Why Should You Hire a King County Traffic Ticket Lawyer?
King County in Washington State is a busy place. Our county seat is Seattle, and local and state law enforcement agencies issue traffic tickets every day. In fact, in 2019, King County had pride of place as the most ticketed county in the State of Washington. Many of these tickets are issued on the major highways that run through the county by officers from either the King County Sheriff’s Office or the Washington State Patrol. A traffic ticket can have surprisingly negative consequences in your life, but having the professional legal counsel of a King County Traffic Ticket Lawyer in your corner can make a big difference.
Hit with a Traffic Ticket in King County? You Have 3 Options
So, you’ve been hit with a traffic ticket and are wondering what to do next. In the end, you have three basic options that you should carefully consider before taking action.
Just Pay It
The option that many people choose (without giving it much thought) is simply paying the ticket to get it out of their hair. While it is the most straightforward option, it’s hardly the best choice in the long run. Upon paying your ticket, all of the following happen:
- You admit guilt in the matter.
- The ticket goes on your driving record (after a certain number of tickets for moving violations in a specific amount of time, you could face a license suspension).
- Your car insurance rates are likely to increase for the next three years running.
If you do pay your ticket, you can find your payment options here, but keep reading before you decide.
Mitigate the Matter
There is also the option of requesting a mitigation hearing, which you do by checking the Mitigation Hearing box on your King County traffic ticket and mailing it in or by simply requesting it online. Your mitigation hearing can be live (which may be via video or telephone), or it can be conducted through email (you’ll make your case in written form). If you’re granted mitigation, the only advantage to you is that the fine associated with your ticket will be reduced. All of the following, however, will remain true:
- You will have admitted guilt in the matter.
- The ticket will go on your driving record (and can contribute to a license suspension)
- Your car insurance premiums are likely to go up for the next three years.
Fight the Power
Finally, you have the right to fight or contest your ticket, and this is where a King County traffic ticket lawyer comes in. A contested hearing is the only way to fight the ticket that’s been unceremoniously handed to you. Here’s how it works:
- You’ll request a contested hearing by checking the box on your ticket or by taking care of business online.
- Your hearing will either be live (which may be via video or telephone) or through email (where you’ll make your case in written form).
- The presiding judge will decide whether or not you are guilty of the traffic infraction and, if he or she decides your case in your favor, your ticket will be dismissed.
- As long as the ticket does not involve a car accident, your car insurance will not be affected.
You have 15 days from the time you were ticketed to make your choice (or 18 days if you received the ticket in the mail). Consulting with a King County traffic ticket lawyer is a good place to start when it comes to making this important decision.
Important Note about the Prosecutor’s Office
Gone are the days when you could bargain with the prosecutor regarding the charge on the ticket itself. The prosecutor’s office recently pulled out of these matters, which means the charge on your ticket is the charge you face, and there is no longer any chance of having it reduced to a non-moving violation. Now, you either win, or you lose, and there is no room for anything in between, which makes fighting your ticket that much more important.
Where and How
Where you are ticketed and who you are ticketed by will determine in which King County District Court location your hearing will take place. While the location of your hearing will be on your ticket, the following breakdown applies:
- If you were ticketed by a Washington State Police, your case will be heard in either the Burien, Shoreline, or Issaquah facility.
- If you were ticketed by a city officer or sheriff, your case will be heard in one of the county’s other locations, including Bellevue, Redmond, and Auburn.
Is the ticketing officer required to appear?
Only if the officer who ticketed you is subpoenaed will he or she be required to appear for your contested hearing. The judge will make his or her determination based on the police report that generated your ticket.
Can I subpoena the officer who wrote my ticket?
Your dedicated traffic ticket attorney will be well prepared to subpoena the officer who ticketed you to appear at your contested hearing. If you choose to represent yourself, you’ll be responsible for following all the relevant rules and restrictions regarding serving the officer (with the subpoena issued to you by the court).
Is it worth contesting my traffic ticket?
While your situation is unique to you and the circumstances involved, the answer to your question regarding whether or not it’s worth contesting your traffic ticket is that it certainly can be. With a formidable King County traffic ticket attorney – who has experience with the court, the court’s rules and regulations, the presiding judge, and the ins and outs of the matter – backing you up, you’re far more likely to obtain a favorable resolution that can save you a considerable amount of money in the long run, and that can keep the moving violation off your record.
Turn to an Experienced King County Traffic Ticket Lawyer
If you’re facing a traffic ticket in King County – and all the negative consequences that come with that – you have a decision to make. The only guarantee is that if you accept guilt in the matter, the moving violation will go on your record, and you will very likely see some hefty increases in your insurance premiums. The practiced King County traffic ticket lawyers at Garguile DUI & Traffic Lawyers have reserves of impressive experience keeping tickets like yours off our clients’ records, and we’re here for you, too. To learn more, please don’t hesitate to contact us today.