Steven Pearson lives, drives, and looks things up in Seattle.
The act of fighting Washington State speeding tickets can be daunting for some. Many people will simply send a check in the mail either because they feel they can't win in court, or that it will be too much trouble.
The Washington State courts rely on this fact, knowing that our laws are actually set up in favor of most Washington drivers, which is why they give you the option to "mitigate" on the back of their ticket. This option is there to tempt people into paying a reduced fee (easy money for the state), who would otherwise be fighting (and probably beating) the ticket in court.
Beat Washington State Speeding Tickets Without a Lawyer
You may be tempted to hire an attorney to fight your speeding ticket, but they often charge twice as much as the original speeding ticket cost; not a budget friendly option for most of us. Going into a Washington State court armed with the same tools and knowledge that the best traffic lawyers have access to can save you hundreds of dollars.
Every state has their own laws and procedures involving speeding tickets and other traffic citations, making it impossible to provide you with a universal guide for beating speeding tickets. This particular guide will help you navigate the Washington State legal system, and provide you with the information necessary to beat almost any speeding ticket issued in Washington State.
Understand that this guide is not written by an attorney, nor is it meant to be advertised as such. This is simply a guide written by a person who has a proven track record of successfully fighting speeding tickets for himself and others in the Washington State court system.
Myths: Things You Should Not Do to Fight Speeding Tickets
First and foremost, it is sickening to see how many people truly believe the most outlandish myths for beating speeding tickets in court. Getting these ideas out of your head is vital because many of them will not just be useless in court, but some may actually help you lose your case, putting more free money into the already overflowing pocketbooks of Washington State lawmakers.
- Dropping a pencil and asking a police officer to state the speed of the falling pencil is preposterous. A pencil is not a car, nor do police just look at you speeding by and write down how fast they "think" you were going. This will get you laughed out of the courtroom.
- It is true that if you subpoena the officer that cited you, and he or she doesn't show up to court that the case must be dismissed by law. The big flaw with this strategy? The officer will probably show up. If they do, you may as well just pull out your checkbook. Your odds of winning with the officer present become slim to none, which will be explained later.
- Asking the officer to show you the laser/radar gun is pointless. The belief that there is some law out there requiring that they do so on request is false, and it is not likely that they are lying about the numbers displayed. Making this request will often result in a speeding ticket when the officer had planned to let you off the hook. Or if they're in a particularly bad mood they can come up with plenty of other silly (but legal) citations to slap you with.
- It does not matter if the officer was wearing his hat. This is another silly myth created by someone with a sick sense of humor. The courts do not care if the officer was wearing his hat, his shoes, or his underwear. Their only concern is to decide whether or not you broke the law. Don't ever try beating a speeding ticket by griping about officer attire.
What to Do When You Get a Speeding Ticket in Washington State
The first steps to fighting a ticket successfully start at the time of the citation. If you are reading this because you have already received a ticket then this will be of little help, but it is good information nonetheless.
- Pull over safely. Use your turn signals, and slow down quickly (but not so fast that the officer has to slam on their brakes). Pulling into a nearby parking lot, if there is one, will garner points with the officer. Traffic cops are constantly in danger of being hit by passing cars; doing your best to reduce the odds of this happening can only work in your favor.
- Never admit guilt. Police officers know why they pulled you over, and they don't care if you know, because they are going to tell you. The reason they ask is in hopes that you say something like, "Yes officer I'm sorry I was speeding" and proceed to give them some lame excuse. This is a costly mistake that will be in the report. Once you've admitted guilt, you have no chance of beating a speeding ticket in court.
- Make yourself forgettable. Be polite, hold yourself together, and be cooperative. Often times this will prevent a ticket in the first place, but if it doesn't, then you want the officer to completely forget about you. This will decrease the likelihood of them showing up to court, and if they do then it will be more difficult for them to recall specific details.
- Sob stories don't work, no matter what anybody tells you. In most cases, the officer has already decided whether or not they are going to cite you before they've even left their vehicle. Say only what is necessary, without incriminating yourself in the process.
Once You've Received a Speeding Ticket in Washington State
Check over your ticket to make sure the information is accurate. Misspelling "Toyota" is not going to get the case dismissed in Washington State. An incorrect date, or writing down the wrong RCW (Revised Code Washington), however, means your work is already almost done. Your odds of being this lucky are almost nonexistent, but it's worth a try.
The back side of the ticket shows you three options.
- To pay your ticket by sending a check in the mail. If you choose this option, please send me some free money as well.
- To "mitigate" the ticket. You should always consider this option. You will receive a chance to go in front of a judge and explain your story. This will almost always get a speeding ticket reduced by half or more, though it depends on the circumstances, the severity of the citation, and your driving record. But a mitigation hearing does not allow for dismissal in Washington State, so checking this option will ensure the ticket goes on your record.
- To "contest" the ticket. Contesting the hearing is the only way to get a speeding ticket completely dismissed. Check this option, photocopy both sides of your ticket, and make sure it is mailed in within 14 days of the citation. If you've waited a few days too long, send it anyway - often times the delay will be overlooked as long as it isn't too late (depending on the mood of the clerk). Once you receive notice of your court date in the mail, the real work begins.
What is IRLJ?
