Code of the District of Columbia

Subchapter I. General Provisions.


§ 50–1501.01. Definitions.

As used in this subchapter:

(1) The term “motor vehicle” means a vehicle propelled by an internal- combustion engine, electricity, or steam. The term “motor vehicle” shall not include a traction engine, road roller, vehicle propelled only upon rails or tracks, personal assistive mobility device, as defined by § 50-2201.02(12), a battery-operated wheelchair when operated by a person with a disability, or a motorized bicycle.

(2) The term “person” means an individual, partnership, corporation, or association.

(3) The term “owner” means a person who holds the legal title to a motor vehicle or trailer the registration of which is required in the District of Columbia. If a vehicle is the subject of an agreement for the conditional sale or lease thereof with the right of purchase upon performance of the condition stated in the agreement and with an immediate right of possession vested in the conditional vendee or lessee, or if a mortgagor of a vehicle is entitled to possession, then such conditional vendee or lessee or mortgagor shall be deemed the owner for the purpose of these regulations.

(4) The term “Director” means the Director of the Department of Transportation of the District of Columbia, including assistants or agents duly designated by the Mayor.

(5) The term “dealer” means any person engaged in the business of manufacturing, distributing, or dealing in motor vehicles or trailers.

(6) The term “public highway” means any road, street, alley, or way, open to use of the public, as a matter of right, for purposes of vehicular traffic.

(7) The term “trailer” means a vehicle without motor power intended or used for carrying property or persons and drawn or intended to be drawn by a motor vehicle, whether such vehicle without motor power carries the weight of the property or persons wholly on its own structure or whether a part of such weight rests upon or is carried by a motor vehicle.

(8) The term “farm tractor” means a motor vehicle designed and used primarily for drawing implements of agricultural husbandry.

(9) The term “pneumatic tire” means a tire inflated with compressed air.

(10) The terms “operate” and “operated” shall include operating, moving, standing, or parking any motor vehicle or trailer on a public highway of the District of Columbia.

(10A) The term “class F(I) historic motor vehicle” means any motor vehicle whose manufacturer’s model year is at least 25 years old or any motor vehicle which is at least 15 years old and is a make of motor vehicle no longer manufactured; provided, that the motor vehicle has been or is being restored, preserved, or maintained as an exhibition or collector’s item because of its special historical value or significance, has not been substantially altered or modified from the manufacturer’s original specifications and is used on the public highways for the transportation of passengers or property for occasional pleasure driving or in conjunction with exhibitions, expositions, parades, tours, club activities, or similar activities or events, including transportation directly to or from such activities or events, not exceeding a total driving mileage under all conditions of 1,000 miles annually, but in no event used for general transportation. Motor vehicles which are less than 25 years old but which are 15 or more years old and which qualify as historic motor vehicles shall include the following makes, which are no longer manufactured: Kaiser, Hudson, DeSoto, Nash, Edsel, Studebaker and Packard.

(11) The term “class F(II) historic motor vehicle” means any motor vehicle whose manufacturer’s model year is at least 25 years old or any motor which is at least 15 years old and is a make of motor vehicle no longer manufactured; provided, that the motor vehicle has been or is being restored, preserved or maintained as an exhibition or collector’s item because of its special historical value or significance, has not been substantially altered or modified from the manufacturer’s original specifications and is used on the public highways for the transportation of passengers or property in conjunction with exhibitions, expositions, parades, tours, club activities, or similar activities or events, including transportation directly to or from such activities or events, but in no event used for general transportation. Motor vehicles which are less than 25 years old but which are 15 or more years old and which qualify as historic motor vehicles shall include but not be limited to the following makes which are no longer manufactured: Kaiser, Hudson, DeSoto, Nash, Edsel, Studebaker and Packard.

(12) “Electric vehicle” shall have the same meaning as provided in section 3(4) of the Electric and Hybrid Vehicle Research, Development, and Demonstration Act of 1976, approved September 17, 1976 (90 Stat. 1261; 15 U.S.C. § 2502(4)).


(Aug. 17, 1937, 50 Stat. 679, ch. 690, title IV, § 1; Sept. 8, 1950, 64 Stat. 791, ch. 921, §§ 1, 2; Feb. 25, 1978, D.C. Law 2-41, § 2, 24 DCR 3629; Mar. 15, 1985, D.C. Law 5-176, § 11, 32 DCR 748; Mar. 26, 1999, D.C. Law 12-184, § 3(a), 45 DCR 7796; Mar. 25, 2003, D.C. Law 14-235, § 7, 49 DCR 9788; Mar. 13, 2004, D.C. Law 15-105, § 90(a), 51 DCR 881; Mar. 6, 2007, D.C. Law 16-224, § 206, 53 DCR 10225; Mar. 20, 2009, D.C. Law 17-315, § 2(a), 56 DCR 203; Mar. 19, 2013, D.C. Law 19-252, § 102(a), 59 DCR 14932; Apr. 27, 2013, D.C. Law 19-290, § 6(a), 60 DCR 2343.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 40-101.

1973 Ed., § 40-101.

Section References

This section is referenced in § 3-1351, § 50-702, and § 50-1501.03.

Effect of Amendments

D.C. Law 14-235 rewrote par. (1) which had read as follows: “(1) The term ‘motor vehicle’ means any vehicle propelled by an internal combustion engine, electricity, or steam, including any non-operational vehicle that is being restored or repaired. The term ‘motor vehicle’ shall not include road rollers, farm tractors, vehicles propelled only upon stationary rails or tracks, and battery-operated wheelchairs when operated by a handicapped person at speeds not exceeding 10 miles per hour.”

D.C. Law 15-105, in par. (1), validated a previously made technical correction.

D.C. Law 16-224, in par. (1), revived the provisions of D.C. Law 14-235 that expired on October 1, 2005, and substituted “personal mobility devices, as defined by § 50-2201.02(12), or a battery-operated wheelchair when operated by a person with a disability” for “electric personal assistive mobility devices, as defined by § 50-2201.02(12), and battery-operated wheelchairs when operated by a handicapped person at speeds not exceeding 10 miles per hour”.

D.C. Law 17-315 added par. (10A); and, in par. (11), substituted “class F(II) historic motor vehicle” for “historic motor vehicle”.

The 2013 amendment by D.C. Law 19-252 added (12).

The 2013 amendment by D.C. Law 19-290 rewrote (1).

Cross References

Alternative fuels technology, “motor vehicle” defined, see § 50-702.

Department of Transportation, powers and duties, see § 50-703.

Taxation of personal property, exemption for motor vehicles and trailers, see § 47-1508.

Expiration of Law

Expiration of Law 14-235

Section 14 of D.C. Law 14-235 provided that the act shall expire on October 1, 2005.

Emergency Legislation

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 202(1) of Prohibition on the Reckless Operation of Recreational Motor Vehicles Emergency Act of 2004 (D.C. Act 15-462, June 23, 2004, 51 DCR 6750).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 7 of Motor Vehicle Definition Electric Personal Assistive Mobility Device Exemption Emergency Amendment Act of 2005 (D.C. Act 16-237, December 22, 2005, 53 DCR 249).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 7 of Motor Vehicle Definition Electric Personal Assistive Mobility Device Exemption Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 2006 (D.C. Act 16-323, March 23, 2006, 53 DCR 2567).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 206 of Personal Mobility Device Emergency Amendment Act of 2006 (D.C. Act 16-528, December 4, 2006, 53 DCR 9826).

For temporary (90 day) addition, see § 6101 of Fiscal Year 2010 Budget Support Second Emergency Act of 2009 (D.C. Act 18-207, October 15, 2009, 56 DCR 8234).

Temporary Legislation

For temporary (225 day) amendment of section, see § 7 of Motor Vehicle Definition Electric Personal Assistive Mobility Device Exemption Temporary Amendment Act of 2006 (D.C. Law 16-85, April 4, 2006, law notification 53 DCR 3344).

For temporary (225 day) amendment of section, see § 2(a) of Non-Resident Taxi Drivers Registration Temporary Amendment Act of 2007 (D.C. Law 17-29, October 18, 2007, law notification 54 DCR 10699).

Editor's Notes

Department of Vehicles and Traffic abolished: See Historical and Statutory Notes following § 50-2201.03.

Section 301 of D.C. Law 19-252 provided that the Mayor shall issue rules to implement the provisions of the act within 180 days of its effective date [Mar. 19, 2013].


§ 50–1501.02. Motor vehicles and trailers; expiration; certificates and tags; sale or transfer; Mayor to issue rules.

