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Options After Receiving a Speeding Ticket

Speeding tickets—they’re great at making a bad day worse. You’re already running late to work, going ten miles over the speed limit to make up for lost time, when you see the flashing blue lights pull out behind you and hear the sirens blaring.

After the officer hands you the speeding ticket, the clock starts ticking. You’ll have only 15 days from that moment you are handed your traffic citation form to decide how you’d like to proceed. There are three options after receiving a speeding ticket and you must choose one of them.

The one option you do not have is to look the other way and pretend it didn’t happen. If you fail to make a decision in those first two weeks, the Washington State Department of Licensing (DoL) will mail you a suspension notice, giving you 45 days to respond. Ignoring this notice will result in a suspended license.

Since you don’t want to ignore the citation, we’ve laid out your other options after receiving a speeding ticket.

Option 1: Pay the Fine

If you received  a notice of infraction form, chances are you can just pay the fine and not make a court appearance, but read your citation for specific instructions! Paying the fine may be the quickest way to resolve the issue. However, paying the fine associated with the speeding ticket acts as an immediate admission of guilt, and there may be long-term consequences.

You may see your vehicle insurance premiums rise as much as 22% from admitting guilty to speeding. And those with a habit of receiving speeding tickets may discover Washington state has suspended their license for 60 days if they receive six violations in under a year.

Option 2: Request a Mitigation Hearing

Requesting a mitigation hearing requires you to make a court appearance, but it also means you may be eligible for a reduction of the fine associated with the infraction. In a mitigation hearing, you admit you committed the infraction, but offer the judge a reason to lower the fine. Judges do have the discretion to reduce traffic fines, but they are not required to do so, even if you present compelling reasons. Different courts approach mitigation differently, and some are more stringent than others. Exercise this option with caution.

Option 3: Request a Contested Hearing

Where paying your fine is an admission of guilt, requesting a contested hearing is, in effect, pleading not guilty to the charge of speeding. If you feel you were unfairly ticketed, this is the option to choose. First, contact the court and notify them of our intention to request a contested hearing before your court date.

Your second phone call should be to Lustick, Kaiman & Madrone at 360-685-4221. Our lawyers have decades of combined experience defending traffic violations in court. We’ll hear your side of the events and prepare a case from all the available evidence to defend you. We have had tremendous success getting traffic tickets dismissed, or having citation amended to something that is not reported. This means that your insurance company will find out that you have received a traffic ticket and your renewal rates should not increase.

Remember: You have only 15 days after your receive a traffic citation to respond.

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