What Are Some Defenses To Traffic Tickets In Washington?
Several issues can result in the dismissal of a traffic ticket. Generally speaking, traffic ticket attorneys beat tickets on technical issues found in the officer’s report. We are looking for technical issues regarding the admissibility of certain pieces of evidence. For example, in a speeding infraction case, we typically challenge the admissibility of the RADAR or LIDAR evidence that was used to determine your speed. We’re making sure that the police officer dotted all of I’s and crossed all the T’s in their report. In a contested hearing the court will rely on the officer’s written statement instead of the Officer’s live testimony. This means that the officer does not have to show up for court in Washington State unless you issue a subpoena for the officer to be there.
Therefore, if you plan on contesting your ticket, you need to get your hands on the report. Once you have the report, you’ll need to read over the IRLJs (Infraction Rules of Limited Jurisdiction). These along with the evidence rules govern how infractions are handled in a contested hearing. A few issues to be on the lookout for are-
IRLJ 2.1(B): This is titled insufficient notice of infraction. This rule says what should be included in the Notice of Infraction that the police officer gave you.
IRLJ 2.3, is for improper venue. This rule requires that a contested hearing be heard in the district or municipal court that the infraction occurred. For example, if you were pulled over in Pierce County but the officer gave you a ticket that instructed you to ask for a hearing in King County, that would be the improper venue and you could make a motion to dismiss on those grounds.
IRLJ 2.2(D). This is the untimely filing of an infraction. This rule requires that after a ticket is issued it must be filed with the correct court within five days not counting Saturday, Sundays, or holidays. This rarely happens now that most law enforcement officers submit tickets electronically.
IRLJ 2.6(A)(1). This is untimely scheduling. This rule requires a court to schedule a hearing within 120 days from the day the Notice of Infraction was given to the driver. However, if the court gives you an untimely notice, make sure you pay attention to IRLJ 2.6(D).
IRLJ 6.6. A 6.6 certification is a speed measuring device certificate. I don’t want to get too technical here but it’s a document that is used to authenticate the results of the speed measuring device used by the police officer. Under evidence rules 901(B)(9), results from mechanical devices are inadmissible until the party offering those results establish that the device in question produces accurate results. So in Washington State speed measuring devices are authenticated by speed measuring device experts. IRLJ 6.6 lays out what should be included in this document and states that it must be on file with the court.
IRLJ 3.1(B). This lays out the prosecutor’s obligation to respond to discovery. The rule states that upon written demand made at least 14 days before a contested hearing and filed with both the court and prosecutor for a copy of the officer’s sworn statement among other things. A prosecutor shall provide the defendant with a copy of the officer’s statement at least seven days before the hearing. If the discovery is provided less than seven days before the hearing then the report may be suppressed. If you can establish that the delay will prejudice your case. If the discovery is not provided 24 hours before the hearing then the discovery shall be suppressed. It’s important to remember that in most cases when you’re asserting a lack of discovery motion, the judge’s rules require proof that you served your request to the court and prosecutor in a timely fashion. If you’re planning on mailing the request, it is important to do so by certified mail.
This is by no means an exhaustive list. However, it is an excellent place to start when preparing to contest your traffic infraction if you decide to represent yourself.