(a) Except as provided by § 50-1401.02, any motor vehicle or trailer operated in the District of Columbia shall be registered with the Department of Transportation by the owner of that motor vehicle or trailer.

(b)(1) Except as provided in subsections (d) and (e) of this section, a registration shall be valid for a period determined by the Mayor and shall expire at midnight of the last day of the designated period. During the 30-day period immediately preceding the date, as specified by the Mayor, on which registration expires, it shall be lawful to operate a motor vehicle or trailer registered for the ensuing registration year.

(2) The Mayor shall notify an owner of the expiration date of the owner’s motor vehicle or trailer registration. The required notice shall be mailed to the named owner at the address of record at least 30 days prior to the date of expiration. If the Director does not deliver the notice as required, the first of any tickets issued for failure to display current registration for that registration period may be dismissed through mail or in-person adjudication.

(c) The Mayor shall issue a registration certificate and identification tag or tags for a motor vehicle or trailer to the owner of the motor vehicle or trailer, if the owner:

(1) Has applied for registration on a form supplied by the Mayor;

(2) Has paid all applicable fines, fees, and taxes for the motor vehicle or trailer pursuant to § 50-2301.05;

(3) Has a valid certificate of title in effect for the motor vehicle or trailer;

(4) Has a valid document issued by the District of Columbia attesting that the vehicle meets applicable District of Columbia vehicle inspection standards as of the date of the application; and

(5)(A) Is domiciled in the District of Columbia; except that the person need not be domiciled in the District of Columbia if:

(i)(I) The owner is a leasing company and the lessee is not domiciled in the District of Columbia;

(II) The vehicle is housed in the District of Columbia;

(III) The vehicle is provided to an employee of the lessee for the employee’s use;

(IV) The employee is domiciled in the District of Columbia; and

(V) The owner submits an affidavit affirming compliance with this paragraph and agreeing that the address on the registration certificate and in the Department of Motor Vehicles’ records shall be the address of the operator and that the employee’s address shall be considered the owner’s address for the purpose of sending any notices required by any statute or regulation for that vehicle.

(ii) The owner is a member of Congress and has a District of Columbia residence;

(iii) The owner is a lessor and the vehicle is leased to a person domiciled in the District of Columbia; or

(iv) The owner meets the requirements set forth in subparagraph (B) of this paragraph.

(B) An owner of a vehicle need not be a resident of the District if:

(i) The owner is an individual who holds a valid license to operate a taxicab or limousine within the District of Columbia;

(ii) The owner held a valid license to operate a taxicab or limousine within the District of Columbia at some point during the 5 years prior to the owner’s first attempt to register a vehicle under this subparagraph; provided, that the license to operate a taxicab or limousine shall have been first issued no later than March 1, 2006;

(iii) The owner resided outside the District of Columbia on March 1, 2006;

(iv) The owner had registered a vehicle with the Department of Motor Vehicles on or before March 1, 2006, while residing outside the District of Columbia;

(v) The owner has no other vehicle currently registered within the District of Columbia;

(vi) The owner is registering the vehicle for use as a taxicab or limousine within the District of Columbia; and

(vii) The owner of the vehicle has, no later than September 28 of the year prior to first registering a vehicle under this subparagraph, registered with the Office of Tax and Revenue for business taxes by completing a tax registration form; provided, that:

(I) The owner of the vehicle shall be permitted to register the vehicle for the 2007 year without having to undergo Clean Hands certification pursuant to §§ 47-2862 and 47-2863; and

(II) The owner of the vehicle must meet the franchise tax filing and payment requirements as set forth in §§ 47-1805.02, 47-1807.02, and 47-1808.03 on a prospective basis for the 2007 year and subsequent years.

(d)(1) The Mayor shall issue annually, upon payment by a dealer of all applicable fees and taxes, dealer’s registration certificates and identification tags bearing a distinguishing dealer’s mark or symbol for the interchangeable use on motor vehicles and trailers;

(2) The Mayor shall issue, without charge, registration certificates and identification tags for all motor vehicles and trailers owned by the District of Columbia and the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority;

(2A) The Mayor, through the issuance of rules, shall permit the use of vintage license plates on historic motor vehicles in place of historic motor vehicle license plates, provided that the plate is legible and corresponds to the year of the vehicle’s make. The owner, through approval and registration of the vintage license plates, shall have the same rights, privileges, and obligations as if he or she had purchased new historic motor vehicle license plates. The rules promulgated pursuant to this paragraph, shall be issued no later than 90 days from March 26, 1999. The Mayor may impose a reasonable fee to carry out the provisions of this paragraph.

(3) The Mayor shall issue, without charge, registration certificates and identification tags for all motor vehicles and trailers officially used by any accredited representative of a foreign government;

(4)(A) The Mayor shall issue a duplicate registration certificate or identification tag or tags for any motor vehicle or trailer which is registered, upon proof satisfactory to the Mayor of the loss, mutilation, or destruction of the previously issued registration certificate or identification tags;

(B) The Mayor shall issue a dealer’s proof of ownership certificate to any dealer upon application and upon proof of ownership as the Mayor may require; and

(C) A fee of $20 shall be paid for each duplicate registration certificate issued, a fee of $10 shall be paid for each replacement tag issued, and a fee of $26 shall be for each dealer’s proof of ownership certificate issued;

(5)(A) The Mayor shall issue, for a temporary period not to exceed 45 days, a special use certificate and special use identification tags bearing a distinguishing mark to the owner of a motor vehicle or trailer upon payment of the fee of $13;

(B) The Mayor shall issue a special use certificate and special use identification tags bearing a distinguishing mark to the owner of a motor vehicle or trailer, for the exclusive purpose of allowing that person to comply with the requirements of Chapter 11 of this title, upon payment of a fee of $13; and

(C) The issuance of a special use certificate and special use identification tags under this subsection shall not constitute a registration of a motor vehicle or trailer for any other purposes than herein provided.

(e)(1) Except as otherwise provided in this subsection, any registration shall expire upon the sale or other transfer of the motor vehicle or trailer to another owner;

(2) Any owner selling or otherwise transferring a motor vehicle or trailer may apply the unexpired portion of the existing registration to another motor vehicle or trailer belonging to that owner, upon payment of a fee of $7 plus any amount by which the registration fee for the newly registered motor vehicle or trailer, as computed under § 50-1501.03, exceeds the original registration fee paid;

(3) In the case of a joint ownership, the unexpired portion of the existing registration may be applied to another motor vehicle or trailer by any person who was formerly a party to the joint ownership upon the consent of all the former joint owners;

(4) The name of a spouse or domestic partner as defined in § 32-701(3) may be added as joint owner to the registration of a motor vehicle or trailer, subject to the applicable provisions of law relating to the titling of motor vehicles and trailers; and

(5) Upon the death of a joint owner of a motor vehicle or trailer registered under this subchapter, the registration shall be transferred to the surviving joint owners upon the payment of a fee of $7.

(6) Repealed.

(f) In order to facilitate the identification and the regulation of motor vehicles and trailers operated in the District of Columbia the Mayor shall establish:

(1) The application forms for registrations and for special use certificates;

(2) The forms of registration certificates and special use certificates;

(3) The design of identification tags; and

(4) A program for keeping records of registration, issuance of special use certificates, and transfers of registrations.

(f-1)(1) Identification tags designed pursuant to subsection (f)(3) of this section, not including identification tags for vehicles for-hire, motor vehicles bearing organization plates, motorcycles, or autocycles, shall display the phrase "End Taxation Without Representation".

(2) An individual who does not wish to display the phrase "End Taxation Without Representation" on his or her identification tag may request an identification tag featuring an alternate design, to be supplied by the Department of Motor Vehicles.

(g) The Mayor shall issue rules:

(1) To implement this subchapter;

(2) To provide for the suspension or revocation of any registration issued to an owner or dealer who has violated any provision of this subchapter or Title 18, Chapters 4 and 5, DCMR, or who knowingly provides or obtains a counterfeit, stolen, or otherwise fraudulent temporary identification tag; and

(3)(A) To establish procedures for the immobilization or impoundment of a motor vehicle or trailer for which the registration has been suspended or revoked or which is not properly registered in accordance with this subchapter and Title 18, Chapters 4 and 5, DCMR; and

(B) To establish procedures for the recovery or removal of any registration certificate or identification tags issued under this subchapter and Title 18, Chapters 4 and 5, DCMR, from a motor vehicle or trailer for which the registration has been suspended or revoked or which is not properly registered in accordance with this subchapter and Title 18, Chapters 4 and 5, DCMR;

(C) To establish procedures for the seizure and forfeiture of a motor vehicle used with a counterfeit, stolen, or otherwise fraudulent temporary identification tag.