IRLJ stands for Infraction Rules of Limited Jurisdiction.
This is basically a guidebook of rules that traffic courts must follow during contested hearings. The verbage in this book hold the keys to fighting speeding tickets in Washington State.
Getting a Traffic Ticket Dismissed in Washington State
There is a general list of reasons that a ticket may be dismissed in Washington State court. This list includes (but is not limited to):
- Insufficient Notice of Infraction - IRLJ 2.1(b)
- Improper Venue - IRLJ 2.3
- Untimely Filing of Infraction - IRLJ 2.2(d)
- Untimely Scheduling - IRLJ 2.6(a)(1)
- Inadequate SMD Certification - IRLJ 6.6
- Police report doesn't contain elements of violation
- Evidence is Hearsay- ER 801-802
- Non-response of Prosecutor- IRLJ 3.1(b)
Insufficient Notice of Infraction
IRLJ 2.1(b) lists the information required on your citation. When you are looking over your ticket, this is the section you should be using as a reference. Mistakes on a ticket are okay, as long as none of those mistakes cause any of these conditions not to be met.
Request for Discovery
This is the most important part of fighting a speeding ticket. IRLJ 3.1(b) states that you have the right to request discovery at least 14 days before the hearing date. If this is done, the prosecutor then must provide you with the requested documentation at least 7 days prior to the hearing date. Contrary to what some may tell you, Washington State allows only a few items on this request.
- The citing officer's sworn statement.
- A copy of any photographic or video evidence intended to be used as evidence, or the web address where such evidence may be found.
- The names of any witnesses not named in the officer's sworn statement.
A simple web search will provide you with many templates to use in a request for discovery which will all be valid in Washington State. Don't send it in too early, however. Waiting until precisely 14 days before your trial date (I shoot for 15 days to be safe) minimizes the amount of time a prosecutor has to respond. If they do not respond within the time frame required, which happens a lot, then you can motion for dismissal when you show up to court. Send this request via certified mail, so you have proof of delivery date if this happens. From my experience, this rule gets more speeding tickets thrown out in Washington State than any others in this guideline. You also get to go to court already knowing you've won. By far the least stressful.
Untimely Filing of Infraction
According to IRLJ 2.2(d) an officer must file your infraction with the court within 5 days of the date the speeding ticket was issued, excluding Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays. This is a mistake commonly made by officers, not expecting to be called out on it. If you receive the documents requested in your request for discovery on time, the date of filing will be included here. Failing to file on time is immediate grounds for dismissal in Washington State.
Inadequate SMD Certification
IRLJ 6.6 is the speeding ticket miracle cure. This is the singular law used by Washington State attorneys to get a majority of their client's speeding tickets dismissed. Every speed measuring device used by police officers must be regularly maintained and calibrated. The state is very specific in defining how often calibration must be done and who is allowed to do so. The information must also be documented in order to prove to the courts it was actually done properly. This is an effort to protect citizens from being falsely accused of speeding, and is your best tool for getting a case dismissed. Read more about IRLJ 6.6 as explained by a Washington State traffic lawyer here.
Get Comfortable With Traffic Court
The best advice I ever received was to go to court before my court date, wherever my hearing was scheduled to take place. I have been to a lot of different traffic courts in my lifetime, and each one is drastically different than the next. By paying them a visit some time before your own hearing, you can get comfortable with their process allowing you to come prepared when your hearing date arrives.
Appearance is also vital. It is amazing to see how often people show up in pajamas, with their cell phones ringing off the hook and three babies in tow. Judges are not customer service reps, so they don't have to hide their opinions. It is obvious when a judge has no respect for an individual, and it often affects their final judgement. Making a good first impression, garnering the judge's respect and showing that you aren't there to waste his or her time will go a long way.
Researching Washington Traffic Laws
In this article I list the best defenses for getting speeding tickets dismissed, but every case is different. A small percentage of cases may require something more. Even if the information here seems enough to win your fight, it never hurts to familiarize yourself with all of the laws involving traffic tickets in Washington State. The entire RCW is available online, so punch the numbers written on your ticket into Google and see what comes up. Read through the IRLJ thoroughly; you may find a hidden gem that pertains to your case in particular. Knowledge is power.
Traffic Ticket Attorneys in Washington State
These are a few traffic ticket attorneys in Washington State in case you still aren't confident in fighting your traffic ticket on your own.
- Jeannie Mucklestone - Fairly expensive, but she gets results.
- Donaldson & Knigg - Probably the best traffic ticket attorney on the list, very personable.
- Michael Sheehan - Almost as expensive as Mucklestone, not as easy to deal with, but plenty of people have reported great results.
Hiring an Attorney
This article could just as well be titled "How to Beat a Speeding Ticket in Washington State Without a Lawyer", since the advice reads like a self-help booklet. But that title is long and cumbersome. As a result, I am allowed to say "Lawyers are good!"
I've fought most tickets myself. I've never lost a ticket that I took to court myself. But I'd be lying if I said I've fought them all myself. I've actually hired an attorney for three different citations. All three were dropped. I didn't even have to show up to court. Hell, I've never even met my lawyer face to face. I won't lie; it costs a pretty penny, but paying a little bit more than the ticket and keeping it off of your record however, is totally worth that penny. If you don't feel confident in beating a speeding ticket or any other citation on your own, pony up and let somebody else beat the ticket for you.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
© 2012 Steven Pearson
Questions or Comments? Fire Away!
