Traffic Ticket Defense

Have you been unfairly ticketed? D.C. issues at least 2 million traffic tickets to drivers each year, too many of them are undeserved. A DC traffic ticket can result in points on your driving record, higher insurance premiums, a substantial fine or lead to the delay, suspension, or revocation of your license. Drivers have rights too and the freedom to drive is a necessity of life that is worth fighting for.

If you want to contest a traffic ticket don’t do it alone. The D.C. DMV hearing process is counter-intuitive, unpredictable, and can be confusing to those inexperienced with the process, often leading to harsh results for the unwary. Simply put, the DMV’s conveyer belt-like system is designed to find you liable. The bottom line is: If your license is important to you then don’t fight the ticket by yourself.

At Riley Legal, we expect to get every single ticket dismissed in every case. Riley Legal is committed to the vigorous defense of your freedom to drive.


Don’t waste time going to the DMV, and don’t plead guilty. Riley Legal has years of experience fighting tickets and knows how to obtain dismissals of tickets and dismissals of points. The process is simple: save time, save money, save energy and obtain a dismissal. Paying a ticket that could be dismissed is highway robbery!

  • Since my ticket doesn’t have a big fine, shouldn’t I just pay it? The answer is no. Payment of a ticket is an admission of liability and points can be imposed. While some DC tickets may appear to be harmless infractions, paying a moving violation ticket can raise your insurance premiums and create a negative entry on your driving record. Moving violations in DC carry at least 2 points.
  • If the officer who issued my ticket doesn’t show up will my ticket be dismissed? Yes. However, most of the time police officers actually appear at the DMV for hearings. The DMV makes it easy for the officer; the hearing has been scheduled based on the officer’s availability and the DMV allows police officers to appear online, virtually, regardless of whether you are present or not. Hoping the officer does not show up is not a realistic plan or a legal strategy, it's a prayer! Retain Riley legal to aggressively fight your ticket at a contested hearing.
  • It’s my first ticket in a while, won’t a DMV hearing examiner give me a break? Not likely. In general, at the DC DMV, the citizen is always wrong! Drivers with a good ticket history are often not given any special consideration by hearing examiners and points are still imposed.

Leave the DMV to us and get back on the road with confidence. Call (202) 235-5077 for a free consultation. Its fast, easy and stress free


Unlike most states, DC has de-criminalized all minor traffic violations. As such, accused “respondents” are not entitled to the 5th and 6th Amendment protections available to “defendants” in criminal prosecutions in most states. Also, hearing decisions are made by hearing examiners (not judges) based on lower standards of evidence and a lower burden of proof. Consequently, it is much easier to be found liable at a DMV hearing than in most states for similar violations, such as Maryland or Virginia, which have not decriminalized traffic tickets.

Traffic tickets or “Notices of Infraction” are administrative, non-incarcerable violations that carry only administrative sanctions; the imposition of points, and a civil penalty of a fine.

Traffic tickets may be either “moving violations” or “non-moving violations.” Non-moving violations are parking tickets or tickets unrelated to the movement of a vehicle, such as an “expired tag.” Penalties for non-moving violations are assessed on the registration of the vehicle and are the legal responsibility of the owner of the vehicle. Unlike parking tickets, moving violations are committed by drivers and are assessed on the driver’s license, not the tag. Moving violation tickets are personally served on a driver by a police officer who claims to have observed a driver violate a D.C. law.


    There are over 200 minor traffic violations – some of the most common moving violations are listed below;

    • Distracted Driving
    • Colliding with a fixed object
    • Colliding with a pedestrian or bicycle
    • Failing to yield right of way to emergency vehicle
    • Operating without proper insurance
    • Changing lane without caution
    • Turn from the wrong lane
    • Failure to yield right of way to a pedestrian
    • Fail to yield to another vehicle
    • Passing a stopped school bus with lights flashing
    • Failure to wear or properly wear a seatbelt
    • Passing red light
    • Speeding in excess of limit (anything over 30 mph is criminal)
    • Unreasonable speed
    • Failure to stop at stop sign
    • No “U” turn
    • Improper Turn

    Do you live far away or out of state? You don't need to pay the ticket. We can help.


    Traffic tickets may be contested at the D.C. Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) before hearing officers at DMV Adjudication Services at 955 L’Enfant Plaza, SW on the Promenade Level. You have the option of 1) paying the ticket, which is an admission to the violation, 2) admitting liability with an explanation, or 3) denying the ticket. Moving violations usually result in points being assessed to your driver record. Points will stay on a DC driving record for two years. The DMV is required to delete points added to your record two years after the date of assessment. The DMV is also required to assign one (1) safe driving point annually at the beginning of the calendar year to the driving record of a driver who has not assessed points during the preceding twelve months, up to a maximum accumulation of five (5) points. Safe points expire after 5 years. Out-of-state drivers issued tickets may receive points according to the point system for the same or similar violation in their home state.

    Drivers who incur too many points can lose their licenses. The DC DMV may suspend your DC license if you accumulate 8 - 9 points. A suspension is mandatory if you accumulate 10 points and a mandatory revocation occurs If you accumulate 12 points.

    If you were issued a ticket don’t delay. You must schedule a hearing within at least 60 calendar days of the ticket issue date. Failure to schedule a hearing within 30 calendar days may result in the ticket fine doubling. Failure to respond to the ticket within 60 calendar days of the date the ticket was issued may result in suspension of your D.C. driver's license or your privilege to drive in D.C. for out of state drivers. Do not pay the ticket if you want to contest the ticket, regardless of whether you are only disputing the penalty; payment of any portion of a ticket is an admission of guilt and will eliminate your ability to adjudicate any portion of the ticket. Points may be imposed when you pay a ticket.


    Sean Riley is an experienced traffic attorney practicing law in Washington D.C. He is a knowledgeable authority on D.C. traffic laws and regulations and interrelated areas of administrative and criminal law. Attorney Riley is known for zealous client representation and a commitment to results.

    Mr. Riley has extensive experience handling moving violation cases such as speeding, unlawful lane change, failure to yield to pedestrian or emergency vehicles, disobeying traffic signals, and many others. He has successfully represented hundreds of drivers at moving violation and license revocation/suspension hearings at the D.C. Department of Motor Vehicles. Riley Legal also understands that time and energy are valuable assets to you. In most traffic ticket cases Mr. Riley can represent you without you being present at the hearing. Sign up and we will take care of the rest. For a free consultation call (202) 235-5077