(h) The Mayor may amend Chapters 4 and 5 of Title 18 of the District of Columbia Municipal Regulations (“DCMR”) and may establish dealer registration eligibility requirements that are more stringent than the business licensing requirements in Title 16 of the DMCR; provided, that the proposed rules shall be submitted to the Council for a 45-day period of review, excluding Saturdays, Sundays, holidays, and days of Council recess. If the Council does not disapprove the proposed rules by resolution, within the 45-day review period, the proposed rules shall be deemed approved. The Council may approve or disapprove the proposed rules by resolution prior to the expiration of the 45-day review period.”.

(i) A dealer violating any provision of Chapters 4 or 5 of Title 18, DCMR, shall be subject to a fine of up to $1000. Notices of infractions shall be issued by the Mayor and adjudicated by the Department of Motor Vehicles, pursuant to Chapter 10 of Title 18, DCMR, and subject to following provisions:

(1) A notice of infraction shall be mailed to the dealer’s address on record at the Department of Motor Vehicles, personally served on the dealer, or left with an employee at the dealer’s place of business.

(2) A person to whom a notice of infraction has been issued must answer by either requesting a hearing or by paying the fine due within 30 calendar days of the date of receipt of the notice of infraction.

(3) If a person fails to answer the notice within the 30-day period, the person’s dealer registration may be suspended until the person pays the fine amount due.

(4) An infraction pursuant to this subsection shall be established by the government by a preponderance of evidence.

(j) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, any bus from any state or country used in the transportation of a chartered party, as that term is used in the International Registration Plan, with a seating capacity of greater than 15 passengers shall, prior to entering the District of Columbia, either:

(1) Register as a Class B commercial vehicle under § 50-1501.03(b)(2);

(2) Obtain proportional registration in its base jurisdiction through the International Registration Plan, as provided by § 50-1507.03; or

(3) Obtain a trip permit, as provided by § 50-1507.03.

(k) The Department of Motor Vehicles shall, upon request, provide to the electric company a registered owner’s address, zip code, and make and model of electric vehicles registered in the District. This information shall be transferred to the electric company for use in planning for the availability and reliability of the electric power supply upon a vehicle being registered with the Department of Motor Vehicles; provided, that the electric company shall not publish or re-disclose to any persons, including affiliates of the electric company, information about the registered electric vehicle owner, nor can the transferred information be used for any purpose except as set forth in this section.


(Aug. 17, 1937, 50 Stat. 680, ch. 690, title IV, § 2; May 16, 1938, 52 Stat. 359, ch. 223, § 4; July 17, 1939, 53 Stat. 1045, ch. 313, § 1; Sept. 8, 1950, 64 Stat. 792, ch. 921, § 3; May 18, 1954, 68 Stat. 111, ch. 218, title VII, § 601; Apr. 6, 1956, 70 Stat. 102, ch. 182, § 1; July 3, 1967, 81 Stat. 108, Pub. L. 90-43, § 1; Oct. 31, 1969, 83 Stat. 173, Pub. L. 91-106, title IV, § 401; Aug. 11, 1971, 85 Stat. 314, Pub. L. 92-88, § 6; Apr. 7, 1977, D.C. Law 1-112, § 2, 23 DCR 8741; Apr. 26, 1977, D.C. Law 1-133, title III,§ 301, 23 DCR 9697; June 24, 1980, D.C. Law 3-72, § 205, 27 DCR 2155; Apr. 3, 1982, D.C. Law 4-97, § 2, 29 DCR 765; Mar. 10, 1983, D.C. Law 4-206, § 3, 30 DCR 193; Oct. 5, 1985, D.C. Law 6-49, § 2, 32 DCR 4585; Nov. 19, 1985, D.C. Law 6-54, § 2, 32 DCR 5713; Aug. 17, 1991, D.C. Law 9-30, § 2(a), 38 DCR 4215; Apr. 26, 1994, D.C. Law 10-106, § 3, 41 DCR 1014; Mar. 26, 1999, D.C. Law 12-184, § 3(b), 45 DCR 7796; Apr. 27, 2001, D.C. Law 13-289, § 201, 48 DCR 2057; June 5, 2003, D.C. Law 14-307, § 1705(a), 49 DCR 11664; Sept. 8, 2004, D.C. Law 15-176, § 6, 51 DCR 5707; Apr. 5, 2005, D.C. Law 15-287, § 2(a), 52 DCR 1437; Apr. 8, 2005, D.C. Law 15-307, §§ 203, 401(a), 701, 52 DCR 1700; Mar. 14, 2007, D.C. Law 16-279, § 403(a), 54 DCR 903; Mar. 26, 2008, D.C. Law 17-130, § 2(a), 55 DCR 1655; Sept. 14, 2011, D.C. Law 19-21, § 6003, 58 DCR 6226; Mar. 19, 2013, D.C. Law 19-244, § 3, 59 DCR 14942; Mar. 19, 2013, D.C. Law 19-252, § 102(b), 59 DCR 14932; Apr. 15, 2017, D.C. Law 21-279, § 2(a), 64 DCR 966; Jan. 25, 2018, D.C. Law 22-48, § 3, 64 DCR 12405.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 40-102.

1973 Ed., § 40-102.

Section References

This section is referenced in § 20-357, § 47-2001, § 47-2829, § 47-2862, § 50-1401.02, § 50-1501.02a, § 50-1501.03, § 50-1503.01, and § 50-2201.03.

Effect of Amendments

D.C. Law 13-289, in subsec. (c), rewrote par. (2), deleted “and” at the end of par. (3), substituted “; and” for the period at the end of par. (4), and added par. (5); and rewrote subsec. (d), par. (2). Subsec. (c), par. (2) and subsec. (d), par. (2) had read:

“(2) Has paid all applicable fines, fees, and taxes for the motor vehicle or trailer;”

“(2) The Mayor shall issue, without charge, registration certificates and identification tags for all motor vehicles and trailers owned by the United States, the District of Columbia, and the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority;”

D.C. Law 14-307, in subsec. (d), rewrote par. (4)(C), and substituted “$13” for “$10” in both pars. (5)(A) and (5)(B). Prior to amendment, par. (4)(C) of subsec. (d) had read as follows: “(C) A fee of $5 shall be paid for each duplicate registration certificate issued, a fee of $5 shall be paid for each replacement tag issued, and a fee of $15 shall be paid for each dealer’s proof of ownership certificate issued; and”

D.C. Law 15-176, in par. (4) of subsec. (e), substituted “spouse, or domestic partner as defined in § 32-701(3),” for “spouse”.

D.C. Law 15-307, in subsec. (b), designated the existing text as par. (1), and added par. (2); rewrote subsec. (c)(5); in subsec. (d)(5)(A), substituted “45” for “30”; in subsec. (g), substituted “DCMR, or who knowingly provides or obtains a counterfeit, stolen, or otherwise fraudulent temporary identification tag; and” for “DCMR; and” in par. (2), and added subpar. (C) in par. (3); and added subsecs. (h) and (i). Prior to amendment, subsec. (c)(5) read as follows: “(5) Is domiciled in the District of Columbia.”

D.C. Law 16-279, in subsec. (d)(4)(C), increased the dealer’s proof of ownership certificate fee from $15 to $26; in subsec. (e), increased fees from $5 to $7; and added subsec. (j).

D.C. Law 17-130 rewrote subsec. (c)(5).

D.C. Law 19-21, in subsec. (d)(4)(C), substituted “$20” for “$7”.

The 2013 amendment by D.C. Law 19-244 rewrote (c)(5)(A)(i)(I); and substituted “lessee” for “owner” in (c)(5)(A)(i)(III).

The 2013 amendment by D.C. Law 19-252 added (k).

Cross References

Administration of decedents’ estates, transfer of title to motor vehicles, see § 20-357.

Automobile consumer protection, registration of title, odometer readings, see § 50-506.

Certificates of title for motor vehicles and trailers, excise taxes, see § 50-2201.03.

Gross sales tax, “retail sale” and “sale at retail” defined, parking sales tax exemption cards, see § 47-2001.

Motor vehicle operators’ permits, exemption of nonresidents from this section, see § 50-1401.02.

Regulation of traffic, power to promulgate regulations, see § 50-2201.03.

Taxation of personal property, exemption for motor vehicles and trailers, see § 47-1508.

