The Straight Scoop on Traffic Tickets in Washington
Traffic tickets happen. Even to the best drivers. When it does, there is a lot of information online about how to “beat” a speeding ticket. But be careful what you believe!
Urban legends abound, but in the end nothing beats the advice of an experienced attorney who can give you case-specific advice about your specific situation. If you receive a traffic ticket in King/Snohomish/Skagit County the following guide will help you understand your options:
Should you contest the infraction?
This is an individual decision that you need to make based upon your personal circumstances. However, if an infraction on your record will result in a loss of license, impact your employment, or raise your insurance premiums then contesting the infraction will probably be worth the time and expense. If you do plan to content the infraction then hiring the personal injury attorney Russell & Hill, PLLC would be your best bet at winning the contested infraction.
Should you hire an attorney?
Again, this is an individual decision for you to make but I usually advise prospective clients to inquire with their insurance company about what effect a ticket might have on their premiums. Once you know this, you can perform a proper cost-benefit analysis. Some insurance companies provide waivers or “forgiveness” for drivers with good histories. If you qualify for this, then perhaps the effect of a traffic ticket on your record will not be too great.
On the other hand, if a ticket would increase your monthly premium then you should consider how this stacks up against the cost of hiring a professional. Legal representation in a traffic ticket in the King/Snohomish/Skagit County area will typically range from around $200 – $300. If your potential net increase in insurance premiums will be more than the cost of hiring an attorney then it will be money well spent!
You can certainly represent yourself, but keep in mind that the court will hold you to the same standard as an attorney and if you are not experienced with court rules and statutory interpretation your chances of success are limited. If you do decide to go it alone, keep in mind that there is a relatively low standard of proof and the judge is most likely going to believe a police officer in these types of situations. So do not expect to win many traffic ticket cases with a simple denial. On a head to head comparison of factual allegations, the judge will believe the police officer over you in almost every case.
The benefits of hiring a traffic ticket attorney
If you hire an experienced traffic ticket attorney, you will not need to take time out of your life/work to appear in court. Your attorney will appear on your behalf. In addition, your attorney will perform a complete analysis of the statutory requirements, police report(s), and speed measuring device certifications and will make all possible arguments to the judge and/or prosecutor.
What outcome can you expect from an attorney?
A good traffic ticket attorney will help you obtain the best possible outcome in your case. The first goal is always to obtain an outright dismissal of the case based on incomplete police reports or lack of proper foundational records. This would result in no court fine and no reporting to the Department of Licensing or your insurance company. While dismissal occur in a large number of cases, it is not possible in every case if the officer wrote a full report and all necessary records are in order.
If a dismissal is not possible, your attorney will attempt to negotiate with the prosecuting attorney to obtain a reduction and/or amendment to a non-moving violation. The process of such negotiation will vary from court to court, but this will typically still result in imposition of a court fine. Depending upon your prior traffic history, it may be necessary to negotiate a fine amount that is greater than the face value of the original ticket. Even if the fine is higher, the end result of most negotiations is that the ticket will stay off your record and not raise your insurance rates.
How to get started?
If you have a traffic ticket in King/Snohomish/Skagit County and you have any questions at all about what to do or how to proceed you should call an expert to discuss your case for free. Attorney Adam Yanasak is friendly and helpful, and he would be happy to speak to you on the phone at no cost to discuss all these matters in greater detail. In some instances he can direct you to useful resources that might allow you to resolve the case without the need to hire a lawyer at all.
Do not let a traffic ticket get you down. A 5 minute, no obligation phone call could help put your mind at ease and may even be able save you hundreds of dollars in the long run.
Russell & Hill, PLLC: Spokane Personal Injury & Disability Attorneys
1212 N Washington St #122