DC Driving Without a Registration Lawyer

To legally drive in DC, people must first properly register their vehicle with the DMV.  In order to be properly registered, they must complete a vehicle safety and emission inspection. Additionally, they must complete a registration process with the DMV.

If a person is pulled over and they fail to show their registration, the penalties can affect a person’s life in numerous ways. Not only can the fines for a laps of registration can take a toll on a person’s wallet, and jail time can affect their ability to be employed, as well as their relationships with loved ones.

Ultimately, for this reason, a Washington DC traffic attorney can help a person navigate the legal process ahead of them, and using their experience in traffic cases and knowledge of the DC area, can work to minimize the penalties they are facing as much as possible.

Keeping Your Registration with You

In DC, people should always make sure to have their registration on them because they may face a fine for failure to present registration if they are ever pulled over. Additionally, they should have a physical paper copy of their registration card in a place that is easy to reach from the driver’s seat. A person may face a failure to provide proof of registration or failure to exhibit registration charge if they do not have a physical paper document in the car when pulled over.

If someone is pulled over in DC, an attempt to show a DC police officer the registration information on a phone will not be accepted as proof.  Furthermore, if an individual has to take the time to search through papers in the car to find the registration information, the officer may become restless and issue the citation.

Driving without Registration

In the District of Columbia, it is illegal to drive without proper registration. According to 50-1501.04, even driving with an expired registration is illegal. No one can operate a motor vehicle or trailer on any public highway in the District of Columbia if:

  • The motor vehicle or trailer isn’t registered or covered by special use certificate or dealer’s registration
  • The individual doesn’t have the registration certificate or special use certificate in the vehicle or in his or her possession
  • The trailer or motor vehicle doesn’t have attached or displayed the required identification tags

Under section 2 of the law, it is illegal for any vehicle owner to knowingly permit someone else to drive the vehicle without having proper registration. If you are accused of driving without a registration or allowing someone to use your vehicle without it being registered, you have legal options. Contact a DC driving without registration lawyer.

Giving a Fake Registration

The law 50-1501.04 also makes giving a fictitious, or fake, registration illegal. This is illegal according to section 3 of the law. The law specifically outlaws the use of a fictitious or false name or address in:

  • Any registration application
  • Special use certificate
  • Any renewal of a registration

It is also against the law to make false statements or hide any material fact in each of the above types of registration procedures.

Section four of the statute pertains to an owner knowingly using or permitting the use of a registration with fraudulent tags. He or she is guilty if the motor vehicle has a temporary identification tag that is:

  • Stolen
  • Counterfeit
  • Fake

If you have been accused of any of these offenses you will likely want to contact a DC driving without a registration lawyer.


Penalties include a fine of $100.00 for a lapse in registration between one to 30 days.  For every additional 30 days that someone does not have valid registration, there is an additional $200.00 fine.  The person’s car could also be impounded.

The maximum fine that individuals can receive is $2,400.00.  Moreover, they may face an additional $1,000.00 fine and be imprisoned up to 30 days if they are found guilty of either using a fraudulent registration or providing false information to obtain registration.

Common Defenses to Driving Without Registration

Fortunately, the DC Council eliminated criminal charges for people who were simply driving with expired registration.  However, using fraudulent registration or providing false statements or information in order to obtain registration can carry possible jail time.

Because the law requires that you knowingly provided false information in order to obtain registration, providing such information by accident, or mistakenly believing the information to be true, can be one possible defense to these charges. To learn more consult with a DC driving without a registration attorney.

Speaking with a Lawyer

People should have any documentation that they received from the DC DMV in regards to the renewal of their registration, proof of DC car insurance, proof of their most recent vehicle inspection, their DC driver’s license, and proof of ownership of their vehicle, such as a title.

If a person has been charged because there are steep consequences if found guilty, they should hire a DC driving without registration attorney. There are possible defenses that their lawyer may be able to argue to ensure that their rights and interests are protected.