When you receive your Washington State speeding ticket the officer will tell you if it is a mandatory court appearance or if you can pay your fine by mail with a money order. A mandatory court appearance means you have committed a serious offense and need to contact a Washington State traffic attorney for advice. Generally it is best to contest any traffic ticket but that is your decision and depends on your record and whether the Washington State speeding ticket will increase your insurance premiums.
In general, most courts in Washington State do not allow traffic school to keep a speeding ticket off your record so that is not an option. If you are a good driver with no violations, you may want to consider paying the fine and taking a deferment. This is an option allowed by Washington State Law. Whether you will be granted a deferment is left completely to the discretion of the judge. If you do not receive another speeding ticket for a period of time (usually one year, the original ticket will not be reported on your MVR. This can backfire if you receive another ticket in the one year period since they will both be on your record with a corresponding major auto insurance rate increase. You can only take a deferment once every seven years so you may want to save this option for a serious violation. If you appear in court, the judge is likely to reduce the ticket and we always recommend that you at least appear in court, even for minor speeding tickets.
If you decide to contest your ticket start by researching the exact statute of the violation. The statute number is on the ticket. If it is a state statute you can find it at Washington State speeding ticket laws. If it is a county or city ordinance contact the court or local library. You may need to obtain a copy of your driving record from the DMV. Often judges will be lenient if you produce a clean driving record. Contact your insurance agent if you need to know how much this ticket is likely to effect your insurance premiums. If you drive a company car or have insurance coverage with certain carriers a speeding ticket of 10+ over the limit can be a serious matter.
Should you hire a Washington State speeding ticket attorney to fight your speeding ticket? How to fight a speeding ticket is purely an economic decision that only you can make. It is a fact your insurance company will raise your rates depending on your MVR. Employers often check an applicants driving record and several speeding tickets can cost you that new position or even get you fired from your present job. Speeding tickets remain on your record for three years so you need to evaluate the three year cost of additional insurance premiums against the cost of an attorney. A Washington attorney normally charges between $250 and $400 for a speeding violation and the chances of a reduction are excellent depending on your particular circumstances
Washington State Traffic Court
You may wish to check the recent court rules relating to infractions. Washington State Traffic Court Rules. These are the rules that the officer, the prosecutor, the court and you must follow in infraction cases. Some courts have local infraction rules as well.
You have fifteen days to pay the Washington State speeding ticket or notify the court you wish to appear. If you decide to appear, you may request a mitigation hearing or a trial. The ticket is considered a determination you committed the violation and no further evidence is necessary to convict you of the charge. Unless you have a very good defense, you will lose. If you do not have a Washing State attorney, your best option may be to negotiate with the judge for a reduced charge at a mitigation hearing. There is no prosecutor and the officer does not have to appear.
In Washington State the officer is not required to attend the hearing. However he is required to file a written report and he or she is required to file the citation with the court within five business days. You can check with the clerk of court to see when your speeding ticket was filed with the court and whether his/her report is on file.
The new law requires the judge to dismiss the Washington State speeding ticket if it is not filed within the five day limit. However, you will have to appear and make a motion for dismissal.
Washington State Speeding Ticket Attorneys
Seattle Traffic Ticket Attorney
Western Washington State Speeding Ticket Ticket Lawyer
If you need to consult a Washington State attorney on a traffic ticket matter in Western Washington, we highly recommend Donaldson & Knigge, LLC out of Seattle. Lisa Donaldson has been handling infractions for over 20 years and has an excellent record of success.
Donaldson & Knigge, LLC offers a free phone consultation and charges a flat fee of $295.00 for most infractions in King, Pierce or Snohomish counties. Rates for other Western Washington counties are slightly higher. Mention our web site and they will give you a $10 discount.
Donaldson & Knigge
210 Summit Avenue East
Seattle, WA 98102
Donaldson & Knigge focus on the Washington State counties of King, Pierce and Snohomish, however, they do regularly practice in all Western Washington State traffic courts.
Washington Reckless Driving
The Washington reckless driving statute is RCW 46.61.500
(1) Any person who drives any vehicle in willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property is guilty of reckless driving. Violation of the provisions of this section is a gross misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment of not more than one year and by a fine of not more than five thousand dollars.
(2) The license or permit to drive or any nonresident privilege of any person convicted of reckless driving shall be suspended by the department for not less than thirty days.
During the suspension of your Washington drivers license for reckless driving, you are not eligible for a hardship permit or a temporary restricted license. In order to reinstate your drivers license, you have to obtain an SR-22 insurance policy and maintain it for a period of three years at a much higher rate than normal Washington auto insurance. It is also a major violation subjecting you to habitual offender sanctions.
Under Washington State's Habitual Offender Law if you get three or more major violations within any five-year period, your license will be revoked for seven years.
PREVENT FUTURE TRAFFIC TICKETS
Purchasing a quality radar detector and laser detector and learning how to use it can help prevent future traffic tickets. Click HERE to see our radar and laser detector recommendations. NOTE: The use of radar detectors is illegal in Washington State
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Washington Driver License Point System
Washington State does not use a driver license point system. Drivers with multiple speeding tickets or other traffic offenses could still lose their driving privileges if they receive too many traffic tickets. These violations will also be reported on your driving record, which usually lead to a dramatic increase in insurance premiums.
If a Washington State driver has four moving violations in one year, or five moving violations within two years, his license will usually be put on probation for one year. If a Washington State driver has six or more moving violations in one year, his license will usually be suspended for 60 days. For multiple violations or criminal traffic offenses, a driver could be placed into the status of a “habitual traffic offender” and lose his license for several years.
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