Code of the District of Columbia

§ 50–1401.01. Fee; examination; age requirements; lost permits; provisions for armed forces personnel; contents; operation without permit prohibited; restrictions for minors.

(a)(1) The Mayor is authorized to issue a new or renewed motor vehicle operator’s permit, valid for a period not to exceed 8 years plus any time period prior to the expiration date of a previous license not to exceed 2 months, to any individual 17 years of age or older, subject to the following conditions and any other conditions the Mayor may prescribe to protect the public:

(A) The applicant shall pay an application fee of $30, which may be increased by the Mayor to compensate the District for processing and evaluating the application and issuing the permit. Alternatively, the Mayor is authorized to prorate existing fees to correspond to the duration of the license issued.

(A-i)(i) Effective October 1, 2015, an applicant for an operator’s permit shall pay an application fee of $47, which the Mayor may increase or decrease to compensate the District for processing and evaluating the application and issuing the permit. The Mayor may prorate the fee to correspond to the duration of the license issued.

(ii) Repealed.

(iii) Repealed.

(A-ii)(i) Notwithstanding subparagraph (A-i) of this paragraph, the fee described in subparagraph (A-i) of this paragraph shall be waived for:

(I) An individual released from the custody of the Federal Bureau of Prisons ("BOP"), for one year after the individual is released from the custody of the BOP; and

(II) An individual in the custody of the BOP at a halfway house in the District.

(ii) The Mayor, pursuant to subchapter I of Chapter 5 of Title 2, may issue rules to implement the provisions of this subparagraph.

(B) The applicant shall demonstrate that he or she is mentally, morally, and physically qualified to operate a motor vehicle in a manner not to jeopardize the safety of individuals or property. The Mayor shall determine whether an applicant is qualified through:

(i) An examination of the applicant’s knowledge of the traffic regulations and regulations for safely sharing roadways with pedestrians and bicyclists in the District;

(ii) A practical demonstration, or evidence acceptable to the Mayor of the applicant’s ability to operate a motor vehicle within any portion of the District, except that upon renewal of an operator’s permit or upon the application of an individual who meets the criteria set forth in subparagraph (C) of this paragraph, the examination and demonstration may be waived in the discretion of the Mayor; and

(iii) Any other criteria as the Mayor may establish.

(B-i) Not Funded.

(C) An applicant under the age of 21, shall meet the following additional qualifications in addition to the qualifications in subparagraph (B) of this paragraph:

(i) The applicant shall be the holder of a valid provisional permit issued at least 6 months prior to the application in accordance with paragraph (2A) of this subsection;

(ii) The applicant shall not have admitted to, been liable for, or convicted of an offense for which points may be assessed during the 12 consecutive month period immediately preceding the application; and

(iii) The applicant shall have received 10 hours of nighttime driving experience, as certified by the holder of a valid motor vehicle operator’s permit from any jurisdiction, who is 21 years of age or older and has accompanied the applicant while the applicant was operating the motor vehicle.

(D) No permittee under the age of 18 shall:

(i) Operate a motor vehicle occupied by more than 2 passengers under the age of 21, except that this restriction shall not apply to a passenger who is a sibling of the permittee;

(ii) Operate a motor vehicle in which the permittee or any passenger fails to wear a seat belt; or

(iii) Operate a motor vehicle between 11:00 p.m. on any Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday until 6:00 a.m. on the following day during any month except July or August, and from 12:01 a.m. until 6:00 a.m. during July and August and on any Saturday or Sunday the rest of the year, unless driving to or from employment, a school-sponsored activity, religious or an athletic event or related training session in which the permittee is a participant, sponsored by the District of Columbia, a civic organization, or another similar entity that takes responsibility for the minor, or unless accompanied by the holder of a valid motor vehicle operator’s permit who is 21 years of age or older and who is occupying a seat beside the permittee; or

(iv) Operate a motor vehicle other than a passenger vehicle or motorized bicycle used solely for the purposes of pleasure and not for compensation.

(2) The Mayor is authorized to issue a new learner's permit valid for 2 years to any individual 16 years of age or older subject to the following conditions and any other conditions the Mayor may prescribe to protect the public:

(A)(i) The applicant shall pay an application fee of $15, which may be increased by the Mayor for the costs of processing and evaluating the application and issuing the permit.

(ii) Repealed.

(iii) Repealed.

