By on October 5, 2011

The woman in this video ended up in handcuffs and jail in the District of Columbia. Her crime? Her tags had expired. This was last year. And it was no isolated occurrence. To this day, people are routinely thrown into the nation’s capital’s slammer if they forgot to renew their license plate.

Fox News chronicled a list of cases where people went to jail for missing the DMV deadline. In one case, police arrested a mother on her way to pick up her child from school, with her younger child in the car. The arresting officer informed her that the to jail.

The practice attracted the attention of the AAA. “This is ridiculous,” AAA spokesman John Townsend said.

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36 Comments on “DC Follies: Expired Tags? Go To Jail...”

  • avatar

    Talk about a police state!

  • avatar


    Guessing it’s one of those old policies dating back to the Model T that no one ever thought twice about. And there’s not much to go on in a lawsuit because the cop is just enforcing an existing law, no matter how stupid.

    If a council member wants to get some votes, he/she might want to get the law changed. Leaving stuff like that on the books can be dangerous. Lots of states and localities have them.

    Still, the DC police shows its ineptitude yet again.

  • avatar

    This is not just in DC.

    Last May I had to pick up a friend’s kid in Freehold NJ on a Saturday morning, opposite the county jail, while I was waiting two young black girls (not related) were sitting in the parking lot of a convenience store looking for a ride to the train station.

    They had just been relased from county jail, they were locked up over night for not paying DMV fees.

    The corrupt State of NJ took their cars from them and locked them up with no trial!!!.

    They were both driving their parent’s cars.

    ( I took them to the train station)

    Yeah Christie is doing a great job in NJ.

    • 0 avatar

      Bringing Christie into this is stupid. Yeah, let’s give it back to his successors! LOL

      • 0 avatar

        Christie is Governor of NJ – the head of the executive branch of that state – and tasked with enforcing the laws. This has everything to do with how state laws are enforced, and the buck stops with him on this issue, no question about it.

        But yeah, bringing him into the discussion is ‘stupid’.

      • 0 avatar

        By this logic we can blame Obama for running guns into Mexico as well as the recession (depression?). However, something tells me that following your logic to those types of conculsions isn’t a path you would choose to follow.

  • avatar

    It’s no joke. DC is in the business of taking money from motorists. I go there enough to know I should check three times before leaving my car on the street, keep an eye out for speed and red light cameras, and watch out for the country’s worst drivers. I fully expect to be ticketed every time I go there. Last time they got me for 100 for parking 15 minutes too long. And it was 100 only because I got to the car before the tow truck.

    I got your statehood amendment right here, DC Council Chair Kwame Brown.

    • 0 avatar

      I’ve had the opposite. I drive to DC most weekends, always driving faster than the speed limit and sometimes parking im alleys where there’s no parking, and i’ve nevr gotten a ticket. (knock on wood)

  • avatar

    If only she worked for the justice dept; nothing they do seems to be illegal these days (gun rummer).

  • avatar

    I lived there for three years and nothing surprising me any more. Try as I may, I still ended up paying a small fortune in parking fines. The worst of it came when they booted my leased car because the owner (Honda Finance Corporation) had unpaid parking fines. I should feel lucky I was never jailed.

    • 0 avatar

      That is truly incredible talk about a license to steal. I though that was the reason that titles are issued with a legal owner and a registered owner. Going purely on the legal owner means they could probably boot thousands of cars. You just need one @$$ from each of the major mfg’s captive finance arm or any other big time lender to be able to hold thousands of innocent owners hostange,that had the misfortune to use the same lender or lessor. Revenue enhancement at its finest.

  • avatar

    The problem with DC is that, aside from the federal government which runs the monuments and the swanky areas within the city, the city is run by losers who are basically unemployable. The city cultivates people like this. What else would you expect from a city where, in the 90s, the mayor was filmed and arrested for buying crack from a prostitute. Remember the statement “The Bitch Set Me Up!” ? Then the dull-normal citizens re-elected him as mayor after he was released from jail! Still today, this loser pimp sits on the city council. Which underscores the entire problem with Washington DC.