Emergency Legislation

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see §§ 2 and 4 of Motor Vehicle Registration and Operator’s Permit Issuance Enhancement Emergency Amendment Act of 2002 (D.C. Act 14-413, July 16, 2002, 49 DCR 7378).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section and establishment of adjudication process, see §§ 2 and 4 of Motor Vehicle Registration and Operator’s Permit issuance Enhancement Congressional Review Emergency Act of 2002 (D.C. Act 14-540, December 2, 2002, 49 DCR 11657).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 1705(a) of Fiscal Year 2003 Budget Support Amendment Emergency Act of 2002(D.C. Act 14-544, December 4, 2002, 49 DCR 11700).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 2 of Motor Vehicle Registration and Operator’s Permit Issuance Enhancement Second Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 2002 (D.C. Act 14-601, January 7, 2003, 50 DCR 681).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 1705(a) of the Fiscal Year 2003 Budget Support Amendment Congressional Review Emergency Act of 2003 (D.C. Act 15-27, February 24, 2003, 50 DCR 2151).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 1705(a) of Fiscal Year 2003 Budget Support Amendment Second Congressional Review Emergency Act of 2003 (D.C. Act 15-103, June 20, 2003, 50 DCR 5499).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 2(a) of Use of Fraudulent Temporary Identification Tags and Automobile Forfeiture Emergency Amendment Act of 2004 (D.C. Act 15-424, May 10, 2004, 51 DCR 5185).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 202(2) of Prohibition on the Reckless Operation of Recreational Motor Vehicles Emergency Act of 2004 (D.C. Act 15-462, June 23, 2004, 51 DCR 6750).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 2(a) of Use of Fraudulent Temporary Identification Tags and Automobile Forfeiture Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 2004 (D.C. Act 15-518, August 2, 2004, 51 DCR 8992).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see §§ 2(a) and 4 of Non-Resident Taxi Drivers Registration Emergency Amendment Act of 2007 (D.C. Act 17-58, June 21, 2007, 54 DCR 6599).

For temporary (90 day) addition of section, see § 518 of Public Safety Legislation Sixty-Day Layover Emergency Amendment Act of 2010 (D.C. Act 18-693, January 18, 2011, 58 DCR 640).

For temporary (90 day) addition of section, see § 518 of Public Safety Legislation Sixty-Day Layover Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 2011 (D.C. Act 19-45, April 20, 2011, 58 DCR 3701).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 6003 of Fiscal Year 2012 Budget Support Emergency Act of 2011 (D.C. Act 19-93, June 29, 2011, 58 DCR 5599).

Temporary Legislation

For temporary (225 day) amendment of section, see § 106(a) of Omnibus Budget Support Temporary Act of 1991 (D.C. Law 9-19, June 21, 1991, law notification 38 DCR 5786).

For temporary (225 day) amendment of section, see § 2 of Motor Vehicle Registration and Operator’s Permit Issuance Enhancement Temporary Amendment Act of 2002 (D.C. Law 14-221, March 25, 2003, law notification 50 DCR 2734).

For temporary (225 day) amendment of section, see § 2(a) of Use of Fraudulent Temporary Identification Tags and Automobile Forfeiture Temporary Amendment Act of 2004 (D.C. Law 15-182, October 18, 2007, law notification 54 DCR 10699).

Transfer of Functions

The functions of the Department of Transportation were transferred to the Department of Public Works by Reorganization Plan No. 4 of 1983, effective March 1, 1984.

Editor's Notes

Findings of Council: Section 2 of D.C. Law 4-206 provided that the “Council of the District of Columbia finds that a staggered motor vehicle registration system would benefit the residents of the District of Columbia with improved motor vehicle registration services and procedures, by providing for the more orderly updating of motor vehicle records by a permanent staff, and by reducing the lengthy waiting time associated with the current annual renewal system.”

Applicability of D.C. Law 15-176: Section 7 of D.C. Law 15-176 provided: “Sections 2 through 6 shall apply as of October 1, 2003.”

Section 3 of D.C. Law 15-287 provided: “The Mayor is authorized to promulgate such rules and regulations as are necessary to carry out the purposes of this act.”

Section 6005 of D.C. Law 19-21 provided: “Sec. 6005. This subtitle shall apply as of July 1, 2011.”

Section 301 of D.C. Law 19-252 provided that the Mayor shall issue rules to implement the provisions of the act within 180 days of its effective date [Mar. 19, 2013].

Delegation of Authority

Delegation of authority under Law 4-206, see Mayor’s Order 83-140, May 26, 1983.


§ 50–1501.02a. Issuance of veterans’ license plates.

(a) For the purposes of this section, the term “veteran” means an individual who has:

(1)(A) Served on active duty in the armed forces of the United States; or

(B) Been a member of the National Guard and Reserves;

(2)(A) Been called to active duty authorized by the President of the United States or the Secretary of Defense; or

(B) Had at least 20 years of service with a letter and record of separation of service; and

(3) Been discharged or released under conditions other than dishonorable.

(b)(1) The Mayor shall issue a registration certificate and identification tags for a passenger motor vehicle (other than a passenger vehicle for hire) to an individual who is a veteran or the spouse of a veteran, is a District resident, and applies for the registration certificate and identification tags in lieu of those required by § 50-1501.02. Upon the death of a veteran that is a holder of identification tags issued under this section, the identification tags shall be transferred, upon application, to the surviving spouse for the spouses’s lifetime or until he or she remarries.

(2) The Mayor shall design and make available for issue veterans' identification tags, which shall include separate designs for each branch of the United States Armed Forces, and establish an application process for the issue of these identification tags. Any veteran or spouse of a veteran who orders a veterans’ identification tag shall pay a one-time application fee and a display fee each year thereafter. The application fee shall be $52 and the display fee shall be $26, or other amounts as may be established by the Mayor by rule. The application fee and annual display fee shall be deposited in the Office of Veterans Affairs Fund, established by § 49-1004.

(3) The Mayor may establish additional qualifications for the issue of a veterans’ identification tag, so long as any additional qualifications relate solely to the veteran’s service record. Regardless of any additional qualifications established for the issue of a veterans’ identification tag, every veteran and spouse of a veteran shall be eligible for at least one veterans’ identification tag.

(4) When an individual applies for a registration certificate and identification tags under this section, the Department of Motor Vehicles shall provide a copy of the application to the Office of Veterans Affairs for its use and record retention.


(Aug. 17, 1937, 50 Stat. 680, ch. 690, title IV,§ 2a; as added Mar. 12, 2011, D.C. Law 18-309, § 2(a), 57 DCR 12389; Nov. 27, 2018, D.C. Law 22-185, § 2(a), 65 DCR 11404.)

Section References

This section is referenced in § 50-1501.03.

Editor's Notes

Applicability of D.C. Law 18-309: Section 3 of D.C. Law 18-309 provided that the act shall apply 6 months after March 12, 2011.


§ 50–1501.02b. Issuance of women veterans license plates.

(a) The Mayor shall design and issue motor vehicle identification tags to honor women veterans that shall bear either the inscription "women veterans" or a facsimile or an emblem honoring women veterans. These identification tags shall retain and display the "End Taxation Without Representation" slogan of the current District of Columbia motor vehicle identification tags.

(b)(1) A resident ordering a motor vehicle identification tag for women veterans shall pay a one-time application fee and a display fee each year thereafter. The application fee shall be $25 and the display fee shall be $20, or other amounts as may be established by the Mayor by rule.

(2) The application fee and annual display fee shall be deposited in the Office of Veterans Affairs Fund, established by § 49-1004.


(Aug. 17, 1937, 50 Stat. 680, ch. 690, title IV,§ 2b; as added Feb. 18, 2017, D.C. Law 21-212, § 2(a), 63 DCR 15326; Apr. 15, 2017, D.C. Law 21-279, § 2(b), 64 DCR 966.)


§ 50–1501.02c. Issuance of bicycle awareness license plates.

(a) The Mayor shall design and issue motor vehicle identification tags with a design to enhance motorists' awareness of bicycles, which shall include an image and wording to educate motorists about section 2202.10 of Title 18 of the District of Columbia Municipal Regulations (18 DCMR § 2202.10).These identification tags shall retain and display the "End Taxation Without Representation" slogan of the current District of Columbia motor vehicle identification tags.

(b)(1) A resident ordering a bicycle awareness tag shall pay a one-time application fee and a display fee each year thereafter. The application fee shall be $25 and the display fee shall be $20, or other amounts as may be established by the Mayor by rule.

(2) The application fee and annual display fee shall be deposited into the Vision Zero Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety Fund, established by § 50-921.20).


(Aug. 17, 1937, 50 Stat. 680, ch. 690, title IV,§ 2c; as added Feb. 18, 2017, D.C. Law 21-212, § 2(a), 63 DCR 15326; Apr. 15, 2017, D.C. Law 21-279, § 2(c), 64 DCR 966.)


