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Should I mitigate or contest my traffic ticket

Kent, WA |

I was at a stop sign with one car in front of me. That car started to go and suddenly stopped as I was pulling up. I ended up clipping the rear left side scuffing her bumper with my right front. The officer said there was not enough damage to contact the insurances but I received a citation for "Following too close". The fine is for $175. He mentioned something about going to court and fighting it which will go on my record for a year since I haven't had any prior accidents and no traffic violations in over 10 years.

Attorney Answers 2


Couple things:

1. Washington State does have a following too close statute. If you mitigate the ticket, the judge / commissioner can only reduce the fine... It will still go on your record. If you contest it, you may be able to "beat" the ticket outright. I think what the officer is referring to is a "Deferred Finding." The court will explain Deferred Findings to you. But generally, if you pay a fine and small administrative fee, around $25.00, and as long as you don't get another ticket within a year, they'll drop the ticket your facing now.

2. You may be able to "beat" it on a technicality, such as the ticket wasn't filed within a certain time, or something along those lines. Traffic Court rules and procedures are known as IRLJ's ( Infraction Rules of Limited Jurisdiction) and can be found online or if you go to your law library, they are in a book called " Washington Court Rules."

Disclaimer: This advice is intended to be general in nature and in no way does it establish an attorney-client relationship.

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Remeber that the government bears the burden of proving you guilty, you are not required to prove your innocence. What do you have to lose. Go to court. It would be hard to justify legal fees to hire an attorney, but if you know one you may be able to get some pointers to help defend the case. Good luck.

The author of this post is licensed to practice law in the District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia. This post is intended as general information only, and is not provided as legal advice in connection with any specific case, and does not create an attorney-client relationship.

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