Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Bad day for DC traffic lawyers

The word on the street is that DC (along with a couple of other cities in the Northeast) is phasing out in-person hearings to contest parking tickets. Instead, poor souls who want to contest their tickets will have to settle for mail or email adjudication. I'm sure it's more convenient to be able to send in your complaint by email instead of having to wait for hours in line for an in-person hearing; maybe, given both in-person and mail options, some people would choose to contest unfair tickets not worth the trip to the DMV. But what DC is doing is phasing out the hearings (by December 2008), removing that option completely. And it's probably not entirely for the sake of customer service, either: in 2004, more than a third of those who contested tickets won their cases, which cuts into the revenue the city makes from the tickets. Simple Justice has an interesting comment on the due process implications of the policy - something to watch out for as the change takes effect.

You can read the DMV's FY2008 plan, including this and other changes, here.
For the (limited) news coverage of the change, see here and here.