§ 50–1501.02d. We Demand Statehood motor-vehicle identification tags.

(a) The Mayor shall design and make available for issue a red-and-white motor-vehicle identification tag that displays the phrase "We Demand Statehood".

(b)(1) A resident ordering a "We Demand Statehood" identification tag designed and issued pursuant to subsection (a) of this section shall pay a one-time application fee and a display fee each year thereafter. The application fee shall be $51 and the display fee shall be $26, or such other amounts as the Mayor may establish by rule.

(2) The application fee and annual display fee shall be deposited into the New Columbia Statehood Fund, established by § 1-129.32.


(Aug. 17, 1937, 50 Stat. 680, ch. 690, title IV, § 2d; as added Apr. 15, 2017, D.C. Law 21-279, § 2(d), 64 DCR 966.)


§ 50–1501.02e. Issuance of arts and humanities motor-vehicle identification tags.

(a) The Mayor may make available for issue one or more arts and humanities motor-vehicle identification tags to enhance the public's awareness of the District's arts and humanities communities, works, and programming. At the request of the Mayor, the Commission on Arts and Humanities ("Commission") shall provide to the Mayor proposed designs of the arts and humanities motor-vehicle identification tags, which the Commission may solicit from District residents.

(b) A resident ordering an arts and humanities motor-vehicle identification tag designed and issued pursuant to subsection (a) of this section shall pay a one-time application fee and a display fee each year thereafter, in amounts to be determined by the Mayor by rule.

(c) Application fees and annual display fees collected pursuant to subsection (b) of this section shall be deposited into the Arts and Humanities Fund, established by § 39-205.01.


(Aug. 17, 1937, 50 Stat. 680, ch. 690, title IV, § 2e; as added Oct. 30, 2018, D.C. Law 22-168, § 2072(a), 65 DCR 9388; Sept. 11, 2019, D.C. Law 23-16, § 2203(b), 66 DCR 8621.)

Emergency Legislation

For temporary (90 days) creation of this section, see § 2072(a) of Fiscal Year 2019 Budget Support Congressional Review Emergency Act of 2018 (D.C. Act 22-458, Oct. 3, 2018, 65 DCR 11212).

For temporary (90 days) creation of this section, see § 2072(a) of Fiscal Year 2019 Budget Support Emergency Act of 2018 (D.C. Act 22-434, July 30, 2018, 65 DCR 8200).


§ 50–1501.02f. Issuance of breast cancer awareness motor vehicle identification tags.

(a) The Mayor shall design and issue motor vehicle identification tags with a design, identifying words, or emblem that promotes breast cancer awareness.

(b)(1) A resident ordering a breast cancer awareness motor vehicle identification tag shall pay a one-time application fee and a display fee each year thereafter. The application fee shall be $25 and the display fee shall be $20, or other amounts as may be established by the Mayor by rule.

(2) The application fee and annual display fee shall be deposited in the Community Health Care Financing Fund, established by § 7-1931.


(Aug. 17, 1937, 50 Stat. 680, ch. 690, title IV, §2f; as added Nov. 27, 2018, D.C. Law 22-185, § 2(b), 65 DCR 11404.)


§ 50–1501.02g. Issuance of parks and recreation motor vehicle identification tags.

(a) The Mayor shall design and make available for issue one or more parks and recreation motor vehicle identification tags to enhance the public's awareness of the District's diverse economic, health, and leisure programming at local parks and recreation centers.

(b)(1) A resident ordering a parks and recreation motor vehicle identification tag shall pay a one-time application fee and a display fee each year thereafter. The application fee shall be $25 and the display fee shall be $20, or other amounts as may be established by the Mayor by rule.

(2) The application fee and annual display fee shall be deposited in the Recreation Enterprise Fund, established by § 10-303.


(Aug. 17, 1937, 50 Stat. 680, ch. 690, title IV, §2g; as added Nov. 27, 2018, D.C. Law 22-185, § 2(b), 65 DCR 11404.)


§ 50–1501.02h. Issuance of Washington Capitals motor vehicle identification tags.

(a) The Mayor shall design and make available for issue one or more Washington Capitals motor vehicle identification tags to demonstrate support for the Washington Capitals hockey team and celebrate the Washington Capitals Stanley Cup win in 2018.

(b)(1) A resident ordering a Washington Capitals tag shall pay a one-time application fee and a display fee each year thereafter. The application fee shall be $25 and the display fee shall be $20, or other amounts as may be established by the Mayor by rule.

(2) The application fee and annual display fee shall be deposited into the General Fund of the District of Columbia.


(Aug. 17, 1937, 50 Stat. 680, ch. 690, title IV, §2h; as added Nov. 27, 2018, D.C. Law 22-185, § 2(b), 65 DCR 11404.)


§ 50–1501.03. Fees classified and use of proceeds designated.

(a)(1)(A) There shall be levied, collected, and paid for each registration year for each motor vehicle or trailer required to be registered under this subchapter, the registration fee provided in this section, except that in the event the Council of the District of Columbia prescribes and the Mayor of the District of Columbia issues as the official identification tags for the District of Columbia tags treated with special reflective materials designed to increase the visibility and legibility of such tags, the Council may charge a fee not exceeding $.50 in addition to all other fees which may be required.

(B) Any person ordering a tag with special markings unique to that person shall pay a one-time application fee of $100, and may obtain a replacement if a tag is lost or stolen upon payment of a fee of $25 per tag.

(C) Any person displaying a tag already approved for use by a member of an organization other than Disabled American Veterans shall pay a one-time application fee of $100, and may obtain a replacement if a tag is lost or stolen upon payment of a $25 fee per tag.

(D) Any person ordering Anacostia River Commemorative License Plates shall pay the fees as set forth in § 8-102.07(b).

(E) Any person ordering veterans identification tags pursuant to § 50-1501.02a shall pay the fees as set forth in § 50-1501.02a(b)(2).

(F) Any person ordering a women veterans identification tags pursuant to § 50-1501.02b shall pay the fees as set forth in § 50-1501.02b(b)(1).

(G) Any person ordering bicycle awareness identification tags shall pay the fees as set forth in § 50-1501.02c(b)(1).

(H) Any person ordering a "We Demand Statehood" identification tag designed and made available pursuant to § 50-1501.02d(a) shall pay the fees established pursuant to § 50-1501.02d(b)(1).

(I) Any person ordering an arts and humanities motor-vehicle identification tag issued pursuant to § 50-1501.02e(a) shall pay the fees established pursuant to § 50-1501.02e(b).

(J) Any person ordering a breast cancer awareness identification tag shall pay the fees as set forth in § 50-1501.02f(b)(1).

(K) Any person ordering a parks and recreation identification tag shall pay the fees as set forth in § 50-1501.02g(b)(1).

(L) Any person ordering a Washington Capitals identification tag shall pay the fees as set forth in § 50-1501.02h(b)(1).

(b)(1) Class A. — For each passenger vehicle, including a motor vehicle classified by the Mayor or his or her designated agent as a class F(I) historic motor vehicle which meets the criteria established under § 50-1501.01(10A), except for passenger vehicles licensed under § 47-2829, based upon the manufacturer’s shipping weight, as follows:

Weight Class Registration Fee

Class I (3,499 pounds or less) $ 72

Class II (3,500 — 4,999 pounds) $115

Class III (5,000 pounds or greater) $155

Class IV A new motor vehicle, other than a

motorcycle and motorized bicycle, with an estimated

average miles per gallon (“MPG”) for city driving

at or above 40 MPG, as determined in accordance

with et seq., and published

in the Fuel Economy Guide by the

United States Environmental Protection Agency and

the United States Department of Energy). This provision

shall only apply to the first 2 years of the vehicle’s

registration, after which the vehicle shall be treated

as a Class I, Class II, or Class III, whichever is

applicable.) $ 36

(2) Class B. — For each commercial vehicle, tractor, and passenger carrying vehicle for hire, including vehicles licensed under § 47-2829, based upon the manufacturer’s shipping weight, as follows:

Weight Class Registration Fee

Class I (3,499 pounds or less) $125

Class II (3,500 — 4,999 pounds) $160

Class III (5,000 — 6,999 pounds) $220

Class IV (7,000 — 9,999 pounds) $300

Class V (10,000 or greater) $575 plus $25

per each additional

1,000 pounds over

10,000 pound[s]

(3) Class C. — For each trailer, based upon the manufacturer’s shipping weight, as follows:

Weight Class Registration Fee

Class I (1,499 pounds or less) $50

Class II (1,500 — 3,499 pounds) $125

Class III (3,500 — 4,999 pounds) $250

Class IV (5,000 — 6,999 pounds) $400

Class V (7,000 — 9,999 pounds) $500

Class VI (10,000 pounds or greater) $500 plus $50

per each additional

1,000 pounds over

10,000 pounds.

