DC Criminal Defense Lawyer

Expired Tags in DC Could Get You Arrested

A little-known practice in the District could have you behind bars for missing your vehicle registration renewal date. According to the Washington Post, the practice was instituted many years ago as a way for police to target drug dealers. But it’s being used against the common folks now too, and seems like a bit of major overkill.

Driving with expired tags is considered a traffic infraction. Typically, infractions like this and speeding are punishable by a fine and a fine only. But, this one can be initiated by arrest and punishable by up to 30 days in jail upon conviction.

DC is likely the only place in the entire country where you can be arrested for this common oversight and mistake. Sure, you have to be over 30 days past your expiration date for the cops to arrest you, but many people let these dates slip by with little thought as to the consequences, believing if anything they will be fined.

“There is absolutely no justification for jailing citizens whose only offense is an expired tag,” says Senator James Webb (D-Virginia). He weighed in because it isn’t only DC residents who can be arrested, but anyone in DC with the expired tags.

The police have not divulged how many arrests they make for this traffic infraction and a spokesperson for the department says, “MPD officers are sworn to enforce the laws that are on the books…If you have concerns, please address them with the legislators.”

Though there is a potential for jail time with this specific traffic infraction, most carry nothing but a fine. Many people are under the assumption that reckless driving is another infraction. Of course, they are mistaken. While the penalties for reckless driving are dependent on the jurisdiction in which you are charged, they could be up to one year in jail, plus fines, and a suspension of your driving privileges.

Unlike expired tags, speeding, or failing to yield, reckless driving is a criminal offense. This means, if convicted, you will have a criminal record. A defense attorney can help you fight these charges in hopes of keeping your record clean and keeping you out of jail.

Offenses like this are fairly subjective in nature, open to the interpretation of the officer who pulls you over. This is why it’s particularly important that you discuss every detail of the incident with a local criminal defense lawyer is crucial early on in the case.

If you’ve been charged with any crime in the DC or Maryland area, contact my offices today to discuss your case and how I might be able to help.

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This entry was posted on Wednesday, October 19th, 2011 at 10:41 am and is filed under Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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