  • avatar

    I can see DC from my apartment in Virginia. I can literally walk to DC from where I work (one of those bizarre mapping issues where DC owns tidal lands in Virginia). Having come from NJ, I can tell you I go into DC by car as little as humanly possible. It’s open season on motorists. I actually drive around DC now to get to I-95 because of how predatory they’ve become.

    The ‘locals’ say I shouldn’t complain about the privilege of being in DC. Which I shall take to heart and continue spending my money in Virginia and Maryland instead of DC.

  • avatar

    One thing I noticed about this news report is that they only minutely touched upon the period of time required to warrant an arrest. And the ambiguous reference to “a long time” was only made after minutes of pitiful dramatization and fear-mongering.

    In Maine a similar law exists. You can be arrested if your tags are expired for over 150 days.

    Nobody forgets to register their vehicle for five straight months! You can’t push your luck for that long and expect nothing to happen. And, frankly, it didn’t really sound that bad: She got a ride in a cruiser, then she spent an hour or two in a holding cell while the bureaucracy went to work, then they sent her on her way. What a nightmare!!

    News flash, unregistered vehicles are illegal.

    • 0 avatar

      Uh, no. Driving a car with expired registration is a violation, but just owning an unregistered car is not (at least in my state). And there are plenty of legitimate reasons why a car might not be registered for months at a time. It’s being rebuilt, it’s been in storage, the owner’s out of town on a long term work assignment, etc. One should of course be careful to make the car legal before driving it again, but this is a ticket offence. Jail? Bullshit.

    • 0 avatar

      Heh. I’m guessing she won’t ‘forget’ again. Justice served in my opinion.

  • avatar

    Stuff like this is happening all over. In Philly, the issue is the police calling in a tow truck and leaving the driver and passengers wherever they were pulled over, regardless whether it is safe there or they have a way to get somewhere. This is why I pitched a fit a couple weeks ago in Philly when I realized a couple days into a rental that the car had an expired tag. OK, I didn’t notice it when I picked up the car, but should the rental customer have to check whether the tags are current? I brought it back and they gave me another car. I carefully checked that the Massachusetts tag was current. The next morning I realized that the safety inspection sticker (on the passenger side of the windshield, hence I didn’t look for it right away) was expired.

    • 0 avatar
      Rental Man

      Registration is Federal, Inspection is state. So as long as you had paid your registration anywhere online, you are good. Inspection cannot be done unless the vehicle returned to its original registration state. It is a federal offence to drive an unregistered car. However, only the state issuing the inspection can actually ticket you for not having inspection. When I worked for a major rental company most of the vehicles with expired registrations had a Stop Rent in the computerized system that you could not override. If a customer on a multi month rental needed to extend his rental he would be asked to exchange the car at the nearest location. That location would ground the car and have the registration overnighted. Out of state Inspection however cannot be done. If you had a car that arrived on a one way from across the country locations kept it and sometimes tried sending it in the correct direction. That is if that magical moment where a customer going on a one way needing a similarly sized car arrived when this car happened to be on your lot. Most of the time it did not make any difference as there was no chance a customer could get pulled over or ticketed for that.
      So Mr. Madhungarion, unless you drove the 2nd car you got in Philly to Boston, MA you should have no trouble… If you did the rental company would pay the fix-it ticket.

      • 0 avatar

        Exactly; that was why I did not turn in the second car. However, the first car had PA tags so I was definitely lucky I did not attract the attention of some overzealous Philly cop.

  • avatar

    So pay the rego fee stop moaning.

  • avatar

    How the heck do people expect to be treated, in the capital of the world’s #1 police state?

    • 0 avatar

      How the heck should we know how people expect to be treated in the capital of the world’s #1 police state? This article was about Washington, DC, not Pyongyang!

      I don’t think the words “police state” mean what you think that they mean…

      • 0 avatar

        In DC you get hauled into jail, by police, for not paying X dollars for tags deemed appropriate by the oppressors.