Valentin on January 03, 2020:
Discovery request templates can be found here: https://www.seattle.gov/cityattorney/trial-and-inf...
Kurtis on December 15, 2019:
I work at a ski resort and drive an suv with snowboard rack on top. On the way home a state trooper followed very closely for on hwy 12 through a 60mph one lane, small town at 30, then back to 60 two lane. I took the slow lane and another vehicle in the left lane was at 55. Felt like he was profiling my vehicle but had no reason to pull me over. I sped up to 65 and passed the car. The trooper stomped it and sped off swerving into the left lane after passing the other car. Just as I was happy he wasn't on my tail, as it was hard to see with his lights in my side mirrors. 30seconds later I couldn't even tell he was a cop car anymore. He hit the brakes swerving from the left lane to the right shoulder. I passed his stopped vehicle at 60mph and he immediately lit them up. I pulled over and he claimed He was doing 70 mph and I was catching up to him. I shouldn't of but mentioned his tailgating me for 5 miles which was returned with a very sarcastic surprised "I was". Ticket for 65 in a 60 but under it said real speed 75. Is it even worth fighting or just mitigating?
Nancy Dhillon on September 25, 2019:
Hello , today I got ticket for speeding officer said it's 25 limit n I was 38.
He just gave me ticket I'm sure I did not speed 38 cos I know it's school zone.
What should I do to fight? Should I dispute and if so what is discover? Can I do that ?
Bomberman on September 09, 2019:
Hello, I don't think you mentioned later why it was better to not subpeona the officer. Can you describe the reasons?
Scott Bliss on July 16, 2019:
Hi. I just got a ticket in Spokane, WA last week. I live in MI and was there for work. From the time i left my hotel to the time I go pulled over there wasn't a single speed limit sign. How do I fit this ticked if I live in a different State?
Exceptional1 on July 09, 2019:
I was ticket 07/02/2019 for negligent driving, something I didn't even know about because the officer never explained it to me. It was in Vancouver, Wa, I am from California. I am wondering how I file for discovery. Do I first check the box for contested hearing, then wait to get a court date and file for a discovery? Or do I file for a discovery first? I found a way online to file for discovery with the Vancouver, Wa PD, and am wondering if I should do that rather than through the mail?
The officer said he has a video of me, which I really want to see because we were passed by another vehicle they did not pursue, and the officer made outlandish claims about my driving. I work for a city government myself, and plan on filing FOIA's for the Officer's work schedule, time card, and such to see how long he was working and when his last day off was.
So, do I need to mail in the form with the contested hearing box marked, then when I receive a court date send in my motion of discovery, or first send in the motion of discover?
cam89 on February 20, 2019:
UPDATE: I beat the ticket! Thank you author for the tips!
cam89 on February 03, 2019:
This message is for the author: Sending the ROD by certified mail has to occur AT LEAST 14 days (Mailed not received) big difference, correct? Also it the actual discovery needs to be mailed not received within 7 days correct? How does defendant know when it was mailed?
Thank you hopefully you still comment on an old article!
cam89 on February 03, 2019:
You can mail it certified mail.
Discovery Request Template: http://www.mediafire.com/file/x1dymwr4tt2ddrb/Disc...
Jason on March 28, 2018:
How do you request discovery? Do you mail in the form 14 days prior or do you have to stop at the Courthouse to file it?
Larry B. on October 21, 2017:
Love how you list each tactic to get a traffic and speeding ticket dismissed.
If none of them work, then is it best to take the deal offered by the courts for a speeding ticket?
Wish I read this before trying out https://offtherecord.com as I got two tickets, one was dismissed based on the inadequate SMD certification by them but the other was reduced to a non-mover but I still have to pay the fine. The attorney I got assigned said the discovery had everything against me on the 2nd ticket so he went for a deal. Is that accurate info? Or did he take a shortcut?
joe on October 14, 2013:
How do you check if the venue was correct.
vcass on October 06, 2013:
I received a citation written for going 65 in a 60 zone. The citation shows a different color and year of vehicle (does not match registration).
The officer was north bound and noted in his rear radar the southbound vehicle speed had increased by two miles per hour after he had passed. It was dark and there were other vehicles on the roadway, one of which had come up behind me and turned off just prior to the officer coming into view behind me.
Do I stand a chance of getting the citation dismissed? And should I state my case in my contested response to the court?
Steven Pearson (author) from Bonney Lake, WA on October 04, 2013:
That is not a moving violation, and contesting it would be pretty difficult since they have solid proof that you didn't have an up-to-date registration when you were pulled over. Mitigate it, pay the fine, and move on.
Mike on October 02, 2013:
I just got a ticket for driving without a current registration. I somehow spaced the registration 3 months ago and am now faced with a $219 ticket. I'm planning to mitigate it and get that amount at least cut in half.
Is there any benefit to contesting it? Would I basically be gambling that they would not respond to my request for discovery?
