Traffic Infractions / Speeding Tickets In Kitsap County?

How to respond to non-criminal traffic infractions.

We have handled hundreds of speeding tickets over the years, but understand that not all clients want to hire a lawyer for a speeding ticket or other non-criminal case.

If you are going to fight a speeding ticket yourself, consult the law and the court rules for infraction cases.

How can you handle your own traffic case? First, always respond in time. The ticket will tell you the time you have to respond, usually 14 days. If you don’t respond in time, the ticket will be found committed and the fine imposed. Many courts also charge an additional fee (up to $52) for your failure to respond.

Generally you have four choices to resolve infractions:

  1. Pay the ticket. You can mail the ticket with payment and have no other obligations. The ticket will be deemed committed, and appear on your driver’s abstract (depending on the type of ticket).
  2. Ask for a deferred disposition. With some limits, most tickets are eligible. You can normally make this request at either a contested or mitigated hearing, call the court clerk before the hearing and make sure the judge allows a petition for deferred at your hearing. Courts charge their own fees, commonly around $200. This means the ticket can be dismissed after a year or less, if you have no other infractions. A driver is only allowed one deferred (one for moving violations, one for non moving violations) in 7 years, so use it wisely.
  3. Contest the charge. Send the ticket back with a request for a contested hearing. Talk to the court clerk about how to get a copy of the officer’s report, because it will be used as evidence against you. Also, you can subpoena witnesses including the officer if you need them to prove your case. Ask the clerk for assistance in getting subpoenas properly signed and served. A contested hearing is like a trial. The government may have a prosecutor there (in Kitsap they will). If the judge finds, my a ‘more likely than not’ standard, that you committed the infraction, she will find the infraction committed and it will appear on your driver’s record. You will likely be assessed the full amount of the original fine.
  4. Ask for mitigation. The judge will find the infraction committed, it will appear on your driving record. But the judge will usually reduce the amount of the fine. The reduction is rarely more than about 30% of the original fine, but different rules apply to different infractions.

Every case is different, every client’s priorities are different, and we recommend you make a fully informed decision about how to handle your case! Please be aware infraction law is very complex and has many, many variables. The information above is generic and may not apply exactly in your case. Do not accept it in the place of actual legal advice from an attorney who has reviewed the facts and law of your individual case.

If you don’t want to fight the ticket yourself, we handle traffic infraction in Kitsap County courts. If your case is not in Kitsap County, we are happy to recommend these fine attorneys who handle infractions.

Martin Duenholter, Tacoma

Kenlynn Gallinger, Gig Harbor

Doug Silva, Renton