Fighting a traffic ticket in Washington D.C. can be a headache.
For one jokester, it has become a serious nightmare.
According to media reports, the D.C. resident has racked up more than $20,000 in fines that he attributes to a clerical error, originating from his vanity license plate.
For 20 years, the man has had a vanity plate that reads "No-Tags." This has reportedly led to him receiving a ticket every time someone without a license plate is cited for a non-moving violation.
Our Washington D.C. traffic ticket law firm has seen many instances in which a person was unfairly cited by traffic attendants for non-moving violations, or by officers itching to hand out tickets.
In fact, according to the Washington Post, the district hands out more than 1.5 million traffic tickets annually. This is three times as many tickets as are issued per capita in Baltimore or Los Angeles. Consider that for just a moment. The District of Columbia has a population of about 600,000. Los Angeles, meanwhile, has a population of about 4 million people.
We have more than half as many parking tickets as Los Angeles, and yet we are less than a quarter of the size. It has become an easy revenue stream for government leaders. The actual violation is typically of little consequence.
In the vanity plates case, the man reached out to a local media outlet, after he had taken off countless days at work to have each of the tickets dismissed.
According to the new station, the man has had the "No-Tags" plate on his Chevy Avalanche for decades, and gets many smiles and good-natured ribbing from strangers. But folks at the Department of Motor Vehicles don't consider it a laughing matter.
He has been charged tens of thousands of dollars for traffic tickets in Washington D.C. that he has had nothing to do with. Any car with missing license plates or that is abandoned - he's going to get the ticket for it. Even though it has been fairly simple for him to get a dismissal on tickets that are clearly not his vehicle (different makes, models and years), any ticketed, no-tag Chevrolet is going to be his problem. Court officials have said they are unsure how the man can prove the tickets aren't his.
That has resulted in a DMV record that is so extensive, the man can't get his registration or license renewed.
This is unacceptable.
Some have asked the man why he doesn't simply change his license plate to avoid the hassle. He feels he shouldn't have to pay to have them changed, when the issue is the district's failure. He should be free to have a license plate that says whatever he wants it to, as long as it isn't profane or extremely offensive.
DMV officials said their computers aren't able to red-flag tags like his, other officials said the problem could be solved by ticketing agents writing either "xx" or the last several digits of the VIN, rather than "none" or "no tags" if someone is missing a plate.
This policy is now supposed to be in place. We will see if agents follow through.