FromCanada on August 28, 2013:
Also, my hearing date is October 23rd, 2013. Does the fact that I live in Canada with a Canadian mailing address mean I need to send the request for hearing more than 14 days in advance? If none of the technicalities to get me off the hook applies after I go over the Request for Discovery, should I subpoena the office anyway? Will that increase my chance of getting the case thrown out if the officer doesn`t show up?
FromCanada on August 28, 2013:
I lived about 30 minutes from Bellingham, WA in Canada and got a ticket for driving 76 miles an hour in a 60 zone. Not knowing about this thread earlier, I mailed in a request for a Contested Hearing. I have requested a form to subpoena the officer and received 2 copies of the form from the State of Washington Whatcom county district court. I haven`t served this form to the officer yet, is it still ok if I don`t serve the subpoena now or the fact that I have received this signed form from the District Court judge means I am required to legally follow through and serve the subpoena to the office personally?
Thanks in advance for your help
Kim Kieu on August 14, 2013:
How exactly do I request SMD certification on the specific device that the officer clocked me with if I cannot request this during discovery? I have read Q/As in this blog and am still not clear on how to do this. Thank you very much.
takwaynec on August 10, 2013:
Thanks again mattforte.
I just received my discovery 8/9/13, which they mailed on 8/8/13. My court date is on the 8/15/13. Can I use IRLJ 3.1 to get my ticket dismissed? Also, I requested for the SMD Certification, which they didn't include. However, they said that it may be obtained by contacting the court. After searching online, I was able to find the SMD Certification which was only certified a year ago and expires next year. Can I use the argument under IRLJ 3.1 b that since the SMD certification was not included, and that I had to obtain it myself less than 7 days before my trial, the ticket be dismissed?
IRLJ 3.1 b:
"If the prosecuting authority provides any portion of the discovery less than 7 days before the hearing, such untimely discovery shall be suppressed only upon a showing of prejudice in the presentation of the defendant's case. If the prosecuting authority, without reasonable excuse or justification, fails to provide any portion of the discovery prior to the day of the hearing, the portion of discovery not provided shall be suppressed."
Any other hints or tips would be greatly appreciated!
Thanks in advance!
Steven Pearson (author) from Bonney Lake, WA on August 03, 2013:
takwaynec on July 31, 2013:
Do I have to mail the Request of Discovery to the court only, or do I have to mail one to the prosecutors office as well?
Steven Pearson (author) from Bonney Lake, WA on July 27, 2013:
14 days - business days are irrelevant.
As for sending the officer the subpoena, the answer is: don't.
That is addressed in this article, and is a very bad idea.
takwaynec on July 27, 2013:
Thanks for the reply matteforte!
Does the Request for Discovery have to be postmarked 14 WORKING days before the hearing or just 14 days including weekends? Also, how do I subpoena the officer?
Steven Pearson (author) from Bonney Lake, WA on July 24, 2013:
That box is misunderstood, it isn't showing whether or not you *have* a CDL, but whether or not it is a CDL ticket, while driving a vehicle that requires a CDL. So, if you were driving a regular vehicle, it will always be checked "no" regardless of your CDL status.
Mike on July 24, 2013:
I got a ticket for 18 over in a 60mph zone on I-405 in New Castle. The officer marked the wrong box for CDL on the ticket. I have a CDL and he checked no. Is this grounds for dismissal?
Steven Pearson (author) from Bonney Lake, WA on July 09, 2013:
That's bizarre. I was unaware that you *could* get points on your out of state records, as they are different governments. Which simply brings me to the point: That's an area way out of my expertise. Your best bet is to first contact your local DOL and ask them if there is anything you can do. If they don't give you a good answer, then you can try contacting the WA state DOL (They have an email address on their website, I always get my answers from there in less than 24 hours) and see what they have to say about it.
Jake on July 09, 2013:
I received a speeding ticket a couple months ago in the state of Washington and I am a resident of California. I paid the traffic ticket and a point was assigned to my driving record in California. I was wondering if I can take a defensive driving/traffic school online from the state of Washington to remove this point off my California driving record?
Steven Pearson (author) from Bonney Lake, WA on July 05, 2013:
Sorry, but no.
The court clerk can amend the ticket at any time - if all of the other information is correct, then it is still incriminating evidence. The court can clearly see that it was *you* that got pulled over, not somebody else with a different name/address/car/nationality/you get the drift. This unfortunately does not qualify as "reasonable doubt".
Steven Pearson (author) from Bonney Lake, WA on July 05, 2013:
Don't take it in in person, unless you can get the clerk to give you a stamp verifying their receipt of the discovery.
But yes, you just send it to the court, the exact same address that shows up on your hearing notice. Send it via certified mail, so you have proof that you sent the letter.
DMC on July 05, 2013:
I got a ticket last night. Did I hit the jackpot with the officer recording the incorrect expiry day on my license? He was off by 12
Friandise on July 02, 2013:
Thanks for the reply. I'm still a little unsure where to send te request for discovery, though. Am I just filing it with the court clerk?
Steven Pearson (author) from Bonney Lake, WA on July 01, 2013:
You could try, but as I told another user - I have zero experience contesting by mail. Just gather all of your info first.
Jon on June 28, 2013:
Actually, I just saw that I can submit my statement in writing without going to court. Have you ever tried this? Could I try to find grounds for dismissal in writing?