(4) Class D. — For each motorcycle, $52.

(5) Class E. — For each motor-driven cycle, $30.

(6) Class F. — For each motor vehicle classified by the Mayor or his or her designated agent as a class F(II) historic motor vehicle which meets the criteria established under § 50-1501.01(11), $25.

(7) Class G. — For dealer’s identification tags, dealer transport identification tags, and manufacturer identification tags, per tag, $75.

(8) Class H. — For each motor vehicle propelled by fuel not subject to taxation under Chapter 23 of Title 47, and motor vehicles propelled by any means other than motor fuels as defined in said chapter, double the fees provided in this subsection for classes A through D.

(b-1) Non-resident taxi and limousine driver vehicle registration. — In addition to any fees that may be due under any other statute or regulation, a driver who was exempted from the residency requirements to register a vehicle within the District of Columbia under § 50-1501.02(c)(5)(B) shall be charged an additional fee of $100.

(c) The Mayor may prorate the fee for registration by an owner or dealer if the registration is issued by the Mayor for a period not to exceed 23 months.

(d) The proceeds from fees payable under this chapter shall be paid into the General Fund of the District of Columbia as established by the Revenue Funds Availability Act of 1975, effective January 22, 1976 (D.C. Law 1-42; 22 DCR 6318); provided, that:

(1) The fees collected under subsection (b-1) of this section shall be paid into the Out-of-State Vehicle Registration Special Fund established by § 50-1501.03a;

(2) The fees collected for Anacostia River Commemorative License Plates shall be deposited in the Anacostia River Clean Up and Protection Fund established by § 8-102.05(a);

(3) The fees collected for veterans’ motor vehicle identification tags under § 50-1501.02a shall be deposited in the Office of Veterans Affairs Fund established by § 49-1004;

(4) The fees collected for women veteran identification tags shall be deposited in the Office of Veterans Affairs Fund, established by § 49-1004;

(5) The fees collected for bicycle awareness identification tags shall be deposited in the Vision Zero Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety Fund, established by § 50-921.20;

(6) The fees collected for "We Demand Statehood" identification tags shall be deposited in the New Columbia Statehood Fund, established by § 1-129.32;

(7) The fees collected for arts and humanities motor-vehicle identification tags shall be deposited into the Arts and Humanities Enterprise Fund, established by § 39-205.01;

(8) The fees collected for breast cancer awareness identification tags under § 50-1501.02f shall be deposited in the Community Health Care Financing Fund, established by § 7-1931;

(9) The fees collected for parks and recreation identification tags under § 50-1501.02g shall be deposited into the Recreation Enterprise Fund, established by § 10-303; and

(10) The fees collected for the Washington Capitals identification tags under § 50-1501.02h shall be deposited into the General Fund of the District of Columbia.

(e) Notwithstanding the provisions of this subchapter, special equipment mounted on a motor vehicle or trailer and not used primarily for the transportation of persons or property shall be taxed as tangible personal property as provided by law. For the purpose of determining the fees authorized by subparagraph (A) of subsection (b)(2) and subsections (b)(3) and (b)(8) of this section, the weight of special equipment taxed in accordance with the provisions of this subsection (e) shall be excluded in computing the weight of the vehicle or trailer on which it is mounted.

(f) No annual motor vehicle registration fee shall be required for a noncommercial motor vehicle owned by any veteran who has been classified by the United States Veterans Administration as having a total and permanent disability as a result of a service incurred or aggravated condition; provided, that no more than 1 such vehicle per qualified veteran shall receive this fee exemption.

(g) The Mayor shall direct the Director of the Department of Transportation to design and provide application forms for the exemption provided in subsection (f) of this section. The application shall be accompanied by a statement that the veteran has been classified as having a total and permanent disability by the Veterans Administration so as to meet the requirements of this subsection, and that such disability is the result of a service incurred or aggravated condition.

(h) To synchronize inspection and registration due dates, the Mayor may declare that a vehicle’s inspection or registration shall expire prior to the date originally established; provided, that the Mayor shall reduce the fee for the vehicle’s next registration or inspection renewal by a percentage equal to the percentage of the reduction of the original time period.

(i) The Mayor may require a 2 year registration period for any registrant.

(j) The Mayor may refund any portion of the registration fee if the registrant does not maintain the registration for the entire registration period established.

(k) The Mayor may allow any person to pay registration fees in installments, as determined by the Mayor.

(l) The Mayor may charge an additional fine of $100 for any motor vehicle whose inspection or registration is not renewed by the expiration date, unless the owner surrenders the tags on or before that date.


(Aug. 17, 1937, 50 Stat. 681, ch. 690, title IV, § 3; May 16, 1938, 52 Stat. 359, ch. 223, § 4; July 17, 1939, 53 Stat. 1046, ch. 313, § 2; Sept. 8, 1950, 64 Stat. 793, ch. 921, §§ 4, 5, 6; May 18, 1954, 68 Stat. 112, title VI, ch. 218, §§ 602, 603, 604; Sept. 2, 1957, 71 Stat. 598, Pub. L. 85-273, §§ 1, 2; Sept. 6, 1960, 74 Stat. 816, Pub. L. 86-716, §§ 1-3; Oct. 31, 1969, 83 Stat. 174, Pub. L. 91-106, title IV, § 402; Oct. 21, 1975, D.C. Law 1-23, title I, § 101, 22 DCR 2091; Jan. 22, 1976, D.C. Law 1-42, § 6, 22 DCR 6317; June 15, 1976, D.C. Law 1-70, title I, § 101, 23 DCR 533; April 7, 1977, D.C. Law 1-110, § 5, 23 DCR 8740; April 19, 1977, D.C. Law 1-124, title I, § 101, 23 DCR 8749; Feb. 25, 1978, D.C. Law 2-41, § 2, 24 DCR 3629; Mar. 16, 1978, D.C. Law 2-55, §§ 2, 3, 5, 24 DCR 5424; Mar. 16, 1978, D.C. Law 2-60, § 2, 24 DCR 5778; Apr. 3, 1982, D.C. Law 4-93, § 3, 29 DCR 749; Mar. 10, 1983, D.C. Law 4-206, § 4, 30 DCR 193; June 22, 1983, D.C. Law 5-14, § 802, 30 DCR 2632; Aug. 17, 1991, D.C. Law 9-30, § 2(b), 38 DCR 4215; Mar. 17, 1993, D.C. Law 9-239, § 2, 40 DCR 625; June 5, 2003, D.C. Law 14-307, § 1705(b), 49 DCR 11664; Apr. 8, 2005, D.C. Law 15-307, §§ 401(b), 501, 52 DCR 1700; June 16, 2006, D.C. Law 16-129, § 3, 53 DCR 4716; Mar. 14, 2007, D.C. Law 16-279, § 403(b), 54 DCR 903; Apr. 24, 2007, D.C. Law 16-305, § 78, 53 DCR 6198; Mar. 26, 2008, D.C. Law 17-130, § 2(b), 55 DCR 1655; Aug. 16, 2008, D.C. Law 17-219, § 6007, 55 DCR 7598; Mar. 20, 2009, D.C. Law 17-315, § 2(b), 56 DCR 203; Sept. 23, 2009, D.C. Law 18-55, § 9(b)(1), 56 DCR 5703; Mar. 12, 2011, D.C. Law 18-309, § 2(b), 57 DCR 12389; Apr. 27, 2013, D.C. Law 19-290, § 6(b), 60 DCR 2343; Feb. 18, 2017, D.C. Law 21-212, § 2(b), 63 DCR 15326; Apr. 15, 2017, D.C. Law 21-279, § 2(e), 64 DCR 966; Oct. 30, 2018, D.C. Law 22-168, § 2072(b), 65 DCR 9388; Nov. 27, 2018, D.C. Law 22-185, § 2(c), 65 DCR 11404.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 40-104.

1973 Ed., § 40-103.

Section References

This section is referenced in § 8-102.07, § 9-1111.15, § 50-1501.02, § 50-1503.01, and § 50-2201.03.

Effect of Amendments

D.C. Law 14-307, in subsec. (b), substituted “$72” for “$55” and substituted “$115” for “$88” in par. (1)(A), and substituted “$52” for “$30” in par. (4).

