Code of the District of Columbia

Subchapter I. Establishment and Organization.


§ 50–901. Establishment of the Department of Motor Vehicles.

(a) Pursuant to § 1-204.04(b), there is hereby established in the Executive Branch of the government of the District of Columbia a Department of Motor Vehicles (“DMV”).

(b) The Director of the DMV shall have authority over the department and all functions and personnel assigned thereto, including the power to re-delegate to other employees and officials of the department such powers and authority as, in the judgment of the Director is warranted in the interests of efficiency and sound administration.

(c) Notwithstanding any other law, the Director of the DMV may extend the time period for a person, without penalty, to adjudicate or pay a notice of infraction, renew the registration of a vehicle, pass a vehicle inspection, and renew a noncommercial or commercial driver license, provisional permit, or commercial learner permit to account for the closure of the District government or the DMV due to an emergency, an administrative closure, or any other similar closure.


(Mar. 26, 1999, D.C. Law 12-175, § 1822, 45 DCR 7193; Feb. 18, 2017, D.C. Law 21-203, § 2, 63 DCR 15045.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 40-151.

Section References

This section is referenced in § 31-2402 and § 50-2301.02.

Emergency Legislation

For temporary addition of §§ 50-901 to 50-906, see §§ 1422-1427 of the Fiscal Year 1999 Budget Support Emergency Act of 1998 (D.C. Act 12-401, July 13, 1998, 45 DCR 4794), §§ 1422-1427 of the Fiscal Year 1999 Budget Support Congressional Review Emergency Act of 1998 (D.C. Act 12-564, January 12, 1999, 46 DCR 669), and §§ 1422-1427 of the Fiscal Year 1999 Budget Support Congressional Review Emergency Act of 1998 (D.C. Act 13-41, March 31, 1999, 46 DCR 3446).

For temporary (90-day) addition of Chapter 1A, see §§ 1421 to 1427 of the Fiscal Year 1999 Budget Support Congressional Review Emergency Act of 1999 (D.C. Act 13-41, March 31, 1999, 46 DCR 3446).

For temporary (90 day) provisions for budget submission by the Division of Transportation, see § 1603 of Fiscal Year 2002 Budget Support Emergency Act of 2001 (D.C. Act 14-124, August 3, 2001, 48 DCR 7861).

For temporary (90 day) reclassification of positions at the Department of Motor Vehicles, see § 642 of Fiscal Year 2004 Budget Support Emergency Act of 2003 (D.C. Act 15-105, June 20, 2002, 50 DCR 5613).

For temporary (90 day) reclassification of positions at the Department of Motor Vehicles, see § 642 of Fiscal Year 2004 Budget Support Congressional Review Emergency Act of 2003 (D.C. Act 15-149, September 22, 2003, 50 DCR 8360).

Short Title

Short title of subtitle E of title VI of Law 15-39: Section 641 of D.C. Law 15-39 provided that subtitle E of title VI of the act may be cited as the Position Reclassification of Department of Motor Vehicles Staff Amendment Act of 2003.

Editor's Notes

Section 642 of D.C. Law. 15-39 provided: “The Mayor and Director of the Office of Personnel shall complete classification and compensation studies of the positions of motor vehicle inspectors and front-line counter employees at the Department of Motor Vehicles by November 1, 2003.”

Section 1830 of D.C. Law 12-175 provided that this chapter shall apply as of October 1, 1998.

Department of Motor Vehicles Establishment Act of 1988: Section 1821 of D.C. Law 12-175 provided that this chapter may be cited as the “Department of Motor Vehicles Establishment Act of 1998.”

Section 1703 of D.C. Law 14-28, as amended by Mar. 13, 2004, D.C. Law 15-105, § 91, 51 DCR 881, provided:

“Budget submission—Division of Transportation of the Department of Public Works.

“(a) In the budget which the Mayor is required to submit to the Council each year, the Mayor shall provide sufficient revenues or funds for the operation and administration of the Division of Transportation of the Department of Public Works. The budgeted revenues or funds shall not include any funds which have been or will be deposited in the Local Roads Construction and Maintenance Fund pursuant to section 102 of the Highway Trust Fund Establishment Act of 1996, effective April 9, 1997 (D.C. Law 11-184; D.C. Official Code 9-111.01).

“(b) In FY 2002, $28,580,000 in local appropriations shall be used for the operation and administration expenses of the Division of Transportation of the Department of Public Works.

“(c) In FY 2002, not more than $18 million may be taken from the rights-of way fees to be used for operation and administration expenses for the Division of Transportation of the Department of Public Works with all remaining rights-of-way fees dedicated to the fund established by section 102a of Highway Trust Fund Establishment Act of 1996, passed on second reading on June 5, 2001 (Enrolled version of Bill 14-144) [D.C. Official Code § 9-111.01a.]


§ 50–902. Purpose.

The DMV is charged with helping to improve the District of Columbia’s economic competitiveness and quality of life by fostering the safe operation of motor vehicles on District streets in accordance with applicable laws and regulations.


