What’s the “True Cost” of a Speeding Ticket?
It seems reasonable to say that we have all sped at some point or another while driving, and some may even speed more regularly than others, but how much is a speeding ticket fine in the state of Washington? In this post, we take a closer look at the price of speeding ticket fines and also provide a step-by-step guide for what to do if you get pulled over for a traffic ticket.
Speeding Ticket Fine in Washington State
Below is a list of the fines associated with various speeding infractions in the state of Washington. If you are caught driving above the posted speed limit here’s what you could be looking at regarding ticket fines, according to the Washington State Patrol:
If the posted speed limit is 40 MPH or lower:
- 1 to 5 mph over the speed limit: $128
- 6 to 10 mph over the speed limit: $139
- 11 to 15 mph over the speed limit: $169
- 16 to 20 mph over the speed limit: $210
- 21 to 25 mph over the speed limit: $262
- 26 to 30 mph over the speed limit: $313
- 31 to 35 mph over the speed limit: $364
- More than 35 mph over the speed limit: $426
If the posted speed limit is higher than 40 MPH:
- 1 to 5 mph over the speed limit: $108
- 6 to 10 mph over the speed limit: $128
- 11 to 15 mph over the speed limit: $159
- 16 to 20 mph over the speed limit: $190
- 21 to 25 mph over the speed limit: $221
- 26 to 30 mph over the speed limit: $262
- 31 to 35 mph over the speed limit: $313
- 36 to 40 mph over the speed limit: $364
- More than 40 mph over the speed limit: $426
These amounts only include the fine of the ticket itself. Assuming you choose to simply pay the ticket (not a good idea!), this is just the base amount you will have to shell out from your wallet. If you pay the fine without contesting the ticket in court, the infraction is found committed and then gets reported to the Department of Licensing. Once it is reported to the Department of Licensing, your insurance company will have access to information on the infraction and your insurance rates will likely increase dramatically.
Every insurance company handles speeding tickets differently, But You Can Probably Bet That Regardless Of Your Agency’s Policy, Your Rates Will Likely Increase By Between 10-15% Or More For A Single Speeding Ticket. Depending on the current price of your insurance that could translate to an increase of $800 or more over the course of 3 years, which is the amount of time that a committed traffic infraction stays on your driving record in the state of Washington.
Of course, if you get speeding tickets regularly the price increase in your insurance rates could be much higher. Also, other factors like how old you are, your gender, how long you have been a customer with the insurance agency, where you live, and your overall driving history can also affect how much a speeding ticket will impact your rates.
So, if you are cited for a speeding ticket, what can you do to avoid the high fines and increase your insurance rates? First and foremost, We Recommend That You DO NOT Just Pay The Ticket Fine For The Infraction! If you just pay the speeding ticket fine, the court will find the infraction committed, and the speeding ticket will go on your driving record, which could have further reaching consequences. If you get pulled over for a speeding ticket here’s how we recommend that you handle the situation.
What Should I do if I get Pulled Over for Speeding?
The Traffic Stop
First thing is first, stay calm and be polite. Try to keep your voice and tone respectful regardless of the circumstances of the stop or how the officer may be treating you in return. Remember that you are considered innocent until proven guilty. That means that if the officer asks you, “Do you know why I pulled you over?” you do not have to (and should not) admit guilt for breaking the law or speeding. In most cases, the officer is not interested in hearing the background story for why you were speeding because it has little bearing on the fact that you indeed did commit the infraction. In addition, he or she has likely already decided whether or not they are going to give you a ticket before they even speak to you. Therefore, it is best just to be polite and not admit guilt if you are stopped for a speeding.
Usually, once you receive a speeding ticket, the officer is going to provide you with a copy of the ticket. Hopefully, the officer has provided you with an explanation of the violation you were cited for, but if that is not the case, you can use the statute code on the ticket to look up the infraction later. In some cases, you may not be provided with a copy of the citation. Oftentimes, if there is an accident involved the ticket may be mailed to you at a later date. However, for most regular speeding tickets you will be provided with a copy of the ticket during the traffic stop.
How to Respond to the Court
First and foremost, make sure you respond to the court in a timely fashion. You only have 15 days following the date of the incident to respond to the ticket. If you miss this deadline, even by just a few days, you could face more serious consequences from the court. One of the most common actions of the court for not responding to a ticket in time is to issue an FTA/FTR(Failure to Appear/Respond) and start a process to suspend your license. Don’t let that happen!
Even if you feel that you are guilty of committing the infraction, it is best to request a contested hearing to keep your options open. It is extremely important that you DO NOT just pay the ticket fine to the court. I cannot stress this enough! Once you have paid the ticket fine, it is virtually impossible to go back and contest the infraction. To request a contested hearing all you have to do is check the “contested” box on the ticket itself and mail it back to the court.
While there is another option on the ticket as well, requesting a contested hearing is better than requesting a mitigation hearing. If you proceed with a mitigation hearing the speeding infraction will still be found committed, and it will go on your driving record; however, the judge may decide to lower the ticket fine that you have to pay to the court. While this may seem like a win, you will still likely be looking at increased insurance rates over the long-term timeline that the ticket stays on your record.
Undoubtedly the best advice I can give you if you receive a speeding ticket is to hire a traffic ticket lawyer to help you fight the infraction. Our firm has one of the best reputations in the area for successfully fighting speeding tickets and keeping them off of the driver’s record. You can hire us immediately following the citation, even before you have responded to the court. Alternatively, if you have already requested a mitigation hearing or contested hearing on your own we can still get added to your case as long as you contact us before the hearing date.
The Bottom Line …
We know being cited and receiving a speeding ticket fine can be frustrating. Speeding tickets can cost you a lot and not just in the fine itself but also in the time away from work and time spent worrying about what to do. But don’t worry, if you were recently cited with a speeding ticket in Tacoma, WA or throughout the greater Puget Sound we can help!
Contact us for a free consultation. We can walk you through the court process and help you make the right decision for what to do. If you choose to hire us for your speeding ticket case, we take on the burden of dealing with the court, so you don’t have to. Don’t let a speeding ticket stress you out, give us a call today and let us handle it for you!