D.C. Law 15-307 added subsec. (a)(3); rewrote subsecs. (b)(1), (2), and (3); in subsec. (c), substituted “23” for “11”; and added subsecs. (h), (i), (j), and (k).

The 2013 amendment by D.C. Law 19-290 substituted “motor-driven cycle” for “motorized bicycle” in (b)(5).

Cross References

Department of Transportation, powers and duties, see § 50-2201.03.

District of Columbia General Fund, see § 47-131.

Motor fuel tax, see § 47-2301 et seq.

Motor vehicle exhaust emissions inspections, collection and allocation of fees, see §§ 50-1101 and 50-1102.

Motor vehicle operators’ permits, fees, see § 50-1401.01.

Multiaxle vehicles designed for auto-unloading, annual hauling permit fees, see § 6-703.01.

National Capital Region Transportation, revenues allocated to the Metrorail/Metrobus Account, see § 9-1111.15.

Taxation of personal property, exemption for motor vehicles and trailers, see § 47-1508.

Emergency Legislation

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 2072(b) of Fiscal Year 2019 Budget Support Congressional Review Emergency Act of 2018 (D.C. Act 22-458, Oct. 3, 2018, 65 DCR 11212).

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 2072(b) of Fiscal Year 2019 Budget Support Emergency Act of 2018 (D.C. Act 22-434, July 30, 2018, 65 DCR 8200).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 1705(b) of Fiscal Year 2003 Budget Support Amendment Emergency Act of 2002 (D.C. Act 14-544, December 4, 2002, 49 DCR 11700).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 1705(b) of the Fiscal Year 2003 Budget Support Amendment Congressional Review Emergency Act of 2003 (D.C. Act 15-27, February 24, 2003, 50 DCR 2151).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 1705(b) of Fiscal Year 2003 Budget Support Amendment Second Congressional Review Emergency Act of 2003 (D.C. Act 15-103, June 20, 2003, 50 DCR 5499).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 202(3) of Prohibition on the Reckless Operation of Recreational Motor Vehicles Emergency Act of 2004 (D.C. Act 15-462, June 23, 2004, 51 DCR 6750).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 3 of Low-Emissions Motor Vehicle Tax Exemption Emergency Amendment Act of 2005 (D.C. Act 16-239, December 22, 2005, 53 DCR 258).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 3 of Low-Emissions Motor Vehicle Tax Exemption Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 2006 (D.C. Act 16-324, March 23, 2006, 53 DCR 2574).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see §§ 2(b) and 4 of Non-Resident Taxi Drivers Registration Emergency Amendment Act of 2007 (D.C. Act 17-58, June 21, 2007, 54 DCR 6599).

For temporary (90 day) addition, see §§ 2(c) and 4 of Non-Resident Taxi Drivers Registration Emergency Amendment Act of 2007 (D.C. Act 17-58, June 21, 2007, 54 DCR 6599).

Temporary Legislation

For temporary (225 day) amendment of section, see § 106(b) of Omnibus Budget Support Temporary Act of 1991 (D.C. Law 9-19, June 21, 1991, law notification 38 DCR 5786).

For temporary (225 day) amendment of section, see § 3 of Low-Emissions Motor Vehicle Tax Exemption Temporary Amendment Act of 2006 (D.C. Law 16-88, April 4, 2006, law notification 53 DCR 3347).

For temporary (225 day) amendment of section, see § 2(b) of Non-Resident Taxi Drivers Registration Temporary Amendment Act of 2007 (D.C. Law 17-29, October 18, 2007, law notification 54 DCR 10699).

References in Text

The Revenue Funds Availability Act of 1975, referred to in (d), is the Act of January 22, 1976, D.C. Law 1-42.

Editor's Notes

Section 3 of D.C. Law 18-309 provided: “Sec. 3. Applicability: This act shall apply 6 months after its effective date.”


§ 50–1501.03a. Out-Of-State Vehicle Registration Special Fund.

(a)(1) There is established as a lapsing fund the Out-Of-State Vehicle Registration Special Fund (“Fund”). The Fund shall be administered by the Office of the Director of the Department of Motor Vehicles.

(2) All funds collected from the registration of a motor vehicle by a person not domiciled in the District of Columbia in excess of the funds that would have been collected from the registration of an equivalent motor vehicle by a person domiciled in the District of Columbia shall be deposited into the Fund.

(3) All funds deposited into the Fund but not expended in a fiscal year shall revert to the unrestricted fund balance of the General Fund of the District of Columbia.

(b)(1) The first $25 of each registration fee deposited into the Fund shall be used for programs encouraging residents of the District of Columbia to pursue careers as a driver of a limousine or taxicab, or, if the Director of the Department of For-Hire Vehicles considers another use to be in the best interests of the proper regulation of the taxicab and limousine industries of the District of Columbia, to such other use.

(2) Any revenues in excess of those required to be distributed in paragraph (1) of this subsection shall be used by the Department of Motor Vehicles to defray the costs of operating the Fund, including such costs as may arise from determining whether an out-of-state vehicle is permitted to register in the District of Columbia at a higher rate than those charged to an equivalent vehicle owned by a District of Columbia resident; provided, that no revenues in excess of the actual costs of operating the Fund shall be used for this purpose.

(3) Any revenues in excess of those required to be distributed by paragraphs (1) and (2) of this subsection shall be deposited in the Public Vehicles-for-Hire Consumer Service Fund, established by § 50-301.20.


(Aug. 17, 1937, 50 Stat. 679, ch. 690, title IV, § 3a; as added Mar. 26, 2008, D.C. Law 17-130, § 2(c), 55 DCR 1655; Feb. 26, 2015, D.C. Law 20-155, § 9011, 61 DCR 9990; June 22, 2016, D.C. Law 21-124, § 501(j), 63 DCR 7076.)

Section References

This section is referenced in § 50-320 and § 50-1501.03.

Effect of Amendments

The 2015 amendment by D.C. Law 20-155 substituted “lapsing” for “nonlapsing” in (a)(1); and rewrote (a)(3).

Emergency Legislation

For temporary (90 day) addition, see §§ 2(c) and 4 of Non-Resident Taxi Drivers Registration Emergency Amendment Act of 2007 (D.C. Act 17-58, June 21, 2007, 54 DCR 6599).

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see §§ 9011 and 9029 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 this section, see §§ 9011 and 9029 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 this section, see § 9011 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).

Temporary Legislation

For temporary (225 day) addition, see § 2(c) of Non-Resident Taxi Drivers Registration Temporary Amendment Act of 2007 (D.C. Law 17-29, October 18, 2007, law notification 54 DCR 10699).

Editor's Notes

Nonseverability of D.C. Law 17-130: Section 4 of D.C. Law 17-130 provided: “If any provision of section 2, or its application to any person or circumstance, is held to be unconstitutional, beyond the statutory authority of the Council, or otherwise invalid, then all provisions of this act shall be deemed invalid.”

Section 9029 of D.C. Law 20-155 provided that the amendment by § 9011 of the act shall apply as of September 30, 2014.


§ 50–1501.04. Unlawful acts; penalty.

(a) It shall be unlawful:

(1) For any person to operate any motor vehicle or trailer upon any public highway of the District of Columbia (except motor vehicles or trailers operated by nonresidents exempted under the provisions of § 50-1401.02):

(A) If such motor vehicle or trailer is not registered or covered by a dealer’s registration or by a special use certificate as required by this subchapter;

(B) If such motor vehicle or trailer does not have attached thereto and displayed thereon the identification tags required therefor; or

(C) If such person does not have in his possession or in the motor vehicle or trailer operated the registration certificate or special use certificate required therefor.

(D) Repealed.

(2) For the owner of any motor vehicle or trailer knowingly to permit the operation thereof contrary to any provision of paragraph (1) of this subsection;

(3) To use a false or fictitious name or address in any application for registration or for a special use certificate, or any renewal or duplicate thereof, or knowingly to make any false statement or conceal any material fact in any such application; or

(4) For the owner of any motor vehicle to knowingly use or permit the use of any motor vehicle with a counterfeit, stolen, or otherwise fraudulent temporary identification tag.

(a-1)(1) For the purposes of subsection (a)(1)(C) of this section, the term "registration certificate" includes an electronic image of a registration certificate that is displayed on a cellular telephone or other portable electronic device.

(2)(A) The presentation of an electronic image of a registration certificate 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 a registration certificate 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) Except as provided in subsection (c) of this section, any person violating any provision of this subchapter or the regulations made or promulgated under the authority hereof shall upon conviction thereof be subject to a fine of not more than $1000 or imprisonment of not more than 30 days, or both such fine and imprisonment. All such prosecutions shall be in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia upon information filed by the Attorney General for the District of Columbia or any of his assistants in the name of the District of Columbia.