Jon on June 28, 2013:
If I request a Contested Hearing, gather all of the evidence, and come up empty, can I then just pay the ticket and be done with it?
I just got a speeding ticket near Olympia. I really don't want to drive all the out there for a relatively low-cost fine (and don't have any other violations on my record).
Steven Pearson (author) from Bonney Lake, WA on June 25, 2013:
You don't need to send them proof, the judge will already have your driving record in full.
Go here to get information on deferrals:
cul8er on June 24, 2013:
Yes, I can send them the proof of my driving record. What is a deferral? Can I still ask for it now that I already contested the ticket and have a court date?
Steven Pearson (author) from Bonney Lake, WA on June 24, 2013:
Everybody claims to have been travelling slower than they were cited. Every passenger claims the same thing. Trying to say "no I wasn't" to the courts just doesn't work, they're smarter than that.
The legal system is built on technicalities - whether you think you were travelling 65, 75, or 25 doesn't matter - what matters is whether or not the state can prove, within their own set of rules, how fast you were travelling.
Now, as far as contesting by mail - I honestly can't give you sound advice. This is something I have always avoided because I don't trust it, so I have zero experience. Thus, while I may be able to give my two cents...that is about all it would be worth. If this is in fact your first ticket ever, you can always ask for a deferral. If you are that safe of a driver then you probably have nothing to worry about.
cul8er on June 24, 2013:
I was in vacation in and got a speeding ticket near Forks, WA on 101 for speeding 75 in a 60 zone. I never admitted I was speeding 75, I said I did not believe I was driving more than 65 and that I never got a ticket before, having a clean record since I started driving in 2005 (which is true), yet the officer was determined to give a ticket. The officer was coming from the opposite direction, and he turned after me. My husband was on the passenger seat and he can be a witness I was driving only 65. Since we were driving through Forks, we stopped at the court and contested the ticket the same day. The court date was set for late July, but we cannot come to court so our only option is to contest by mail/email. So, although I might have been speeding 5 over the limit, definitely it wasn't 15 as the officer stated. Is this a good enough basis to write in the statement, to say that I do not contest I was speeding, but contest the amount over the limit? Can my husband be used as a witness in this case? Can I still request discovery over mail 14 days before the date and if I do not receive an answer 1 day before the court date to email the sworn statement asking for dismissal? Thank you.
Steven Pearson (author) from Bonney Lake, WA on June 23, 2013:
The last time you want to have any contact with the officer is when he writes you the citation. For one, the request for discovery has nothing to do with the officer, plus you don't want to give him reason to show up to court.
Your case is between you and the court - nobody else.
Friandise on June 23, 2013:
This is probably a stupid question, but other than filing the request for discovery with the court, I also need to send one to the police officer who wrote the ticket? Would that be the same address where I mailed the original ticket, or a different address that I need to look up? Thanks!
Steven Pearson (author) from Bonney Lake, WA on June 21, 2013:
Sorry I took so long to answer, wasn't given notification of your comment for some reason.
In short: No. When you go to contest the ticket and stand before the judge, you can either try and fight it or tell him/her from the get-go that you'd like a deferral. Of course, this may depend on the city and or judge - but if you are going to ask for a deferral, then better not to risk it.
takwaynec on June 18, 2013:
Great information mattforte!
I got a ticket on SB 5 going 77 in a 60. The officer used a SMD. My question is if I go through the process and fight the ticket in court, if they still find me guilty, can I still request a deferral?
Steven Pearson (author) from Bonney Lake, WA on June 13, 2013:
To my knowledge, IRLJ 6.6 applies to all speed measuring devices - this includes a speedometer.
Here is a great link for you, discussing the art of fighting a paced speeding ticket:
tyf on June 12, 2013:
Ok....siiigh. me again, I just realizd I was being paced there was no smd used just the speedometer I dont know what I was thinking this whole time. So nevermind! I have NO case whatsover. I hate mitigate and admit to guilt but I am 99.9 percent sure I will loose. I am not a lawyer nor do I have experience doing this. I cant find any loop holes. The request for dis. arrived early, the officer filed on time, the ticket was processed correct, I have no solid evidence that shows I didn't commit the infraction even though I know that I didnt. :( Oh well, thanks for your help anyway!
tyf on June 12, 2013:
and also, where is there stated in the SMD IRLJ 6.6 that certification has to be around the time of the infraction? I know that its common sense but I still would like to print some form of evidence. Do you possible know or have a link? Thanks so much! You've been really helpful! :)
tyf on June 12, 2013:
Okay, I called the court and they said the only source they have for the certificate is all online and it is extremely reliable. I guess I'm going to trust her on that! I go in court tomorrow but I'm going to go earlier to sit in on the other contested hearings and observe before mine. How would go about presenting this defense? I've never done it before.
Steven Pearson (author) from Bonney Lake, WA on June 10, 2013:
According to IRLJ 6.6, the certification is all that matters - and the court should have it on file.
If the officer's certification is in fact out of date (Which it sounds like) then all you have to do is present that information to the judge, and the case will be dismissed.
I would not trust the website alone. Go to the courthouse in person and ask for the certification records (You can't ask for these through discovery, but they must present them to you when you show up in person requesting them). If it is in fact out of date, you are good; bring that copy to your court date and case dismissed.