(A-i)(i) Notwithstanding subparagraph (A) of this paragraph, the fee described in subparagraph (A) of this paragraph shall be waived for:

(I) An individual released from the custody of the Federal Bureau of Prisons ("BOP"), for one year after the individual is released from the custody of the BOP; and

(II) An individual in the custody of the BOP at a halfway house in the District.

(ii) The Mayor, pursuant to subchapter II of Chapter 5 of Title 2, may issue rules to implement the provisions of this subparagraph.

(B) The applicant shall have successfully passed all parts of the examination other than the driving demonstration test;

(C) No holder of a learner’s permit shall:

(i) Operate a motor vehicle except for a passenger vehicle used solely for pleasure;

(ii) Operate a motor vehicle for compensation;

(iii) Operate a motor vehicle unless while under the instruction of and accompanied by the holder of a valid motor vehicle operator’s permit who is 21 years of age or older, occupying a seat beside the permittee, and wearing a seat belt; and

(iv) Operate a motor vehicle except during the hours of 6 a.m. and 9 p.m.; and

(D) An individual whose learner's permit has expired pursuant to this paragraph may apply for a new learner's permit; provided, that the individual shall again comply with the requirements set forth in this paragraph.

(2A) The Mayor is authorized to issue a new or renewed provisional motor vehicle operator’s permit, valid for a period not to exceed 1-year, to any individual 16 and 1/2 years of age or older subject to the following conditions and any other conditions the Mayor may prescribe to protect the public:

(A)(i) The applicant shall pay an application fee of $15, which may be increased by the Mayor for the costs of processing and evaluating the application and issuing the permit;

(ii) Repealed.

(iii) Repealed.

(A-i)(i) Notwithstanding subparagraph (A) of this paragraph, the fee described in subparagraph (A) of this paragraph shall be waived for:

(I) An individual released from the custody of the Federal Bureau of Prisons ("BOP"), for one year after the individual is released from the custody of the BOP; and

(II) An individual in the custody of the BOP at a halfway house in the District.

(ii) The Mayor, pursuant to subchapter I of Chapter 5 of Title 2, may issue rules to implement the provisions of this subparagraph.

(B) The applicant shall satisfy the qualification requirements set forth in subsection (a)(1)(B) of this section and:

(i) Shall be the holder of a valid learner’s permit issued at least 6 months prior to the application for a provisional permit;

(ii) Shall not have admitted to, been found liable for, or been convicted of an offense for which points may be assessed in the last 6 months; and

(iii) Shall have received 40 hours of driving experience as certified by the holder of a valid motor vehicle operator’s permit from any jurisdiction, who is 21 years of age or older and who has accompanied the applicant while the applicant was operating the motor vehicle.

(C) No holder of a provisional permit shall:

(i) Operate a motor vehicle occupied by any passengers other than one holder of a valid motor vehicle operator’s permit who is 21 years of age or older, occupying the seat beside the permittee, and wearing a seat belt, and any other passenger who is a sibling or parent of the permittee; or

(ii) Operate a motor vehicle between 11:00 p.m. on any Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday until 6:00 a.m. on the following day during any month except July or August, and from 12:01 a.m. until 6:00 a.m. during July and August and on any Saturday or Sunday the rest of the year, unless driving to or from employment, a school-sponsored activity, religious or an athletic event or related training session in which the permittee is a participant, sponsored by the District of Columbia, a civic organization, or another similar entity that takes responsibility for the minor, or unless accompanied by the holder of a valid motor vehicle operator’s permit who is 21 years of age or older, wearing a seat belt, and occupying a seat beside the permittee.

(2B) Notwithstanding the provision of subsection (a)(1)(C), (a)(2)(B), and (a)(2A) of this section, a person under the age of 21 who holds a valid motor vehicle permit from another jurisdiction shall be eligible for a comparable District of Columbia driver’s permit, provided that the permittee’s operation of a motor vehicle shall be subject to the applicable restrictions set forth in subsection (a)(1)(D), (a)(2)(C), or (a)(2A)(C) of this section.

(2C) Penalties:

(A) Any violation of the permit restrictions set forth [in] subsection (a)(1)(D), (a)(2)(C), or (a)(2A)(C) of this section, in addition to any other penalties that may be imposed by law, shall result in the suspension of the permits issued pursuant to subsection (a)(1)(C), (a)(2), or (a)(2A) and the addition of a period of time equal to the period of permit suspension to the requirements set forth in (a)(1)(C)(i) and (a)(2A)(B)(i) as follows:

(i) The first offense shall result in a suspension of 30 days;

(ii) The second offense shall result in suspension of 60 days; and

(iii) The third and subsequent offenses shall result in a suspension of 90 days.

