"Moving" Violations vs. "Non-Moving" Violations
The distinction between moving and non-moving violations is important for several reasons, such as the habitual traffic offender statute (too many moving violations can result is a 7 year revocation of your license). The other main distinction is whether or not an infraction gets reported to insurance companies. In most cases, non-moving violations are not reportable to insurance in most cases. DOL may be release information about non-moving violations to employers. An amendment form a moving violation to a non-moving violation will usually save you from problems with your insurance company. If you drive for a living or are on a deferred finding on another ticket, changing your ticket to a non-moving violation may not benefit you at all. Make sure your attorney is fully informed about what type of resolution you need. WAC 308-104-160 outlines what offenses are considered "moving" violations under Washington Law (see link below for a complete list).
Infractions issued by traffic safety cameras, such as School Zone Speeding, Red Light Violations or Toll Evasion, are not reportable to DOL. As such, they do not get reported to your insurance company, employer or anyone else (except the collection agency if you don't pay). While these tickets are annoying, there is usually little benefit to fighting them. Asking the judge for a reduced fine may be the best course of action with these.
A limited number of traffic offense are not reported to DOL by statute. If an offense is non-reportable the statute will specifically state that the court is prohibited from reporting the offense to certain agencies. As a result of being non-reportable, these tickets should not cause insurance or employment problems. Cell phone violations are the most commonly used for purposes of amending other infractions to something that will not effect your insurance.
Municipal Code Infractions
Infractions for Municipal Codes that do not have an equivalent State Code, such as Inattention to Driving do not get reported to anyone, including DOL. They will usually go to collections if not paid and can result in the suspension of your license until the fine is paid. Because these are non-reportable an amendment to a municipal code infraction is often a great resolution for someone charged with a moving violation. Again, if you are on a deferred finding or special circumstance you should let your attorney know as this resolution may not always achieve your goals.
Different rules sometimes apply to Intermediate License holders and drivers under the age of 18. If either of these applies, you should contact a traffic infraction lawyer to discuss the specific consequences.