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Traffic violation, unpaid ticket, warrant for arrest, miscommunication with records

Seattle, WA |

I got a speeding ticket in this last summer, and then in mid October i got another ticket because my tabs were expired and the car wasn't in my name. I took care of the title to my car and then got insurance and went to traffic court in November. Neither the cop who pulled me over in october nor the judge for traffic court mentioned anything about my speeding ticket. I even asked the judge if there were anymore fines i needed to pay. The judge said he didn't see anything, so i assumed i was cleared.
Tonight i got pulled over because a cop saw a light in my exhaust pipe (which i turned off immediately when i saw a car behind me). He followed me for about a mile then stopped me. He said my license was suspended and has been since October. He put me in hand cuffs and in the back seat of his car while he searched my car. He then proceeded to tell me he found enough marijuana residue in my car to put me in jail. This IS ODD BECAUSE I DONT DONT DONT smoke, i just support MEDICAL marijuana.
Why wasn't i informed of this over due charge in october or november, when it was said to be on my record???
And what can i do about it????
They are also switching my ticket from Clallam county (where i got the ticket) to King county (where i live now).
I cant pay it off till they send me what i'm supposed to pay.

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Attorney answers 1


Lesson one: Don't assume anything! When you sign a ticket you are not admitting guilt. You are promising to appear in court at the time and place indicated on the ticket. From what you say it sounds as if you failed to appear for the ticket for the summer speeding violation, you were then cited for expired tags and when you went to court, the judge told you he didn't see anything else on your record. You then just assumed you were "clear". Your assumption provides no lawful immunity for your failure to appear on the speeding ticket. Many jurisdictions will suspend your license for a failure to appear. In California you must have been given notice of this suspension before you can be convicted of driving on a suspended license as a misdemeanor. When the officer saw that your license was suspended he may, or may not have had a reasonable suspicion to arrest you (much turns on the question of whether there needs to be an indication of notice to you). If the officer has probable cause to arrest then the handcuffing and search of your vehicle interior is lawful as incident to a lawful arrest. Why you were not informed of the suspension? Who knows? As to your last statement that you cannot pay your fine until they send you the amount owed: This makes me think you are back to assuming that nothing can befall you until you are told the amount. You should have learned that this is a foolish course to take considering your previous experience. It is really a good idea for you to become more pro-active about these matters. Go find out how much you owe and pay it. This is your best defense against further problems. Good luck.

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