(B) The Mayor shall notify, in writing, the parent or legal guardian of a permittee who is under 18 years of age and who violates subsection (a)(1)(D), (a)(2)(C), or (a)(2A)(C);

(2D) Operator’s permits subject to the provisions of this subchapter, including a learner’s permit, provisional permit and operator’s permit, shall be visually distinguishable pursuant to rules promulgated by the Department of Motor Vehicles.

(3) Any pupil 15 years of age or over enrolled in a high school or junior high school driver education and training course approved by the Mayor or his designated agent may, without obtaining either an operator’s or a learner’s permit, operate a dual control motor vehicle between the hours of 6 a.m. and 11 p.m., where the pupil is under instruction and accompanied by a licensed motor vehicle driving instructor; provided, that such instructor shall at all times while he is engaged in such instruction have on his person a certificate from the principal or other person in charge of such school, stating that such instructor is officially designated to instruct pupils enrolled in such course, and whenever demand is made by a police officer such instructor shall display to him such certificate.

(3A) Notwithstanding the passenger restrictions set forth in subsection (a)(1)(D), (a)(C)(iii), and (a)(2A)(C)(iii) of this subsection, a permittee who is enrolled in a driver education course may operate a motor vehicle containing a greater number of passengers while the permittee is under the instruction of and accompanied by a licensed motor vehicle driving instructor provided that the other passengers are also receiving driving instruction.

(4) In the event an operator’s permit, learner’s permit, or a provisional permit issued under the authority of this section is lost or destroyed, or requires replacement for any reason, other than through error or other act of the Mayor, not caused by the person to whom such permit was issued, such person may obtain a duplicate or replacement operator’s permit upon payment of a fee of $20, or such person may obtain a duplicate or replacement learner’s permit, or replacement provisional permit upon payment of a fee of $20.

(5) Enlisted men of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard shall be issued, without charge, a permit to operate government-owned vehicles, while engaged in official business, upon the presentation of a certificate from their commanding officers to the effect that they are assigned to operate a government vehicle and are qualified to drive, and upon proving to the satisfaction of the Director of the Department of Transportation that they are familiar with the traffic regulations of the District of Columbia.

(5A)(A) Except as provided in subparagraph (C) of this paragraph, any eligible United States citizen or resident who is at least 18 years of age but no more than 26 years of age shall be registered with the Selective Service System, in compliance with the requirements of 50 U.S.C. App. § 453, when applying for an operator’s permit or identification card pursuant to the laws of the District.

(B) The Director of the Department of Motor Vehicles (“Department”) shall forward, in an electronic format, the personal information required of the applicant identified in subparagraph (A) of this paragraph to the Selective Service System for registration. The Department shall notify the applicant on the application for an operator’s permit or an identification card that submitting the application serves as consent to register with the Selective Service System, in compliance with federal law.

(C) The Director of the Department of Motor Vehicles shall make available a form, separate from the application, which shall indicate that the applicant has chosen not to use the operator’s permit or identification card application as a means of registering with the Selective Service System (“waiver form”). The waiver form shall state the effects of failure to register and the programs that condition eligibility upon registration with the Selective Service System. Applicants shall be informed that the waiver form is available upon request. The waiver form shall also state the civil and criminal penalties for failure to register for Selective Service. Failure to submit the waiver form is form shall be deemed affirmative proof that the applicant authorizes the Director of the Department to forward to the Selective Service System the information necessary to complete registration on behalf of the applicant. The waiver form, after completion, shall be added to the applicants file.

(D) This form shall comply with the requirements of subchapter II of Chapter 31 of Title 2 [§ 2-1931 et seq.] including being printed in each required language under § 2-1933.

(E) An applicant’s submission of the waiver form specified in subparagraph (C) of this paragraph shall not be treated as grounds for denial of an application for an operator’s permit or an identification card.

(F) The Director of the Department shall not forward to the Selective Service System the personal information of an individual who completes and submits the waiver form described in subparagraph (C) of this paragraph.

(6) Notwithstanding the provisions of this subsection, the Mayor or his designated agent may, upon compliance with such regulations as the Mayor may prescribe, extend for a period not in excess of 6 years the validity of the operator’s permit of any person who is a resident of the District and who is on active duty outside the District in the armed forces or the Merchant Marine of the United States and who was at the time of leaving the District the holder of a valid operator’s permit.

