Sunday, April 27, 2008

hey, government works!

ok, i know, i should have warned you to sit down before reading this. i don't want to be responsible for anyone having a heart attack or fainting spell because of reading this! but, listen to this wonderful story of dealing with an agency of the government of the district of columbia...

on june 17th, 2007, the registration on my car was set to expire. sometime well in advance of that date, the dmv sent me a notice warning me of that fact, and let me know that i could renew my registration either online or though standard post. well, being the luddite i am, i chose to renew through the mail. the registration notice told me to allow 15 days for processing of this feature. i sent the renewal form and payment in with plenty of time to spare, yet i didn't receive my new registration card and sticker when june 17th rolled around. "curious," i thought, and gave less thought than perhaps necessary to this conundrum. more than a week went by, and still no information about my registration from the dmv. i even called to make sure they received the paperwork, and i was given an affirmative, and that "the sticker is in the mail."

on the day of june 28th, i got home and checked the mail. an envelope from the district government! my registration had arrived! i turned and walked down the block to where i had left my car, and what did i see but a little pink slip of paper tucked under the passenger-side windshield wiper. the citation was for "failing to display a current registration sticker," which was impossible to do up until the day the dc dmv finally bequeathed that gift upon me.

let's just say i was a little angry.

i penned a letter to the dmv's adjudication service, insisting that, since i had sent in my renewal form on time, the fault lay with the district for not getting my renewal sticker to me on time. i was sure i had a slam-dunk case, can't lose proof that i didn't deserve the $100 ticket for not having a current registration displayed. i sat back and waited for the summary judgment in my favor.

if i had remained seated, i wouldn't have left my chair for over 9 months.

i checked back on the dmv's website a few times in the ensuing months, looking to see if a record check would let me know that i had sucessfully appealed the citation. there was nothing to indicate a ruling one way or another. after probably 3 months, i quit looking. i guess i figured that, if there was going to be further movement on this, i would find out about it some other way.

two weeks ago, the unexpected happened.

a letter from the dmv arrived in my mailbox. it was a "hearing record" from the dmv! the case has been settled. now at least i would know if i really had to fork over $100 to the city to end my delinquency, or if i was clean as a newly fallen snow in the eyes of the bureaucracy. the anticipation was killing me as i worked the envelope open.

inside, hearing examiner m. harris informed me of the news of the day. ticket dismissed! i was a free man, with no outstanding obligations to the government of the district of colombia, and specifically to it's department of motor vehicles. finally, the weight had been lifted off my chest. i had proof that the system works, and that, if pursued, justice is out there.

two days ago, i received a renewal notice from the department of motor vehicles...

1 comment:

14th & You said...

I don't know. I once parked at a meter and fed it only to get a ticket for blocking a building entrance. I lost when I tried to appeal. Recently, many people's stickers were delayed b/c of some DMV screw-up. The Department pro-actively acknowledged the error and sent letters out to re-assure vehicle owners that their stickers were coming. I know of at least one man who was ticketed despite having the DMV letter sitting on his dash. It is good tho that your situation was resolved. There's hope after all!