If not..I say print out what you found online, and bring that into the judge. That should do the trick as well.
tyf on June 10, 2013:
Okay I got the discovery packet back with the officer's sworn statement and all of that! Everything was filed on time: his statement was like, subject in lane 4 of 4 passed my vehicle from behind at a speed visually greater than traffic...paced at 73 mph for several seconds at 2 car lengths from lanes one and two...last speedo check 12-30-13. The part that most confuses me is the last 'speedo check'. Does that mean that was the last time it was calibrated? I really do not know how this SMD IRLJ6.6 thing works? On the website the court told me to go on to check the certification it says that it was last certified for accuracy on 02/08/2010 with the expiration date of 02/08/2012. Can ANYBODY help me to try to decipher if I even have a case here! I don't want to have to mitigate but I don't want to go to court looking like I don't know what I am talking about neither. According to Washington State Law, how often does a radar device have to be calibrated or tested? PLEASE respond, cause I don't want to loose if I actually have a solid chance of beating this! Also does anyone know that if this is the second ticket you get it you can go to driving school to get it dismissed or only if its your first ticket? I know none here are official lawyers but your advice and experience will help! You can tell I don't do this often!
Dan on May 22, 2013:
Spending an hour and a half in the court room before my number got called was certainly an interesting civics lesson.
Most of the defendants were examples of what not to do, as you mentioned from Puyallup. They wanted to talk about their feelings or throw out random complaints, rather than present facts or the law, and the judge was courteous but unmoved.
The only ones who got off before me were (1) a woman who highlighted the presence of adjacent speeding cars in her testimony, while the officer's statement was unclear on whether he was sure he had fixed the radar on her car, (2) a woman who got lucky in that the officer failed to attach the police report correctly, and (3) a woman who had a photo of the intersection which conflicted somewhat with the officer's description. In other words, 1 who got lucky, and 1 who presented clear facts in her defense, and 1 who was somewhere in between.
The only time I've been to traffic court before was on a very snowy day on the East Coast. The judge congratulated everyone who actually showed up and offered deferred findings and reduction to the most minor violation to everyone.
My takeaway is that it's *possible* to get lucky in traffic court, but it's a lot better to do your homework and try to poke holes in the case ahead of time. (Of course, I was a bit lucky too since the court didn't respond to my discovery request!)
Steven Pearson (author) from Bonney Lake, WA on May 22, 2013:
Glad I could help! I actually just got out of a court hearing in Puyallup. The very first case was some poor girl that subpoenaed the officer and had no defense...she even tried to imply that the rain could disrupt the laser! Every case before mine that didn't defer a sentence was a lost case....and each of them could have been a victory. Wish more people would research!
Dan on May 22, 2013:
I just got out of a speeding ticket in Clark County by requesting discovery 14 days before my hearing date, via certified mail, using the template described here: http://www.expertlaw.com/forums/showthread.php?t=8...
I never received anything in reply, so the judge summarily dismissed my case. It was helpful to bring 3 pieces of evidence to the hearing:
1) Copy of the Discovery Request
2) Copy of the electronic confirmation of mailing and delivery via Certified Mail (printed from USPS.com)
3) Copy of the certified mail *envelope*, showing that it was correctly addressed to the Prosecuting Attorney of the court.
Many thanks for your helpful advice!
New to Washington on April 24, 2013:
Hi there -
I just moved to WA from Hawaii about a year ago and got a ticket on Maple Valley Hwy on 4/21 on my way to church. The officer said I was doing 67 in a 50 zone, but on the ticket he put "10MPH over limit (over 40)." I honestly was keeping up with traffic, it was drizzling and it was my first time on Maple Valley, however the officer pulled a U-turn to nab me and issued the citation. He told me I might be able to "defer" the ticket but that was dependent on whether or not I've recieved a ticket within the last six months. Unfortunatly I reieved a ticket for going 45 mph on a 40 mph backroad (I had no idea where I was - new area, trying to follow GPS, it was 10 p.m.) about a month ago and just paid it as it was the first ticket I'd recieved in several years. While issuing that citation, the officer told me he could fine me $500 for not having a WA lisence (mine is still Hawaii, and doesn't expire until 2014). I had no idea that I only had 30 days after moving to WA to get a new license.
Not sure what my chances are here in fighting this recent ticket, and I still haven't been able to get a WA lisence. I would assume that this will hurt me in court, so I'd appreciate any advice you can give me here.
Thanks so much.
taaaja on April 11, 2013:
Hi, i recently got a ticket deferred last december and got another one for doing 73 in a 60 mph freeway. I was just moving right along qith traffic but the police officer was having a bad day you could tell so he gave me a ticket! I really did learn my lesson but I really want to fight this because I cannot have my ins skyrocketing like that. What do you suggest I do? Fight it and hope to get it dismissed or will it be harder because I just got my ticket recently in december too that I deferred? Please help if you can
Steven Pearson (author) from Bonney Lake, WA on April 08, 2013:
1: I've never heard of that, but the idea was intriguing to me enough to at least not brush it off as silly.
That said, after a short bit of thought: It's still silly.