        In Pyongyang, you pay a fraction of X worth of Marlboro cigarettes for the same “offense” to their police, and you’re free to go.

  • avatar

    How does one “forget” to renew their tags? Is it done yearly on a specific date? First of the month? Here in Canada, your tags have to be renewed every year on your birthday. You’d have to be an idiot to “forget”.

    I noted she was blond…maybe that had something to do with it??

  • avatar
    Darth Lefty

    DC Follies! Boy, that takes me back. I remember one where Reagan was following the instructions of his voice features in his limo and it turned out to be Gorbachev.

  • avatar

    In every state I’ve lived in from Utah, Washington, California, Nevada… they all will both impound your car and arrest you if you go over 30 days. She had 3 months!

    • 0 avatar

      Regarding CA you dont have a clue. The worst thing that will happen in CA with expired registration is a ticket, and thats only if you were pulled over for a moving violation, tinted windows, or got cited for a parking violation. While its true that the police can legally arrest and impound they never do so.

  • avatar

    I live in DC. I have lived here for a ver long time. In fact I am one of the rare 5th generation types. I have never received a ticket in DC. The police here are often under staffed and not to worried about traffic issues, they have much bigger problems to deal with. Ifsomeone goes to jail for expired tags I am willing to bet that is an anomaly not the norm.

    • 0 avatar

      Portico – I’m no longer a resident of NoVA, but lived in the area for many years and agree with you and DC Bruce (below)…

      There are some red light/speed cameras, but they are so prominent that a driver would practically have to have her or his eyes closed to miss them.

      And after having lived in a number of metropolitan areas in the East, I’d say (unscientifically) that I saw far fewer people pulled over for “whatever” around DC than I do *routinely* by the NH state troopers north of Boston…

  • avatar

    What better way for a chickenshit department to give the impression that they’re actually on the job? Those real criminals out there are, you know, dangerous. It’s a whole lot safer to go after middle class out-of-state women.

  • avatar

    Good to know that the Violent Crime rate in DC is so close to non-existent that the police have to find ways, like this, to spend their time.

  • avatar
    Mark MacInnis

    You had me at “The woman in this video ended up in handcuffs…”

  • avatar
    DC Bruce

    Well it’s always fun to pick on The Capital of the Free World . . . ever since Richard Nixon started doing it in 1968. I’ve been a resident for 15 years and have worked here for 33. To be sure, the parking enforcement is aggressive and the fines are high . . . although I recall one time when I was in college (1969) and my buddy’s TR-4 was towed in Manhattan for an expired parking meter. That cost us $100, which was a lot of money in 1969!

    People routinely yap on cellphones while driving here, yet almost never get popped. Yes, there are a few red light cameras, prominently displayed at intersections that do not have short yellows. I got popped by one about 8 years ago, because I was following behind a big truck at slow speed in a little sportscar and could not see that the light had turned.

    If you want something really obnoxious, look to the DC suburb of Chevy Chase village, where you can’t touch a house for less than $1M. There’s a major street running through their “village” (30 mph) limit that routinely flashes people going even 1 or 2 mph over the limit. According to AAA, nearly half of the Village’s budget revenue comes from that speed camera . . . as if those poor starving taxpayers need the money!

  • avatar

    Her 2nd problem was she’s not too bad to look at. Far too many ugly people in jail. Third, she was driving an SUV that most cops can’t afford. Everyday I spot cars driving around with ’09/’10 stickers with one thing in common… crappy cars that no one will pay the impound/storage fees on. Guess what, cops ignore them as they’re more of a liability than anything and so are their no account, no job, non tax paying drivers. No one wants or needs either of them in the system. States are in too much trouble to be feeding/housing/bathing the poor and ugly for petty ‘crimes’.

  • avatar

    Another example of statal officials preying on the populace. To Gove employees and officials we are the vast herd to be fleeced and controlled. No wonder there is such a populius baclash against gov, and no wonder those who work for government 1/3 of the population, fight so hard to defend it.

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