Fight Traffic Ticket in WashingtonPage Overview
In Washington you must choose from one of three options, as indicated on the citation:
- Request a mitigation hearing.
- Request a contested hearing.
- Pay the fine.
- Option to plea bargain penalties.
- Incur points on your driving record (could lead to license suspension/revocation).
- Possibly incur increase on auto insurance rates.
- Contest traffic ticket via trial.
- Choose to represent yourself or hire an attorney.
- Possibly lose option to plea bargain for lesser penalties.
- No penalties if found not guilty, but must pay court/attorney fees.
- You want to contest the citation in court with the intent of having the charges reduced or dropped.
- You may represent yourself or choose a traffic ticket lawyer.
- Charges will be dropped if the court rules in your favor. You still must pay court fees and, if applicable, legal fees.
- If the court finds you guilty, you must pay ticket fine, court fees and, if applicable, legal fees. Depending on your driving record, your WA driver's license may be suspended.
Regardless of plea, it must be entered before the ticket's due date. In most cases, this will be 15 days from the infraction date. If you can't find the ticket, learn what steps to take in our Lost Traffic Ticket page.
(Plead Guilty or No Contest)
Learn more about
Pay Traffic Ticket.
(Plead Not Guilty)
Learn more by reading below.
To challenge your ticket in court you must check "request a contested hearing" on the traffic ticket.
Payment or Mitigation Hearing
Both traffic ticket plea choices are admissions of guilt, meaning the violation will appear on your driving record.
If you opt for a mitigation hearing, you will appear before the court with the chance to explain the circumstances that led to your ticket with the hope of receiving a reduced fine.
Learn more in our Pay Traffic Ticket page.
You must answer to the court―Municipal or District―listed on your citation. You may do this by mail or in person.
If your budget allows, strongly consider hiring a traffic ticket lawyer. Legal counsel will improve your chances for reduced charges or the outright dismissal of the ticket and, depending on your driving history, a favorable decision may spare you from a suspended driver's license.
If you opt against a traffic ticket lawyer, you're in charge of preparing and presenting your case. This means gathering evidence supporting your not guilty plea. Call the presiding court for information on how to subpoena witnesses.
After hearing both sides, the judge will issue a verdict.
If found guilty, the violation will appear on your driving record and you'll be instructed on how to settle all fines and fees. Keep in mind that you possess the option to appeal the court's decision.
Regardless of verdict, check your driving record after the trial. Verify listed violations. Immediately contact the DOL if you notice any errors.
The appearance of a traffic violation on your driving record may cause a jump in your car insurance coverage. Counter a rate hike by shopping online for a new providerOther Topics in This Section