% of District residents aren’t going to submit themselves to the mind rushing insanity and months of ridiculousness to fight your average $25 ticket, or raise a serious enough ruckus about their website / processes dysfunction.

    I learned a few years ago it is less frustrating to me to simply pay whatever BS ticket the’ve left on my car and move on, rather than let me stew over it for weeks or months.

    • ST21

      You are correct sir. In all my years of living here I have never contested a ticket simply because I didn’t want to deal with the hassle of it. Finally after my most recent “parking violation” I decided it was time to actually contest one…. 3 months later and it’s turned into a bigger pain in the ass than I could imagine… Fines have somehow doubled during my contesting and I still don’t have any answer from them. I wish I paid the $50 in hindsight- DC knows damn well what they are doing with these “violations”. SMH

    • eva

      Really? I’ve had cars registered in DC since 2004 and I doubt I’ve cumulatively received $200 in tickets. I think I’ve gotten 2 for not moving for street cleaning, 1 speed camera ticket (100% deserved), and 1-2 other parking violations. And I’ve never lived in a place with off-street parking.

      I do however very strictly follow the rule of “when in doubt, don’t park” and I’m not a daily driver.

  • Ticket Fighter

    I challeneged a ticket in 1996 that is still under review.

    • INWDC

      Haha seriously? Wait, nevermind, this is actually believable in DC.

  • anon

    So, I contested two parking tickets that were incorrect online a few months back, and got email confirmation that I did so. They still show up under my plate, with an asterisked note that a request for adjudication has been submitted.
    The ticket numbers and asterisks are in red – which I don’t remember them being when I first checked online after submitting my request – is there any relevance to the color red, or did they just change how they display?
    Is there anything I can do to check that they are still in line? How do you find out? I don’t want to end up either 1) having them go to collection; or 2) not receiving the mailed notice that they were or were not dismissed, as I will likely be moving before they get adjudicated.
    Since they have your email to email that the request was submitted, do they email you when an adjudication has been made? That would make the most sense.
    Answers from anybody who has had experience with the online adjudication system will be SO much appreciated. I wish I had gone in person and had them dismissed, as I did recently for another ticket written for the wrong parkmobile zone number (I had paid the right zone number.)

    • siz

      When the ticket is adjudicated, they send you a postcard, which is a truly strange way of doing it. I recently had a ticket adjudicated, but got no email – just the postcard. See my post above, I’m dealing with some bullshit too, but I recommend tweeting at the DMV with your ticket number, they are responsive.

  • K

    Set up a ticket alert system account. You can then check if your ticket has had a hearing or not. if the hearing date line is empty then the ticket is still in the queue. It is annoyingly complicated to set up a TAS account but it definitely helps monitor ticket adjudication. https://prdwmq.etimspayments.com/pbw/include/dc_tas/login_page.jsp

    • anon

      Thanks for this suggestion. It appears that I can set up to get notices on the tickets I already sent in for adjudication.

      The annoying thing is that I can’t access the account I just set up right away – I have to wait for an access code to arrive by mail in order to do so. For my protection, I guess.

  • MKDGoodman

    I got a parking ticket a couple of years back. The machine was out of order and it was before being able to pay via parkmoble.
    I contested online. It was reviewed and overturned. I guess I was one of the lucky ones.

  • niceflipflop

    This is mainly just bad content editing. The page at the second link above has just got way too much info on it. So it’s not surprising that it ALSO contains a link to the first page.

    Also, it doesn’t help that they’re using the raw Drupal urls with node IDs in many places (…node/1119647), instead of url aliases. The content editors are probably confusing themselves and getting lost in their own pages.

    • textdoc



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