Thursday, November 4, 2010

Is There Another Car With Your Car's License Plate Number?

What happens when you get a automated ticket for running a red light, and the picture has your license plate number, but it's not your car? How do you dispute that kind of ticket? For that matter, how can another car have the exact same license plate number as your vehicle?  Something is definitely wrong here, but what that something is remains unknown. And it seems that having another car with your license plate number isn't uncommon in DC. Here's the first hand account of what happened, as posted on the Cleveland Park Listserv:

Maybe it was just a Halloween trick but I have just received a red light ticket in the mail for $150. Aside from not being at the time/place stated on the photo, the car photographed isn't mine nor it matches the description to my vehicle. However, I was surprised to see that the close up of the license plate does match mine.
Could it be that someone duplicated my license tags without me knowing it?
And the follow-up message:
I was saddened to see that my case is rather common among DC ticketing adventures. I would like to note that I did stopped by the 2nd district on 10/31 to report a suspicion that someone illegally duplicated my tags and was said that my tags = my car, matching to my actual vehicle or not and that the police do not deal with this type of case. The officers wished me luck dealing with the DMV. Unfortunately, aside from adjudication of the ticket DMV doesn't provide any information on reporting duplicated tags.


  1. The old... blame it on the "faked plate" on the non-existent car excuse!

  2. In 2009, I twice received notices of unpaid parking tickets for one of my automobiles which was not in DC on either of the days that the tickets were supposedly issued. In both cases, the automobile described on the ticket was completely different from my registered vehicle. I successfully navigated a challenge on the first ticket, but had to pay certified mail costs for the two letters which I sent to DMV. After the second ticket (which I mailed, certified, one day late so was denied a dismissal of the ticket), I went to DMV and demanded that I be issued new plates. Of course, I was treated like scum and told I would have to pay for new plates. I had a theory that when the plates were issued there was a run of duplications. Or it was the usual DMV graft at work. Inspired by the earlier poster, I am now going to make a formal complaint to head of DMV and also to Mary Cheh's office.

  3. My assistant once got a red light ticket in the mail with a photo of his license plate. Not only was the plate attached to a car that wasn't his but the photo was taken 100 miles from where he lived...and photographed at a day and time when he was sitting at his desk a few feet from me. It was a mess to unravel but he got it taken care of. Yes, duplicate plates and fake plates are illegally made and sold. Also actual license plates, particularly in states where front and back plates are required, are stolen; it's happening in remote areas of shopping malls and restaurant parking lots and some valet parking attendants steal and sell them. (This was a big problem at one restaurant I once frequented.) Regularly checking your car to ensure your plates are there might sound moronic but makes sense.

  4. I'm currently running into the same problem. I donated a vehicle back in 2008 due to the engine being blown, turned in my DC tags and cancelled insurance. At the end of 2010 I received a citation from DC DMV, having moved state and been through 2 other vehicles since then. The citation was dated June 2010 and had a description matching the car I had donated 18 months prior with the license plate number I had when I owned it. I no longer have the donation receipt or the DC DMV receipt of tags, so I really don't know what to do.