Ignoring Traffic Tickets

What Happens if I Just Ignore a Traffic Ticket?

If you ignore your traffic ticket then the court will mark it as a failure to appear or failure to respond; commonly known as an FTA. The infraction is ruled as committed, goes on your driving record, and gets sent to the Department of Licensing (DOL). If your ticket is marked FTA then you must pay the fine that appears on the ticket and an additional fifty-two dollars default penalty. If you fail to pay these penalties the court will send them to a collection agency and the DOL will be notified of the FTA. If an FTA remains on your record, usually about 60 days, it will suspend your license for any traffic ticket that is a moving violation and your license will be suspended until you resolve the FTA. This is by either setting up a payment plan with the collection company or the court.

Can I Still Fight My Case If I Pay My Ticket Or Is That Akin To Pleading Guilty?

Whenever you pay a ticket you are admitting guilt and saying that you committed the infraction. If you don’t want the ticket on your record, to affect you down the road, or affect employment or insurance rates then you need to request a contested hearing. If you pay the ticket then it’s going to go on your record. If you asked to mitigate it, it’s going to go on your record. They will reduce the fine that is owed to the court but it still goes on your record. The only way to fight your ticket is to request a contested hearing with the court. If you’ve already paid your ticket it’s tough to get a hearing on that.

Sometimes you can ask a court or a judge to review your case and see if they will make a motion to reconsider or relief from judgment. If they do, then they will sometimes give you a contested hearing but that’s very difficult to make happen. It would have to be within a week or two of paying it.

How Long Do I Have To Request A Contested Hearing If I Decide To Fight My Traffic Ticket?

If you’re given a ticket by a police officer, meaning it’s handed to you. You have 15 days to respond to that ticket by either paying it, requesting a mitigation hearing or requesting a contested hearing. Sometimes accident tickets are mailed to you after the officer completes their investigation. If the ticket is mailed you have 18 days to respond. Usually, the 15-day timeframe or 18-day timeframe is a strict deadline but some courts allow you to be a little late but it depends on the court. Pierce and King Counties generally let you be a little bit late but most other courts are pretty strict on the 15 to 18-day timeline. If you miss that date then you’d have to petition the court to give you a relief from judgment to reopen your case.

What Timeline Of Events Should I Expect If I Decide To Contest My Traffic Ticket?

Once you get a ticket you need to respond within 15 days. If you decide that you want to contest your traffic infraction you’d mark it contested send it off to the court. The court receives that they have to give you a court date within 120 days of the request. It can be a little lengthier. Most courts usually take between about 45 to 60 days to set a court date.

Do I Need A Traffic Ticket Attorney If I Decide To Contest A Traffic Ticket In Washington?

In most circumstances, you should consult or hire an attorney. These tickets are won on technical issues. Unless you are aware of the technical issues you are very unlikely to beat your infraction. You don’t know what you don’t know! If money’s tight and you have time to adequately prepare for the ticket you could potentially do it on your own. It’s a question of what your time is worth? If you don’t know the legal issues, there is not a significant benefit to go in and represent yourself.