DMV intercepts tax refunds to pay non-outstanding speed tickets

WASHINGTON (WJLA) -- Jocelynn Johnson was miffed when she got not one, but three speeding tickets from a camera on New York Avenue in the span of a month:

“To me, D.C. is all about the money, it's just about the money.” She decided to challenge them all.

More than one year later, Johnson is still waiting for the DMV to respond, while the District tax office tells her the lack of payment is intercepting her tax refund to pay the $400 bill.

“I thought that was messed up," she said. "They took it before I had the chance to appeal.”

She called '7 On Your Side' after seeing she wasn’t alone. Jason Hair waited more than one year after challenging his speed camera ticket, and the DMV grabbed his tax return before even considering his request.

“They took the money without my knowledge or approval to pay this, and I wasn't even guilty yet," he said.

At the time, the DMV told us that it was an “isolated technical glitch,” but that isn't what it told Councilwoman Mary Cheh’s office -- that there have been a handful of cases, so it's more than two -- it's a number of cases.

And on Tuesday, the DMV told ABC7 something different, yet again:

"Since every D.C. DMV customer case is evaluated on an individual basis, the agency has not tracked cases in the manner you are requesting."

So how exactly does this happen? It turns out that the DMV gains the authority to ask the District to intercept tax refunds to collect on long outstanding tickets. The problem is, the tickets we are talking about weren’t even overdue.

"It's not supposed to work like that," said Councilwoman Cheh. "Its not fair that it works like that, and we have to figure out why it's happening."