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Pay Traffic Ticket in Washington

Pleading Guilty to Your WA Ticket

When you pay a WA traffic ticket, you're admitting guilt; basically, you're pleading “guilty" to the offense.

When you plead “guilty," expect the following:

  • You waive the right to challenge your ticket in court.
  • Unless your traffic ticket states you must appear in court, you can pay your fine online, by mail, or by phone to avoid going to the court.
  • The state will record the violation conviction on your driving record.
    • Repeat violations can lead to license suspension, and some violations lead to automatic suspension.
  • The court might allow you to complete a defensive driving course to keep the violation off your driving record.
    • This is not the same as ticket dismissal.
  • Your auto insurance company probably will increase your rates.

If you opt to plead “guilty," pay your traffic ticket within 15 days to avoid additional fines and other penalties.

CDL Drivers & WA Tickets

CDL holders do face a few different consequences; for example:

  • You must notify your employer within 30 days of receiving the traffic violation conviction.
  • You must notify your driver license agency within 30 days of receiving a traffic ticket conviction in another jurisdiction.

NOTE: You must make these notifications regardless of the type of vehicle you were driving when you got the ticket.

How to Pay Your WA Traffic Ticket

Your payment options depend on your presiding court; examples include:

  • Online.
  • By phone.
  • By mail.
  • In person.

Check your WA traffic ticket for your presiding court and specific payment options and instructions, and contact the court with any questions.

Note that:

  • You'll need your ticket to retrieve some information.
  • You must pay by the deadline printed on your citation.
    • You'll receive a Notice of Suspension if you fail to pay on time; if you ignore that, you face license suspension.

Ticket Deferral in Washington

It's not likely the court will offer ticket dismissal if you complete a defensive driving course; however, you might be eligible for ticket deferral. This means the court won't report your traffic ticket.

However, this isn't automatic; there are a few considerations:

  • Certain violations—such as negligent driving, child restraint violations, and offenses committed in a school or construction zone—aren't eligible.
  • Generally, the court won't grant multiple ticket deferrals.
  • You're not eligible if you've already been granted a deferral within a certain period of time.
  • Ticket deferral fees can cost as much as or more than the ticket fine.
  • You'll probably be required to complete a defensive driving course.

For information on whether you're eligible and how to apply, contact the presiding court.

Car Insurance Rates

Expect an increase in car insurance rates after a traffic violation conviction; it's not a given, but it's very common.

Talk with your provider about a possible increase; if you're facing one, consider comparing rates online to find a plan that better meets your needs and budget.

Check Your Driving Record

Your driving record impacts your driving privileges, so it's important to make sure the information is accurate after you handle your traffic ticket (including after complete all programs you're required or eligible to complete).

Look at:

  • Your traffic ticket convictions:
    • You should see only tickets to which you pled “guilty" or of which you were found “guilty" in court.
    • You should not see the violations if you completed the ticket deferral program.
  • Your driver's license status.

Find out how to check your driving record and which division to contact if you find incorrect information.

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