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I was pulled over for speeding mph in a 35 mph zone with a 50 mph sign in view. What charge should I expect to be mailed to me?

Kent, WA |

When I was pulled over I was trying to pass a driver I believed to be intoxicated. I passed the sign that said 50 mph before the officer was behind me, however, he said that he caught me speeding in a 35 & I didn't argue. I have a clean record (criminal & driving), the officer seemed relatively polite, he said he could have arrested me & impounded the vehicle but didn't believe it was necessary. He told me I should receive something in the mail but I don't know what to expect. I'm also curious about how long it should take for me to receive the mail? What happens if I don't receive anything in the mail? He told me if I don't respond they'll issue a warrant for my arrest.

Attorney Answers 3


From the description, it sounds as though you might have a reckless driving charge on the way. If so, it is a criminal offense, not just a traffic ticket, so don't say anything more about it on here, or to anyone other than to your attorney. If you don't receive anything soon, you can check with the District Court for the county where this occurred, or the municipal court if it was in the city, and they should be able to tell you if a charge was filed. You might have to check periodically, because they won't be able to tell you if a charge will be filed in the future. An attorney could check with the prosecutor for you as well, but you should never talk to the prosecutors yourself. It is also possible, although unlikely, that you will get a speeding ticket in the mail. Either way, hire an attorney or see if you qualify for a public defender at your first court appearance.

There are many good attorneys in your area who will probably offer a free consultation. Call some of them and find one who you like. Good Luck!

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Either speeding (a civil traffic ticket) or Reckless Driving (a criminal gross misdemeanor punishable up to 364 days, $5000, 2 years probation and a minimum 30 day license suspension).

Scott W Lawrence
Law Office of Scott Lawrence, PLLC
(425) 488-8481

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I most cases where the officer stops an individual for speeding, the officer immediately issues a citation for speeding. It sounds like in your case that he is writing a report for the prosecutor's office to decide on a criminal charge, which most likely would be Reckless Driving. The Reckless Driving charge is a gross misdemeanor that carries a maximum penalty of 364 days in jail and/or a $5,000 fine. It also has a mandatory 30 day license suspension and SR-22 insurance requirement for 3 years if you were convicted.

Make sure that your mailing address is up to date with the Department of Licensing because you will likely receive something in the mail. In King County the prosecutor's office usually takes between 4-6 months to formally file criminal charges with the court. However, on a charge like Reckless Driving there is a 2 year statute of limitations so ultimately the prosecutor has 2 years to file charges.

You could wait and see if the prosecutor does file criminal charges but you probably should contact a criminal defense attorney to prepare for the criminal charge. An attorney also has access to the court system and look to see if criminal charges have been filed. I would not contact the prosecutor's office at this point without an attorney. The prosecutor may decide not to file a criminal charge because your only bad driving was speeding.

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