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Got a Traffic Ticket? What You Need to Know About Fighting It.

Local law enforcement is planning a crackdown on speeding. What will you do if you get a traffic ticket? We can help.


On Sunday, July 31st, the Bellingham Herald reported that Whatcom County law enforcement is conducting emphasis patrols on speeding from August 5th through Sunday, August 7th.  When emphasis patrols are announced, we usually get questions about fighting traffic tickets. Here are some of the most common questions:

1. If I get a Traffic Ticket, Will it Go On My Record?

The Washington Department of Licensing creates and maintains driving records in this state. Everyone with a Washington driver’s license has their name and personal information listed in the DoL’s database in a file known as the “Abstract of Driver’s Record”. The DoL has eight various record types, each with different levels of information. Some of these are publicly available and some are only visible to certain persons.

For example, a record known as the “Complete Driver’s Record” lists a driver’s full violation history, accidents and collisions, any license suspensions and revocations, and license disqualifications. It also lists any deferred prosecutions, special driver requirements and failures to appear. Only the driver, attorneys, and law and justice agencies can see this report.

Another kind of DoL record is the “3-year Non-Commercial Insurance Abstract,” for personal motor vehicle insurance policies. This lists only the driver’s traffic violations found to be committed, accidents and collisions, and failures to appear over the preceding three years.

When you receive a traffic ticket, the ticket and alleged violation are permanently listed on the Complete Driver’s Record. If the driver pays the fine, pays a reduced fine, fights the ticket but loses, or fails to appear, it’s listed on the 3-year Abstract. There are some exceptions: Seatbelt or a texting/cell phone use tickets and municipal ordinance traffic violations, do not go on the abstract. But generally almost any traffic violation found committed, is listed and reported to the driver’s insurance company.

So to simply answer the question, if you receive a ticket from a police officer, it goes on a restricted record and is not visible by your insurance company at that point. However, if you pay the ticket or are convicted of the traffic violation, a record of the ticket and of your traffic violation follows you for three years. This is why it can be a good idea to fight your ticket. More on this later.

2. Will Getting a Traffic Ticket Raise my Insurance Premiums?

Well, it depends. As insurance companies calculate insurance premiums, one factor used is a driver’s traffic ticket history. When a driver has one or many traffic ticket convictions on their record, most insurance companies assume the driver is more likely to get into an accident. Thus, the driver is considered a “higher risk driver,” justifying higher premiums. Of course, every company has a different policy when it comes to traffic tickets. One company could raise your rates for 3 years. Another company may apply a surcharge for one year.

3. If An Officer Stops Me for Speeding, Can They Arrest Me for Something Else?

Yes, police officers on a speed emphasis patrol can do more than just issue speeding tickets. Officers can and will make arrests for any other violations they see. We’ve seen hundreds of clients who are stopped for speeding or some other alleged traffic violation, and end up getting a DUI or some other arrest.  Also, sometimes on a traffic emphasis, the rules are hyper-enforced. How many of us have sped past an officer while driving a few miles over the speed limit but were not pulled over? But if you do that in front of an officer working a speed emphasis, you might not be as lucky.

4. Can I Fight I Traffic My Ticket Using LKM Lawyers?

Yes, state law allows attorneys to fight your ticket for you. Many drivers feel they are wrongfully given a traffic ticket and they want to fight it in court. Also, some drivers understand the impact that tickets can have on their financial futures, and want to find a legal way out of their ticket. But many don’t know how, and some may live far away and were just passing through when they were cited.

When you hire us to fight your ticket, our traffic attorney goes to court for you. The lawyer handles all the court proceedings and legal arguments. We also handle all of the legal paperwork on your behalf.

Hiring Lustick, Kaiman and Madrone for your traffic ticket is easier and more economical than you may think. Just call (360) 685-4221, and you can have us start fighting your Whatcom or Skagit traffic ticket right away. You can also reach us through the Free Case Evaluation tab on our website. You need to act fast because State law gives you only 15-days to react to receiving your ticket.

Remember, tickets reported to your insurance company can costs you hundreds of dollars for the next 3 years. Hiring our law firm to help you fight your ticket costs only a fraction of that.

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