D.C. Arrests Thousands for Expired Tags

Thursday, October 20th, 2011

So it’s worse than initially reported.

The D.C. police department has released preliminary statistics on the controversial practice of arresting drivers whose vehicles are unregistered or have expired registration. The numbers indicate that the practice is more widespread than previously thought, with several arrests per day on average.

In the one-year period starting Oct. 1, 2009, records indicate that 2,163 persons were arrested in the District for expired tags. In the subsequent year, ending in September, arrests declined dramatically, to 1,334.

Funny thing about numbers. The article notes that of those 3,500 people arrested, only about 250 were actually put in a jail cell. The disparity between the two numbers first evoked in me an, “Oh, well that’s not so bad” reaction. So just consider that latter number on its own: Over two years, 250 people were jailed in D.C. for having expired license plates. Absurd.

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15 Responses to “D.C. Arrests Thousands for Expired Tags”

  1. #1 |  omar | 

    What physically happens when you are arrested but not put in jail?

  2. #2 |  Lior | 

    The police miraculously obtain the right to search your person and car without a warrant, ostensibly for “officer safety”.

  3. #3 |  Greg | 

    And I assume much of the time your car is towed and the nice company that has D.C.’s towing contract gets $150 or so when you are released.

  4. #4 |  Danny | 

    Meanwhile, Scalia boasts about his plan to overturn Kelo.

  5. #5 |  Charlie O | 

    This is obviously a police department with too much time on its hands. That coupled with a lot of the other goofy arrests reported here. Maybe it’s time for DC to either 1) start focusing on REAL crime or 2) start culling the herd. If they have time to waste on this crap, time to shed some jobs. You know, for less government.

  6. #6 |  SJE | 

    I wonder what they did with Marion Barry. He is delinquent with the IRS, and his car was not registered for years. Jail time?

  7. #7 |  CB | 

    > D.C.’s towing contract gets $150 or so when you are released.

    A buck and a half would be a “bargain!” It’s $500 in Portland, Oregon, where I live!

    #5: The latter (culling the herd)! But it will never happen because the state and police are far more effective at creating crime and the fear of crime than actually twarting crime. It’s all part of “The Most Dangerous Superstition” (Larken Rose). It keeps the state, including the police, in charge of everyone and growing.

  8. #8 |  Dante | 

    As a resident of the DC area, I once witnessed a co-worker get arrested for expired tags. The officer was rude, impatient, unprofessional, and downright nasty. When he put the cuffs on her, he started mocking her with “who is the big shot now?” and the like.

    That was in 1989. This has been going on for decades. Meanwhile, during that same time period, DC was known as the “Murder Capital” because of all the daily, unsolved, street murders. The police ignored those because, well, street thugs are much harder and more dangerous to take down than 25 year old, physically attractive secretaries with paperwork errors.

    People often ask why I feel the police are pond scum. Come visit DC, and you won’t have to ask any more.

    Protect & Serve (Themselves!)

  9. #9 |  Mannie | 

    The Arresting Industry is supporting the Jail Industry. One hand washes the other.

    OTOH, when I got stopped in Indiana for a missing tag, that I had left in my glovebox, the cop actually went behind my car and applied the sticker.

  10. #10 |  C. S. P. Schofield | 

    The Washington DC government has been absurd for some time. I doubt it started with “local rule”, but having a raft of elected officials nominally running things while Congress (no matter which party holds the power) micro-meddles can’t help.

    I was living in DC during Marion Barry’s “comeback”. I always wondered whether he might have made a good mayor and kept his hands clean if he hadn’t had the cruel luck to be elected in a city where, things being as they were, he would not actually have any authority to go with his responsibility. As I came to understand it, about the only policy decisions he was allowed to make involved steering contracts to his friends.

  11. #11 |  John C. Randolph | 

    I always wondered whether he might have made a good mayor

    Nah. He was a money-grubbing douchebag. Of course, even money-grubbing douchebags should get thrown in jail for the crimes they’ve decided to commit, not the ones the FBI concocts to frame them.


  12. #12 |  olde reb | 

    I share no great love for the police, but I wonder if the article might not tell the whole story. Were the citations often included with (or instead of) other (alleged) violations, such as speeding, failure to yield, running into a telephone pole, etc. Did the arrests involve DUI, running over the old lady in the wheel chair, driving throught the plate glass window, etc.?

  13. #13 |  kyl | 

    Anybody ever heard of “extortion” or “protection racket?” That’s the only reason such laws exist. Pay them voluntarily whatever they tell you to and they won’t send men with guns to your home to collect and drag you even further into their corrupt system. Unless they decide to kill your dog and taser you to death. Awful lot of that going on these days.

    LEOs are no longer peace officers. They are hired thugs employed by elected thugs, contemptuous of the citizens they claim to “Serve and Protect”, pure and simple.

  14. #14 |  Contrarian | 

    Got this today from my Councilmember:
    “As you may have read, there were concerns over the past few weeks about the discretion some MPD officers exercised in regard to arrests for individuals driving with expired license plates. On Tuesday, the Council unanimously voted on an emergency measure to temporarily prohibit these kinds of arrests from happening. Over the coming months, we will work to make this permanent.”

  15. #15 |  Alice Lillie | 

    To put someone in jail for *that* is way over the top. I doubt it happened even in the USSR. “Only” 250 people is 250 too many.

    Why do we even have to have the tags anyway? They do not add to road safety *at all.* Can anyone spell *C-A-S-H C-O-W?* It is government greed.