WASHINGTON -- Metropolitan Police Department Chief Cathy Lanier agrees with the District of Columbia's law on expired car license tags, but admits that its policy relating to arrests may need to be reviewed. The little-known law has been under scrutiny after a series of incidents where drivers have been arrested and hauled off to jail for expired registration, prompting a letter U.S. Sen Jim Webb (D-Va.) sent to D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray (D) last week, asking him probe the matter. The mayor, in his response, said the city will review its law: "Once our review is completed, if an alteration to the law is needed, I will work with the Council of the District of Columbia to ensure that it is done in an efficient and appropriate manner."
According to WTOP, Lanier said that although there is a 30-day grace period already in place for expired tags, "I think we could go with a longer grace period because some people, through oversight, can miss getting that registration."
She said that a 90-day grace period may be "reasonable."
The Washington Post this week detailed the situation of a naval officer who was arrested, handcuffed and detained in a holding cell for driving a car with expired Florida license registration, noting that the "District may be the only place in the nation where police are authorized to arrest drivers if their plates are more than 30 days out of date." In another situation, a mother was arrested on the way to pick her child up from school in the Palisades and was told that another child riding in the car would be turned over to a social service agency until she was released.