Is it possible? Yes. I have on many occasions been pulled over for one thing, only to get bigger tickets for other things instead.
Is it smart? No. I have on many occasions been pulled over for one thing, only to get bigger tickets IN ADDITION TO other things. The latter is probably far more common...imagine you are a police officer and you catch somebody speeding. Pull them over and find out that they also don't have insurance? Great now you've got some kid driving too fast, and if he hits somebody then the victim may get screwed since the kid can't pay for repairs. You are probably going to be more pissed off. In some cases, you might look for other things to cite them for as well...so now instead of just a speeding ticket, you've also landed yourself a no proof of insurance ticket (Which you will get dismissed), and a ticket for your license plate being too dirty. Is it a stretch? Yes..but it is possible.
I say, don't try it. I certainly won't be.
2: The overpayment myth. That's all this is. Find me one person who says they got out of their tickets this way, and I'll show you a bold faced liar. That simply isn't how the system works.
Mail in a ticket that says "I committed the infraction" and watch what happens. You are found guilty immediately upon processing of that document, and it goes on your record. You don't even have to have paid them at all yet. It's already closed. That's why you owe the money...because it is closed.
If you kill somebody, the case is closed before you serve your sentence. Same thing. Staying an extra day in prison isn't going to make the murder invisible on your record...it's already there.
If that myth were real, it would be MUCH more prevalent, and we would all have clean driving records.
Steven Pearson (author) from Bonney Lake, WA on April 08, 2013:
First off - yes he does have plenty of better things to do than to show up to court. Like be with his family, hang out at the bar, play video games, etc. He won't even get notice of the court date unless you call for the subpoena.
Your case is pretty cut and dry, BUT:
Don't try the "I thought the speed limit was X" that never works. In the eyes of the court, ignorance of the law is not a valid excuse. Often time it just makes them irritated. Don't say "I thought this or I thought that" just follow the steps provided in this article, and fight it with facts. Ignorance and sympathy simply will not work in front of a judge.
Your driving record may be clean, but you are only 18. Everybody's record is clean prior to their first citation. Your age will work against you, so all you've got is the law - and the information provided here should give you everything you need.
Carren on April 07, 2013:
I have a few questions on myths I have heard as to if they are true or not.
1. Some people will tell the officer when getting pulled over that they don't have insurance when they really do because then they will write them a ticket for not having insurance and the officer will often times give them the ticket that's more costly and then all you have to do is go into court and prove you had insurance at the time and then you get out of both tickets. Is this really likely and possible?
2. I heard another story about a man who was a truck driver so his tickets were an even bigger problem because he could lose his job, and the way it worked was that he never lost his job and had several speeding tickets because what he would do is send the total amount owed for the speeding ticket in the mail with an additional 10 dollars. I guess the myth is that they can't close out the ticket because it was over paid and they can't issue refunds. So the moral of this story was that he got out of all those speeding tickets being on his record because they could never be closed out and sealed to be on his record because of the fact that he had over paid every time he got a ticket. And he never lost his job when he should have if his employer knew all the speeding tickets he had. Is this also legitimately possible?
AlissaRene on April 07, 2013:
It was spring break last week and I took my first road trip to Idaho. I was driving on I-90 and got pulled over for doing 73 in a 60. My ticket is 144 dollars. I had a clean record before this. Never been pulled over or had a ticket. I had been a licensed driver for a little over a year. The officer did not seem to care that it was my first time being pulled over and did not cut me a break. I informed him I honestly thought the speed limit was 70 MPH to which he was rather nasty back and told me I had just come out of a speed zone of 50 MPH when he clocked me and implied if he had clocked me a minute back it could have been a bigger ticket. I also forgot to put my new insurance cards in my car and so the ones given to him expired the next day which he informed me could have also been a bigger ticket. He wanted to get me every which way possible. This ticket happened in Othello WA where only cows live. The speed limit had been 65 and 70 almost the entire time and I did not see a sign changing to 60 or to 50. I plan to drive the three hours to fight this in court because I don't believe its fair. I did not admit to the 73 but I did inform him I thought it was 70. Is there any advice you would have for me to help me in court? I called the court also to ask a few questions and they weren't all that friendly either. I am only 18 and my insurance a month is already 200 with a good drivers and good grades discount. This will completely sky rocket my insurance if it goes on my record. I have not sent in my ticket yet. Today is the 7th and it happened on April Fools. (I wish it was an April Fools Joke but he was rather rude) I was also polite to the officer letting him know it was my first time pulled over when I was fumbling to find my registration in my glove box. I checked over my ticket as well and since he was a local cop not a state patrol in the area of nowhere all he does is write speeding tickets so everything was correct. This is also why I am worried if I contest it, he has nothing better to do than show up for court, and I can't afford a lawyer let alone this speeding ticket or the gas all the way out to Othello. If you have any advice I would appreciate it! Thanks!
Steven Pearson (author) from Bonney Lake, WA on February 26, 2013:
Getting a dismissal based on receiving or not receiving the paperwork is just one strategy. I suggest checking out the other techniques to build a defense and going in prepared. It is possible tohave the case thrown out wwith IRLJ 3.1b but don't put all your eggs in that basket in case it doesn't work.
