Around 4:40 p.m., the driver entered the restricted area, behind a motorcade that included President Barack Obama's two daughters, who go to school nearby, according to a source familiar with the incident.
Obama was inside the White House at the time, with his schedule indicating he was meeting with Secretary of State John Kerry.
The driver was stopped by uniformed officers at the outer perimeter of a checkpoint at 17th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue and taken into custody, according to a U.S. Secret Service spokesperson. The Secret Service said that 55-year-old male driver was eventually charged with unlawful entry.
The source familiar with the incident said the driver holds a pass for the U.S. Treasury building, which sits next to the White House on Pennsylvania Avenue.
About one hour after it began, journalists inside the White House were told the lockdown had been lifted. Video from the scene showed a gray Honda Civic with its doors, hood and trunk opened as authorities looked in and around it.
Due to tight security at the home of the President, even minor breaches can bring a lockdown.
In February, for instance, there was a lockdown after a man tried to jump the White House fence. Authorities gave an all-clear after checking his briefcase and taking him into custody.
A more intense situation occurred last October, when a woman drove a black Infiniti with her 1-year-old child inside into a security barrier and Secret Service officer near the White House. Police pursued her through some of Washington's most famous streets until she was shot and killed by police near the U.S. Capitol; her child was unharmed and taken into protective custody.