(Mar. 26, 1999, D.C. Law 12-175, § 1823, 45 DCR 7193.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 40-152.

Emergency Legislation

For temporary addition of chapter, see note to § 50-901.

For temporary (90-day) addition of Chapter 1A, see notes following § 50-901.

Editor's Notes

Application of D.C. Law 12-175: See Historical and Statutory Notes following § 50-901.


§ 50–903. Organization.

There is hereby established in the DMV offices and divisions as follows:

(1) The Office of the Director, with subordinate staff offices as are required to carry out overall management responsibility for the office;

(2) Division of Adjudication, with subordinate staff offices as required, to coordinate and manage the functions as follows:

(A) Traffic adjudication hearings;

(B) Traffic adjudication processing; and

(C) Public space adjudication;

(3) Customer Services Division, with such subordinate staff offices as are required, to coordinate and manage the following functions for the District:

(A) Vehicle inspection;

(B) Vehicle registration; and

(C) Driver testing, including medical reviews and insurance compliance; and

(4) Support Services Division, with such subordinate staff offices as are required to coordinate and manage the procurement, financial, technology and administrative functions for the Department of Motor Vehicles, and management of the personal property inventory for the Department of Motor Vehicles.


(Mar. 26, 1999, D.C. Law 12-175, § 1824, 45 DCR 7193; Apr. 12, 2000, D.C. Law 13-91, § 151(a), 47 DCR 520.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 40-153.

Effect of Amendments

D.C. Law 13-91 validated a previously made technical amendment in subsec. (2).

Emergency Legislation

For temporary addition of chapter, see note to § 50-901.

For temporary (90-day) addition of Chapter 1A, see notes following § 50-901.

Editor's Notes

Application of D.C. Law 12-175: See Historical and Statutory Notes following § 50-901.


§ 50–904. Functions.

The primary function of the major organizational components of the DMV are to plan, program, operate, manage, control, and maintain systems, processes, and programs that serve to ensure the safe and efficient movement of people in the operation of motor vehicles within the District of Columbia. The following functional components are included within this framework:

(1) Adjudication functions as follows:

(A) Administer the processes of collecting traffic fines and adjudicating disputes regarding traffic movement or parking movement in the public right-of-way;

(B) Ensure that efficient information and payment processing services are provided to motorists who have been ticketed, booted, or towed;

(C) To process all correspondence relating to contested traffic violations;

(D) Maintain account for the ticket file;

(E) Make determinations on violations which pertain to automobile insurance;

(F) Make determinations on complaints filed against public vehicle operators; and

(G) Make determinations on drivers’ permits, including suspensions and revocations;

(2) Customer service functions as follows:

(A) Title and register new or used motor vehicles and trailers in the District and issue special tags and permits;

(B) Coordinate the issuance of special tags and permits, and to enforce activities relating to automobile dealers and vehicle inspection facilities;

(C) License public vehicle operators;

(D) Provide all services which pertain to the issuance of driver permits and licensing; and

(E) Maintain and administer a traffic record system;

(3) Administrative service functions to provide department wide coordination of administrative services emphasizing human resources, technology and information support, procurement, and fiscal management support services; and

(4) Take enforcement action, including the issuance of fines, for car dealers’ violations of Chapters 4 and 5 of Title 18, DCMR.


(Mar. 26, 1999, D.C. Law 12-175, § 1825, 45 DCR 7193; Apr. 8, 2005, D.C. Law 15-307, § 204, 52 DCR 1700.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 40-154.

Effect of Amendments

D.C. Law 15-307, deleted “and” at the end of par. (2)(E); substituted “: and” for a period at the end of par. (3); and added par. (4).

Emergency Legislation

For temporary addition of chapter, see note to § 50-901.

For temporary (90-day) addition of Chapter 1A, see notes following § 50-901.

Editor's Notes

Application of D.C. Law 12-175: See Historical and Statutory Notes following § 50-901.


§ 50–904.01. Department of Motor Vehicles Kiosk Fund.

*NOTE: This section was created by emergency legislation with identical permanent legislation that will become effective in January, 2022.*

(a) There is established as a special fund the Department of Motor Vehicles Kiosk Fund ("Fund"), which shall be administered by the Mayor in accordance with subsection (c) of this section.

(b) All convenience fees collected from the operation of the Department of Motor Vehicles' self-service kiosks shall be deposited in the Fund.

(c) Money in the Fund shall be used to pay the costs of installing, renting, operating, maintaining, and providing supplies for the Department of Motor Vehicles' self-service kiosks.

(d)(1) The money deposited in the Fund but not expended in a fiscal year shall not revert to the unassigned fund balance of the General Fund of the District of Columbia at the end of a fiscal year, or at any other time.

(2) Subject to authorization in an approved budget and financial plan, any funds appropriated in the Fund shall be continually available without regard to fiscal year limitation.

(e) For the purposes of this section, the term "self-service kiosk" means a hardware device with specialized integrated software that enables users to conduct transactions related to the Department of Motor Vehicles' services without the need for assistance from Department of Motor Vehicles staff.