(2) A motor vehicle being used in violation of subsection (a)(4) of this section shall be subject to forfeiture pursuant to the standards and procedures set forth in D.C. Law 20-278. Such forfeiture may be in addition to the imposition of a fine or imprisonment as provided for in paragraph (1) of this subsection.

(3) The fine set forth in this section shall not be limited by § 22-3571.01.

(c)(1) A person violating subsection (a)(1) or (2) of this section shall be assessed the following civil penalties for a failure to maintain a valid and current registration:

(A) A fine of $200 for a lapse in registration between one and 30 days; and

(B) A fine of $200 for each additional unregistered month or portion thereof, up to a maximum of $2,400.

(2) Violations under this subsection shall be adjudicated pursuant to Chapter 23 of this title [§ 50-2301.01 et seq.].

(d) Nothing in this section shall be interpreted as impeding the ability of a public safety officer to impound a vehicle that poses a threat to public health or safety.


(Aug. 17, 1937, 50 Stat. 682, ch. 690, title IV, § 4; Apr. 1, 1942, 56 Stat. 190, ch. 207, § 1; Sept. 8, 1950, 64 Stat. 794, ch. 921, § 7; July 8, 1963, 77 Stat. 77, Pub. L. 88-60, § 1; July 29, 1970, 84 Stat. 570, Pub. L. 91-358, title I, § 155(a); Apr. 5, 2005, D.C. Law 15-287, § 2(b), 52 DCR 1437; Mar. 14, 2007, D.C. Law 16-279, § 403(c), 54 DCR 903; Mar. 25, 2009, D.C. Law 17-353, §§ 197(b), 198, 56 DCR 1117; Oct. 22, 2012, D.C. Law 19-183, § 2, 59 DCR 9429; June 11, 2013, D.C. Law 19-317, § 112(g), 60 DCR 2064; June 16, 2015, D.C. Law 20-278, § 307, 62 DCR 1920; Mar. 13, 2019, D.C. Law 22-239, § 4, 66 DCR 597.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 40-105.

1973 Ed., § 40-104.

Section References

This section is referenced in § 16-801 and § 50-2302.02.

Effect of Amendments

D.C. Law 15-287, in subsec. (b), designated the existing text as par. (1), substituted “$1000” for “$300”, and added par. (2).

D.C. Law 16-279 added subsec. (a)(1)(D).

D.C. Law 17-353 validated previously made technical corrections in subsec. (a)(1)(D), (3).

The 2012 amendment by D.C. Law 19-183 added “or” at the end of (a)(1)(B); substituted a period for the semicolon and “or” at the end of (a)(1)(C); repealed (a)(1)(D); in (b)(1), substituted “Except as provided in subsection (c) of this section, any person violating” for “Any person violating” and “Attorney General for the District of Columbia” for “Corporation Counsel of the District of Columbia”; and added (c) and (d).

The 2013 amendment by D.C. Law 19-317 added (b)(3).

The 2015 amendment by D.C. Law 20-278 rewrote (b)(2).

Cross References

Taxation of personal property, exemption for motor vehicles and trailers, see § 47-1508.

Traffic adjudication, violations prosecuted as criminal offenses, see § 50-2302.02.

Emergency Legislation

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 2(b) of Use of Fraudulent Temporary Identification Tags and Automobile Forfeiture Emergency Amendment Act of 2004 (D.C. Act 15-424, May 10, 2004, 51 DCR 5185).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 2(b) of Use of Fraudulent Temporary Identification Tags and Automobile Forfeiture Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 2004 (D.C. Act 15-518, August 2, 2004, 51 DCR 8992).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 2 of Criminal Penalty for Unregistered Motorist Repeal Emergency Amendment Act of 2011 (D.C. Act 19-208, October 21, 2011, 58 DCR 9332).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 2 of Criminal Penalty for Unregistered Motorist Repeal Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 2012 (D.C. Act 19-296, January 20, 2012, 59 DCR 491).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 2 of the Criminal Penalty for Unregistered Motorist Repeal Emergency Amendment Act of 2012 (D.C. Act 19-404, July 24, 2012, 59 DCR 9120).

For temporary amendment of (b)(1) and temporary addition of (c), see § 2 of the Criminal Penalty for Unregistered Motorist Repeal Emergency Amendment Act of 2012 (D.C. Act 19-404, July 24, 2012, 59 DCR 9120).

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 112(g) of the Criminal Fine Proportionality Emergency Act of 2013 (D.C. Act 20-45, April 1, 2013, 60 DCR 5400, 20 DCSTAT 1300).

Temporary Legislation

For temporary (225 day) amendment of section, see § 2(b) of Use of Fraudulent Temporary Identification Tags and Automobile Forfeiture Temporary Amendment Act of 2004 (D.C. Law 15-182, October 18, 2007, law notification 54 DCR 10699).

Section 2 of D.C. Law 19-76, in subsec. (b)(1), substituted “Except as provided in subsection (c) of this section, any person violating” for “Any person violating”, and substituted “Attorney General for the District of Columbia” for “Corporation Counsel of the District of Columbia”; and added subsec. (c) to read as follows:

“(c) Any person in violation of subsection (a)(1) or (2) of this section shall not be subject to arrest or criminal penalties, but shall be subject to civil penalties as follows:

“(1) Any violation that occurs up to 30 days from when the vehicle is unregistered shall result in a $100 fine;

“(2) Any violation that occurs after 30 days from when the vehicle is unregistered may result in impoundment of the vehicle and a $200 fine.

“(3) The provisions of this subsection shall be adjudicated pursuant to the District of Columbia Traffic Adjudication Act of 1978, effective September 12, 1978 (D.C. Law 2-104; D.C. Official Code § 50-2301.01 et seq.).”.

Section 4(b) of D.C. Law 19-76 provided that the act shall expire after 225 days of its having taken effect.

Editor's Notes

Section 3 of D.C. Law 15-287 provided: “The Mayor is authorized to promulgate such rules and regulations as are necessary to carry out the purposes of this act.”

Applicability of D.C. Law 19-317: Section 401 of D.C. Law 19-317 provided that the act shall apply only to offenses committed on or after June 11, 2013.

D.C. Law 20-278, referred to in (d), enacted Chapter 3 of Title 41 (§ 41-301 et seq.), made amendments to the criminal offenses in §§ 48-901.02 and 48-905.02, and made conforming amendments to §§ 7-2507.06a, 8-905, 22-902, 22-1705, 22-2723, 32-1343, 48-905.03, and 50-1501.04.


§ 50–1501.05. Provisions not affected.

(a) Nothing in this subchapter shall be construed to affect the power of the Council of the District of Columbia, under the District of Columbia Traffic Act, 1925 [§ 50-2201.01 et seq.], as amended, to make rules and regulations, not inconsistent with the provisions of this subchapter, with respect to the registration of motor vehicles.

(b) Nothing in this subchapter shall be construed to relieve any person from the payment of any license tax under Chapters 28 and 30 of Title 47.


(Aug. 17, 1937, 50 Stat. 682, ch. 690, title IV, § 5.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 40-106.

1973 Ed., § 40-105.

Cross References

Taxation of personal property, exemption for motor vehicles and trailers, see § 47-1508.

References in Text

The District of Columbia Traffic Act, 1925, as amended, referred to in subsection (a), is the Act of March 3, 1925, 43 Stat. 1121, ch. 443.

Chapter 30 of Title 47, referred to in subsection (b), was repealed by D.C. Law 5-136, effective March 13, 1985.

Change in Government

This section originated at a time when local government powers were delegated to a Board of Commissioners of the District of Columbia (see Acts Relating to the Establishment of the District of Columbia and its Various Forms of Governmental Organization in Volume 1). Section 402 (292, 293, 295 to 299) of Reorganization Plan No. 3 of 1967 (see Reorganization Plans in Volume 1) transferred all of the functions of the Board of Commissioners under this section to the District of Columbia Council, subject to the right of the Commissioner as provided in § 406 of the Plan. The District of Columbia Self-Government and Governmental Reorganization Act, 87 Stat. 818, § 711 ( D.C. Code, § 1-207.11), abolished the District of Columbia Council and the Office of Commissioner of the District of Columbia. These branches of government were replaced by the Council of the District of Columbia and the Office of Mayor of the District of Columbia, respectively. Accordingly, and also pursuant to § 714(a) of such Act ( D.C. Code, § 1-207.14(a)), appropriate changes in terminology were made in this section.