So you ran a red light and got caught. Now what? Should I fight it? Just pay it? Will my insurance go up? What’s this going to cost me?
These are all legitimate questions, and the bottom line is, you should at least talk to a qualified traffic ticket attorney to keep the ticket from raising your insurance rates of jeopardizing your license.
Don’t Pay That Ticket!
Just paying the ticket isn’t a good option, but many people do it because they don’t want to deal with it. After all, they have a pretty clean record. However, the truth is, If you just send the ticket in with a check or pay it online, it will be much more costly than paying for an attorney to handle it. This is because of the increased cost to your insurance.
A fine and court costs for a red light ticket is a bit over $200 (depending on the county), but then the insurance company will rains your rates 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?
Ignoring the ticket isn’t such a great option either as the court will send your ticket to a collection company, and when you go to renew your license, you will have to pay all the collection fees and other assessments. Then your rates will go up anyway, and it will cost you even more.
What do I do if I didn’t respond to my ticket, and it’s been a while?
Don’t let thing get any worse. An experienced attorney can still help you out. Don’t make things worse by continuing to ignore the letters and notices.
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 probations 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 Red Light Ticket Lawyer
While you can usually get a deferral just by asking for one, it’s best to at least talk to an attorney because many times, he or she can help you not to waste your deferral until you’ve exhausted all other possibilities. At at Crary, Clark, Domanico, & Chuang, P.S, we have an experienced traffic attorney who can help you avoid getting an increase in your insurance and from losing your license.
Here’s why you should talk to one now:
- 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.