The District of Columbia Fire and Emergency Medical Services (FEMS) issues Notices of Infraction for violations of the Fire Prevention Code. FEMS then files these Notices with the Office of Administrative Hearings.
Persons receiving such Notices file their responses and payments with the Office of Administrative Hearings, which resolves any challenges to the Notices. The instructions on the Notices explain that you can “admit” (take responsibility and pay the fine), “admit with explanation” (take responsibility but offer an explanation that the administrative law judge might take into account in deciding a fine) or “deny” (take no responsibility). If you “admit with explanation,” FEMS will be given a chance to respond to your explanation and then the administrative law judge will decide the case based on the papers submitted. If you “deny,” an in-person hearing is scheduled at which FEMS and you can present evidence.
Close attention should be paid to the instructions on the Notices of Infraction. There are deadlines for responding to the notices. There is a penalty for responding after the deadline. There is also a penalty if you “deny,” a hearing is scheduled, and you fail to appear for the hearing.
Administrative law judges issue a written decision for every case that is contested. The decisions below are examples of some issues raised in Office of Administrative Hearings’ cases involving this agency. You can review these decisions to get a sense of how prior cases were decided.
Please note that the facts of each case are different. These cases should be used for informational purposes only.
- Fire and Emergency Med. Servs. v. Stancil, March 28, 2007 (imposing fines and penalties for deficiencies in the fire alarm system and violations of the fire code regulations)
- Fire and Emergency Med. Servs. v. Ghana Cafe, December 12, 2008 (imposing fines for disobeying a lawful command to extinguish a fire and failing to remedy a hazardous condition)
- Fire and Emergency Med. Servs. v. Kramer, March 20, 2009 (dismissing Notice of Infraction alleging violations of the fire code regulations in connection with a fireplace)
Administrative law judges base their decisions upon many sources of law, chief among them the District of Columbia laws (DC Official Code) and the District of Columbia regulations (DCMR). Depending on the type of case, federal law (US Code) and federal regulations (CFR) may also be relevant. Cases decided on the issues in other courts, especially the District of Columbia Court of Appeals, are relevant.
- General—Blank Submission Form
- General—Certificate of Service (in English and en Español)
- General—Customer Survey Form
- General—Electronic Filing Cover Sheet
- General—Subpoena Form (sample only)
- General—Notice of Appearance for Lawyers
- General—Request for a Different Hearing Date (in English and en Español)
- General—Request to Participate by Telephone (in English and en Español)
- General—Request for Audio Recording of Hearing