(Mar. 26, 1999, D.C. Law 12-175, § 1825a; as added Aug. 23, 2021, D.C. Act 24-159, § 6072, 68 DCR 008602.)

Emergency Legislation

For temporary (90 days) creation of this section, see § 6072 of Fiscal Year 2022 Budget Support Emergency Act of 2021 (D.C. Act 24-159, Aug. 23, 2021, 68 DCR 008602).


§ 50–905. Transfers.

(a) All positions, personnel, property, records, and unexpended balances of appropriations, allocations, and other funds available or to be made available to the Department of Public Works for the vehicle and driver licensing, registration, and control functions set out in Reorganization Plan No. 4 of 1983 (part D of subchapter VI of Chapter 15 of Title 1), effective March 1, 1984, are hereby transferred to the Department of Motor Vehicles.

(b) All of the functions assigned, and authorities delegated to the Department of Public Works, with respect to issuing regulations for and administering motor vehicle services, except for parking services functions, as set forth in section III(H) of Reorganization Plan No. 4 of 1983, effective March 1, 1984 (including only vehicle and driver licensing, registration, and control) are hereby transferred to the Department of Motor Vehicles.


(Mar. 26, 1999, D.C. Law 12-175, § 1826, 45 DCR 7193; Apr. 12, 2000, D.C. Law 13-91, § 151(b), 47 DCR 520.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 40-155.

Effect of Amendments

D.C. Law 13-91 validated a previously made technical amendment in subsec. (a).

Emergency Legislation

For temporary addition of chapter, see note to § 50-901.

For temporary (90-day) addition of Chapter 1A, see notes following § 50-901.

Editor's Notes

Application of D.C. Law 12-175: See Historical and Statutory Notes following § 50-901.


§ 50–906. Reorganization.

The Director of the DMV is authorized to organize the personnel and property transferred herein within any organizational unit of the DMV as the Director deems appropriate. Until such establishment, existing orders establishing the components of the pre-existing Department of Public Works remain in force, where they do not conflict with this chapter.


(Mar. 26, 1999, D.C. Law 12-175, § 1827, 45 DCR 7193.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 40-156.

Emergency Legislation

For temporary addition of chapter, see note to § 50-901.

For temporary (90-day) addition of Chapter 1A, see notes following § 50-901.

For temporary (90 days) amendment of D.C. Law 20-127, § 5, see § 7009 of the Fiscal Year 2015 Budget Support Emergency Act of 2014 (D.C. Act 20-377, July 14, 2014, 61 DCR 7598, 20 STAT 3696).

For temporary (90 days) amendment of D.C. Law 20-127, § 5, see § 7009 of the Fiscal Year 2015 Budget Support Congressional Review Emergency Act of 2014 (D.C. Act 20-449, October 10, 2014, 61 DCR 10915, 20 STAT 4188).

For temporary (90 days) amendment of D.C. Law 20-127, § 5, see § 7009 of the Fiscal Year 2015 Budget Support Second Congressional Review Emergency Act of 2014 (D.C. Act 20-566, January 9, 2015, 62 DCR 884, 21 STAT 541).

Editor's Notes

Section 5 of D.C. Law 20-127, as amended by D.C. Law 20-155, § 7009, provided that the act shall apply as of October 1, 2014.

Application of D.C. Law 12-175: See Historical and Statutory Notes following § 50-901.

50-907. Ticket adjudication ombudsman.

(a)There is established within the Department an ombudsman for ticket adjudication, who shall report to the Director.

(b)The Mayor shall establish the qualifications of the ombudsman, which shall include a demonstrated ability through education or experience to analyze issues and matters of law, administration, and policy.

(c)The Mayor shall establish the duties of the ombudsman, including that the ombudsman shall:

(1)Receive complaints and concerns on the law, rules, policies, and procedures regarding the adjudication of moving violations, automated traffic enforcement violations, and parking, standing, stopping, and pedestrian violations;

(2)Respond to complaints and concerns in a timely fashion with accurate and helpful information;

(3)Determine the validity of a complaint quickly and professionally;

(4)Generate options for a response, and offer a recommendation among the options;

(5)Make a referral to appropriate Department staff, when appropriate;

(6)Identify systemic concerns, including those raised by citizens, related to traffic adjudication;

(7)Recommend policy changes, staff training, and strategies to improve traffic adjudication; and

(8)Offer technical and procedural guidance; provided, that the ombudsman shall not render legal advice.

(d)The Ombudsman shall have access to the records and files of the Department as necessary to carry out the ombudsman’s duties and as allowed by federal and local law.

(e)The Ombudsman shall not be held personally liable or be subject to retaliatory action for the good-faith performance of duties, except that no immunity shall extend to criminal acts, or other acts that violate District or federal law.

(Mar. 26, 1999, D.C. Law 12-175, § 1828, as added July 23, 2014, D.C. Law 20-127, § 2, 61 DCR 5711.)