How does the Office Attorney General in the District of Columbia prove that you did not have a permit to drive in the District?
This question comes up even with some experienced lawyers because if you think about how does prosecutor prove that I do not have a license in one of the other 50 states. You are thinking well I can win because they are not going to call the representative from the State in which I live to prove that I did not have a permit. Well not so. A no Permit Charge is one of the few criminal cases where the burden shifts to the defendant to prove that you have a license once the prosecutors proves you did not have a license in the District of Columbia.
Typical No permit Trial
The prosecutor calls two witness to prove a new permit charge:
1) The police officer who stopped you while driving;
2) The Department of Motor Vehicle representative ( This person testifies as the custodial of records for Department of Motor Vehicles in the District of Columbia that you did not have a license to drive in the District of Columbia.)
The Law in the District of Columbia that shifts the Burden
In Bush v. District of Columbia, 78 A.2d 243 (D.C. 1951), the court upheld the No Permit charge. The Court in Bush stated “we have ruled that ‘where a person claims to fall within the exception to a statute, this is a matter of defense and must be shown by the defendant, and it is not the duty of the government to either allege or prove that the defendant does not come within the exemption.’” The non-resident exemption is found in D.C. Code §50-1401.02. So you see if you are charged with no permit in the District of Columbia, the burden will shift to you once the prosecutor proves you did not have a license in the District of Columbia.
Rollins and Chan Law Firm
Secondary phone: 855-816-0953