(a-1)(1) The Mayor and the Board of Elections and Ethics shall jointly develop an application form and a change of name and address form by January 1, 1989, which shall allow an applicant wishing to register to vote to do so by the use of a single form containing the necessary information for voter registration and the information required for the issuance, renewal, or correction of the applicant’s driver’s permit or identification card.

(2) Commencing not later than May 1, 1989, the Mayor shall provide each qualified elector who applies for the issuance, renewal, or correction of any type of driver’s permit or for an identification card an opportunity to complete an application to register to vote by use of a single form containing the necessary required information for the issuance, renewal, or correction of the driver’s permit or identification card.

(3) The Mayor shall forward all new applications to the Board of Elections and Ethics within 10 days of receipt.

(4) Applications received from the Mayor shall be considered received by the Board of Elections and Ethics as of the date the application was made.

(a-2) Repealed.

(b)(1) Each operator’s permit shall state the name and address, and bear the signature of the permittee, together with any additional information that the Mayor may by regulation prescribe. Pursuant to section 205(c)(2)(C)(vi) of the Social Security Act, approved August 14, 1935 (49 Stat. 624, 42 U.S.C. § 405(c)(2)(C)(vi)), the Mayor shall use a randomly generated number as the identification number on any new or renewed license.

(2) The Mayor shall require an applicant for an operator’s permit to provide a social security number, if such a number was issued to the applicant, or, if required by the Mayor, proof that the applicant is not eligible for a social security number, for the purposes of administering and enforcing the laws of the District of Columbia. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the social security number or other tax identification number shall not be a matter of public record. The social security number shall be kept on file with the issuing agency and the applicant shall be so advised. This paragraph shall not apply to an applicant eligible for a limited purpose driver’s license or permit pursuant to § 50-1401.05.

(3) An applicant for an operator’s permit who served on active duty in the Armed Forces of the United States and was discharged under conditions other than dishonorable may submit to the Department of Motor Vehicles, along with any other documentation required by this chapter, a DD Form 214, a WD AGO form, or a DD256 form certifying the applicant’s veteran status. Upon receipt of this documentation, the Department of Motor Vehicles shall display the word “veteran” in capital letters on the applicant’s operator’s permit.

(c) Any individual to whom a license or permit to operate a motor vehicle has been issued shall have the license or permit in his or her immediate possession at all times while operating a motor vehicle in the District of Columbia and shall exhibit the license or permit to any police officer upon demand. Any person who fails to comply with the requirements of this subsection shall, upon conviction, be fined not less than $10 nor more than $50.

(d) No individual shall operate a motor vehicle in the District, except as provided in § 50-1401.02, without first having obtained an operator’s permit, learner’s permit, provisional permit, or a motorcycle endorsement if operating a motorcycle, issued under the provisions of this subchapter and Title 18 of the District of Columbia Municipal Regulations. Except as provided in subsection (d-1) of this section, any individual violating any provision of this subsection shall be fined not more than the amount set forth in § 22-3571.01 or shall be imprisoned not more than 90 days.

(d-1) Any individual who operates a motor vehicle with a District of Columbia permit expired for not more than 90 days shall be subject to a civil fine of not more than $100 pursuant to §§ 50-2301.04(b) and 50-2301.05, and shall not be subject to the criminal penalties contained in subsection (d) of this section.

(e) Nothing in this subchapter shall relieve any individual from compliance with § 47-2829(e).

(f) For purposes of this section and §§ 50-1401.02 and 50-1403.01, 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.

(g) [Expired].

(h)(1) The Department shall not require an applicant to complete a course of driver instruction before the issuance of a license or permit under this section, § 50-1401.03, or § 50-1401.05, unless the required course of driver's instruction is available without charge to all:

(A) Public school students and public charter school students; and

(B) Low-income applicants.

(2) At least 90 days before requiring a course of driver instruction pursuant to paragraph (1) of this subsection, the Mayor, pursuant to subchapter I of Chapter 5 of Title 2, shall issue rules to implement paragraph (1) of this subsection. The proposed rules shall be submitted to the Council for a 45-day period of review, excluding Saturdays, Sundays, legal holidays, and days of Council recess. If the Council does not approve or disapprove the proposed rules by resolution within the 45-day period, the proposed rules shall be deemed approved.

(i) The Department shall allow applicants for a license, permit, or identification card issued pursuant to this section, § 50-1401.03, or § 50-1401.05 to designate their gender as nonbinary.