Code of the District of Columbia

§ 31–2413. Penalties; adjudications.

(a) A person is guilty of an offense if that person:

(1) Makes any false material statement with respect to his or her compliance with the obligation to maintain required insurance;

(2) Is the owner of a motor vehicle that is required to be registered or obtain a reciprocity sticker in the District and required insurance is not in effect with respect to that motor vehicle;

(3) Is the owner of a motor vehicle and operates or permits that motor vehicle to be operated in the District without required insurance being in effect with respect to that motor vehicle;

(4) Repealed.

(5) Operates a motor vehicle as to which the certificate of registration or reciprocity sticker has been suspended pursuant to § 31-2403(d)(2);

(6) Fails or refuses to return or give a registration certificate, reciprocity sticker, or tags to the Department, an authorized agent of the Department, or to a law-enforcement officer;

(7) Fails or refuses to present an Insurance Identification Card, its equivalent in another state, or other evidence establishing that required insurance is in effect with respect to a motor vehicle operated by that person upon demand by a law-enforcement officer; or

(8) Violates any other provision of this chapter.

(a-1) A violation of subsection (a)(7) of this section shall create a rebuttable presumption of a violation of subsection (a)(3) of this section.

(a-2)(1) For the purposes of subsection (a)(7) of this section, the term "Insurance Identification Card" includes an electronic image of an Insurance Identification Card that is displayed on a cellular telephone or other portable electronic device.

(2)(A) The presentation of an electronic image of an Insurance Identification Card on a cellular telephone or other portable electronic device shall not constitute consent for a law enforcement officer to access any other content on the cellular telephone or other portable electronic device.

(B) A law enforcement officer presented with an electronic image of an Insurance Identification Card on a cellular telephone or other portable electronic device shall be immune from liability for damage to or loss of the cellular telephone or other portable electronic device; provided, that no immunity shall extend to recklessness or intentional misconduct.

(b)(1)(A) A person who commits an offense under subsection (a)(3) of this section shall be subject to both the regulatory scheme established in § 31-2403(d)(2) and to a civil fine of $500, or a license suspension for up to 30 days, or both, for the first offense, and an increase of 50% of the civil fine for the second and each subsequent offense, or a license suspension for up to 60 days, or both, pursuant to §§ 50-2301.04 and 50-2301.05.

(B) A motor vehicle owner or operator shall be permitted to contest by mail or in person the charge of operating or permitting to be operated a motor vehicle without required insurance being in effect with respect to that motor vehicle pursuant to subsection (a)(3) of this section. For the purposes of contesting the charge, the owner or operator shall be permitted to present as evidence establishing that the required insurance was in effect with respect to the motor vehicle any of the following:

(i) An Insurance Identification Card;

(ii) An insurance policy;

(iii) Any other evidence that constitutes reasonable proof that the required insurance was in effect; or

(iv) Copies of any documents described in sub-subparagraphs (i) through (iii) of this subparagraph.

(C) Unless the hearing examiner has reasonable doubt about the veracity of the evidence presented pursuant to subparagraph (B)(i) and (ii) of this paragraph, submission of either shall be sufficient to dismiss the charge of operating or permitting to be operated a motor vehicle without required insurance being in effect with respect to that motor vehicle pursuant to subsection (a)(3) of this section.

(2)(A) In addition to the regulatory scheme established in § 31-2403(d)(2) for a person who commits an offense under subsection (a)(2) of this section a civil fine of $150 shall be assessed for each vehicle without the required insurance for a period of 1 to 30 days, and increasing to $7 for each day thereafter, not to exceed a total of $2,500 for each violation pursuant to § 31-2404(d)(2)(A) [sic]. All or part of any penalty may be waived by the Director upon submission or proof that the vehicle was not operated during the corresponding time period.

(B) A person shall not be subject to a fine pursuant to this paragraph if the person believed, in good faith, that the person contracted for the required insurance coverage with a company which subsequently went out of business or otherwise failed to comply with this law.

(3) A person who commits an offense under subsection (a)(7) of this section shall be subject both to the regulatory scheme established in § 31-2403(d)(2) and to a civil fine of $30.

(c) In addition to the penalties provided in subsection (b)(1) of this section, a person who commits an offense under subsection (a)(1), (5), (6), or (8) of this section shall upon conviction also be subject to imprisonment for not more than 30 days for the 1st offense, and imprisonment for not more than 90 days for the 2nd and subsequent offenses.

(d) All fines paid for violations of subsection (a) of this section shall be placed in the General Fund of the District of Columbia.


(Sept. 18, 1982, D.C. Law 4-155, § 15, 29 DCR 3491; Mar. 10, 1983, D.C. Law 4-199, § 3, 30 DCR 119; Sept. 27, 1985, D.C. Law 6-38, § 2, 32 DCR 4307; Mar. 4, 1986, D.C. Law 6-96, § 2(m), 32 DCR 7245; Mar. 23, 1995, D.C. Law 10-253, § 103, 42 DCR 721; Sept. 26, 1995, D.C. Law 11-52, § 103, 42 DCR 3684; Apr. 27, 2001, D.C. Law 13-289, § 101(d), 48 DCR 2057; June 8, 2006, D.C. Law 16-117, § 201(c), 53 DCR 2548; Mar. 14, 2007, D.C. Law 16-279, § 204, 54 DCR 903; July 18, 2008, D.C. Law 17-197, § 10(b), 55 DCR 6277; Sept. 14, 2011, D.C. Law 19-21, § 9050(b), 58 DCR 6226; Mar. 13, 2019, D.C. Law 22-239, § 2(b), 66 DCR 597.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 35-2113.

Section References

This section is referenced in § 5-114.02, § 31-2403, § 50-2201.03, and § 50-2302.05.

Effect of Amendments

D.C. Law 13-289 rewrote subsec. (b), par. (2)(A) which had read:

“(2)(A) In addition to being subject to the regulatory scheme established in § 31-2403(d)(2), for a person who commits an offense under subsection (a)(2) of this section a civil fine of $500 for the 1st violation and $1000 for the 2nd and subsequent violations, with applicable penalties and fees, may be imposed pursuant to Chapter 23 of Title 50.”

D.C. Law 16-117, in par. (a)(3) deleted “knowingly” preceding “operates”; repealed par. (a)(4); in par. (a)(7), substituted “an Insurance Identification Card, its equivalent in another state, or other evidence establishing” for “evidence”; added subsec. (a-1), subpars. (b)(1)(B) and (b)(1)(C), and par. (b)(3); and rewrote and designated the existing text of par. (b)(1) as subpar. (b)(1)(A).

D.C. Law 16-279, in subsec. (b)(2)(A), added a sentence to the end of the subparagraph relating to the waiver of all or part of any penalty.

D.C. Law 17-197 added subsec. (d).

D.C. Law 19-21, in subsec. (d), substituted “General Fund of the District of Columbia” for “Motor Vehicle Theft Prevention Fund established by § 3-1356”.

Cross References

Hearing examiners and traffic adjudication, see § 50-2301.04.

Monetary sanctions and traffic adjudication, see § 50-2301.05.

Unauthorized use of motor vehicles, see § 22-3215.

Emergency Legislation

For temporary amendment of section, see § 103 of the Omnibus Budget Support Congressional Review Emergency Act of 1995 (D.C. Act 11-124, July 27, 1995, 42 DCR 4160).

Temporary Legislation

For temporary (225 day) amendment of section, see § 103 of Multiyear Budget Spending Reduction and Support Temporary Act of 1995 (D.C. Law 10-253, March 23, 1995, law notification 42 DCR 1652).