If you get a ticket for an equipment violation, many people wonder if they need to fight it or just pay the ticket. To answer that, you need to understand the difference between a moving and a non-moving violation.
Washington vehicle law, RCW 308-104-360 defines a moving violation as “any violation of vehicle laws listed in this section that is committed by the driver of a vehicle, while the vehicle is moving.” The law then lists 75 violations that come under the “moving violations” definition.
All other violations that are not listed in the code are non-moving violations, and they are treated differently under the law. Washington law allows for all tickets reported to the DMV from the courts to be considered by the insurance companies in determining a person’s premium rate. However, non-moving violations are not reported to the DMV and thus do not count against you for your insurance rate.
Most of the non-moving violations fall into two broad categories, the first are “paperwork” violations, some of the most common are:
- Expired tabs,
- No registration,
- No operator’s license on person
- License expired
Another category are those that deal with the vehicle being up to safety codes. Some of the most common of these are:
- Lights, signals not working
- Improper muffler,
- Improperly tinted windows,
- Wipers not working,
- Bald tires,
- Vehicle not safe to drive.
Should I Just Pay the Ticket?
What should I do if I get a fix-it or other non-moving violation?
Don’t Ignore: If you ignore, you can incur other fees and costs and may have difficulty when you go to renew your license.
Just pay it: In most cases, if you just pay the ticket, you are out the fine and court fees, but shouldn’t have your insurance rate adversely impacted, and you are in not threat of losing your license over non-moving violation convictions.
Fight it: You can “fight” the ticket by going to court to show that the officer was mistaken and you didn’t commit the non-moving violation. This is tough to do, and you have to have a hearing in front of a judge.
Fix-It/Dismissal: The other is to show up to court with proof that you fixed the problem, and many times the court will dismiss the ticket. This is up to the prosecutor and ultimately the judge. In some cases, the court will dismiss the ticket but still charge you a dismissal fee that is less than the fine and costs of a non-moving ticket conviction.
Washington Law treats moving violations differently. Unlike most states, Washington state doesn’t have “point” program for insurance companies to follow. Rather it leaves that up to the insurance companies. However, all moving violations are sent to the DMV and thus can be seen and used by insurance companies.
Don’t Pay That Ticket!
If you just send the ticket in with a check or pay it online, it will be much more costly than if you let a qualified attorney handle it. The truth is, the ticket itself is not the full cost of getting a failure to stop conviction on your record. The fine varies from county to county could roughly be anywhere from $100 (plus court and assessment fees) to over $200.
But it doesn’t end there. In Washington State, the insurance company will increase your rate by an average of 20 to 25 percent.
If you pay around $150 a month for insurance, then it will go up around $30 each month which will be around a $1,000 increase in a three-year period.
The worst thing to do is to just pay the ticket. When you get the citation from the officer, you have three options under Washington State Law:
- Pay the ticket in full: By doing this, you agree that you did the offense and the ticket goes on your record.
- Request Mitigation: This option allows you to explain your circumstances in front of a magistrate who can reduce your fine, but you are still admitting that you committed the violation, and the ticket goes on your record.
- Contest the Ticket: Here you are saying that you did not do what the ticket says and you want to fight it in court. You can check the appropriate box and mail the ticket in or you can call the number on your ticket. If you choose this, you will be given a pre-hearing settlement conference where you will talk to someone from the prosecutor’s office. Then if you don’t like what they are offering, you will get your day in court in front of a judge.
What if I Just Ignore the Ticket?
In Washington State, a traffic ticket is a civil violation and not a criminal offense, so you won’t get a warrant for your arrest like you don in other states. However, If you don’t do anything, eventually the court will send your ticket to a collection company, and you will have to pay excess fines and lose your right to contest the ticket.
Then when you go to get your license renewed, you will be unable to until you pall all unpaid ticket and the collection fees which can add up to a fair amount of money.
If that happens, then it will go on your record and your insurance rates will go up. If you didn’t respond for some reason, act fast and talk to one of our attorneys and the may be able to help you out or your jam.
What About a Deferment?
In Washington, each driver can do one deferment for a moving violation and another for a non-moving violation every seven years. If you qualify, the court may require you to:
- Pay a deferral fee of $150 (average).
- Take a driving course (at court’s discretion).
- Ticket probation for up to a year.
Qualifications for Deferral:
- Must have a currently valid driver’s license,
- Must not have had a previous deferral in the last 7 years,
- Must not have a commercial driver’s license.
If you stay clean, then the probation goes away, if you get another ticket during that period, then your other ticket could be reinstated and become an automatic conviction on your record plus you will have to deal with the new ticket.
Spokane Defective Equipment Ticket lawyer
If you want to let someone handle the ticket, such as provide proof that you fixed it, there are advantages.
- Go to work, not to court: Let us go to court for you so you don’t have waste hours in court.
- Do what’s best for you: We are not a ticket mill, and you are not just a number. We can look at your current charges and your record to see which option is best for you.
- Get peace of mind: Just send us the ticket and we take care of the rest. Spend your time doing important things and we will take care of you.