Bad Things Happen To Good People
Although traffic tickets are civil, non-criminal, infractions, their aggravating impact on your driving record, employment and insurance premium rates make them more than a mere annoyance. Teenage drivers are subject to the “three strikes you’re out” blow that traffic tickets have on their right to drive.
Flat Fee Retainer • No Office Visit • No Court Appearance
Our traffic ticket defense attorney, Fred Hopkins, has limited his practice to the defense of traffic tickets throughout the district and municipal courts of King, Pierce, Snohomish, Skagit and Whatcom counties since 2002. He is consistently rated as Excellent by his clients in their reviews of their representation. His representation is done on a flat fee basis. There is no office visit and your presence at the courthouse is waived.
What to Do If You Receive a Ticket
If you received a copy of a traffic infraction (a ticket) from a police officer, it is a non-criminal offense for which jail cannot be imposed. You must respond to the infraction within fifteen (15) days from the date it is issued to you. Your mailed response must be mailed no later than midnight on the day the response is due, or you can submit it in person by the due date. You must check one of the boxes on your copy of the ticket and return it to the courthouse location listed on the front of the ticket. Here is what the hearing boxes mean on the front of the ticket:
- (a) Mitigation Hearing-No Attorney Necessary. Check the box indicating you agree you committed the violation(s) and want a mitigation hearing to explain the circumstances. You will be sent a court date and you are promising to appear for the hearing. This violation will go onto your driving record if “traffic” is check on the front of the ticket (except for traffic camera violations, parking violations, and deferred findings). In some cases the court may allow time payments or reduction of the penalty. The request for a mitigation hearing must be sent to the courthouse location listed on the front of the ticket.
- (b) Contested Hearing-Attorney Representation Recommended. Check the box indicating you want to contest (challenge) any/all of the violation(s) listed on the ticket. You will be sent a court date and you are promising to appear for the hearing. The city/state must prove by a preponderance of the evidence that you committed the violation(s). You can request witnesses, including the officer who issued the ticket, to appear at the hearing. You must contact the court to find out how to request a subpoena for a witness to appear at the hearing. If the court finds you committed the violation, the violation will go onto your driving record if “traffic” is check on the front of the ticket (except for traffic camera violations, parking violations, and deferred findings). The request for a contested hearing must be sent to the courthouse location listed on the front of the ticket.
Defendants Have the Option of Being Represented at the Contested Hearing
The Contested Hearing is a formal court trial. The prosecuting authority must prove it followed procedural rules involving the filing of the ticket, the notice of hearing to the defendant, and timing of the hearing. The Rules of Evidence also apply to the admission of the ticket, statements made by the parties and such things as the admission of the radar results if applicable. The prosecuting jurisdiction is represented by a prosecuting attorney at the hearing. The citizen charged with the traffic offense has the option of being represented by counsel at the trial. Since the offense is not criminal in nature, public attorneys are not available to defend the charge.
Teenage Drivers’ Three Strikes You’re out Laws
Washington State grants teenage drivers a probationary license to drive if they are under the age of eighteen years. Known as the “three strikes you’re out” system for repeat offenders, the following is a summary of the restrictions placed on a teenager’s right to drive as infractions accumulate on his/her driving record:
- Strike One: Passenger and nighttime restrictions for one year;
- Strike Two: License suspended for 6 months (or until you reach age 18);
- Strike Three: License suspended until age 18