Check out this thread discussing what you are asking about:
That can be your first weapon, but go in armed with more.
JF on February 25, 2013:
I have court tomorrow and thanks to your article I requested discovery and the prosecutor's office was late in getting me the paperwork.
My question is that IRJL 3.1b states that "If the prosecuting authority provides any portion of the discovery less than 7 days before the hearing, such untimely discovery shall be suppressed only upon a showing of prejudice in the presentation of the defendant's case. If the prosecuting authority, without reasonable excuse or justification, fails to provide any portion of the discovery prior to the day of the hearing, the portion of discovery not provided shall be suppressed."
How do I make a motion to have this thrown out and does this mean I this case won't be dismissed if there is lack of prejudice even though the prosecutors office was late? Please help, I have court tomorrow..
Steven Pearson (author) from Bonney Lake, WA on February 21, 2013:
Pt: No, and neither does the person receiving the ticket.
The only "technicalities" on the tickets that hold up are the ones covered in this article...looking for that easy way out is grabbing at straws...and the judges know it. The law is far more reliable than "officer error" when fighting tickets.
pt on February 21, 2013:
Does the officer have to sign the ticket for it to be Valid?
Steven Pearson (author) from Bonney Lake, WA on February 20, 2013:
Sorry, that is an urban legend. How that silly myth even got spread is beyond me...having lights on or off has no bearing on whether or not they are able to determine if you are speeding.
whatcom on February 20, 2013:
I recently received a speeding ticket from a state patrol officer who had no lights on while on the side of I-5. I had heard that they had to have running lights on to issue a ticket, is that true and can I challenge an infraction on these grounds?
Steven Pearson (author) from Bonney Lake, WA on February 08, 2013:
At any time you please. The court is supposed to have it on file, so you can literally walk in the day before and ask for it.
Tom on February 08, 2013:
So if your motion for discovery can only request the three things you listed, at what point/how do you acquire the SMD certification letter?
Thanks for putting this together.
Steven Pearson (author) from Bonney Lake, WA on February 07, 2013:
I honestly have no experience dealing with aircraft, although it is fairly common. (I always slow down when I see a chopper or small plane flying parallel with the road out of paranoia)
As far as getting out - all of the same rules apply. Whether it comes from an aircraft or not, they still use the same measuring devices, and must follow the same laws. Whether you were speeding or not is, ultimately, irrelevant. (I'll tell you right now, every speeding ticket I've gotten dropped, I *was* speeding)
JLS on February 07, 2013:
410 hill is probably the worst hill to "not" speed down... Almost impossible i might add. Bonny Lake cops are as bad as Kitsap...
Anywho, I was accused of speeding on my GSX750 street bike today, I had just turned left at a light, following my friend in their toyota sedan, my friend had slowed from 35 and signaled me to pass them in the open lane on our right, the moment I merged over and became paralelle with then, 2 motorcycle police, coming from the opposite direction fliped their lights on, turned around to nab me. i was already pulled over to the shoulder and into a parking lot before they were able to complete their turn (I been thru this before). He said i was doing 55 in a 35 (which is poo). He sighted me for 15 over and let me "slide" on Riding a motorcycle with out an indorcement (nice guy eh?) I currently possess a Class A CDL and this MUST go away... the ticket is $156 which as you said is with in the 150-300 lawyer cost, I dont want to spend $300 on a lawyer and get one that's only worth 150... I would like to get a "real" worthy one... Any ideas?
Confused on February 07, 2013:
today, i was driving down 410 on my way to school in auburn. I admit i was speeding, going around 80 at most, and when i hit the bottom of the hill, i return to the speed limit. As i pass a sumner exit, a cop pulls up behind me, im going 55, and pulls me over. He says that he used an aircraft and that i was going 84 in a 60, which did not happen. Is there any way to get out of this ticket when i go to court concerning the aircraft?
Thanks for your response,
A confused driver
Steven Pearson (author) from Bonney Lake, WA on February 05, 2013:
You can't request discovery for a mitigation hearing. When you check mitigation, you are admitting guilt and asking to explain the circumstances in order to reduce the fine. (You can not get a ticket dropped during mitigation, since you are admitting guilt)
bacon612 on February 05, 2013:
Hi Mattforte and thank you for this helpful information.
I was traveling through Callam County close to Forks, WA and got a speeding citation of 60 in a 50. I was polite to the officer as always and didnt admit that I was speeding. I was a visitor to the area and live in Florida. I have requested and recieved my mitigation notice and have the option to file it by mail or email. Would requesting discovery within the 14-15 days of my mitigation hearing help me out as it is not realistic for me to return to Forks for my hearing? Do you have any advice on how to handle this?
Court on January 31, 2013:
Thanks for the quick response. I'm completely baffled by it since the notice I received gives no explanation at all for why it was denied. Doesn't say that I failed to submit the papers on time ( I didn't, used registered mail within the 15 day time frame), doesn't say that anything about the evidence against me etc.
I definitely don't want to just pay this, and I feel like I'm being railroaded here.
Steven Pearson (author) from Bonney Lake, WA on January 31, 2013:
Police officers like to make threats of extra charges (Usually ones that would never hold up, which is why they don't issue them) just to frighten you, or make you feel like they're "giving you a break" (right).
I've never heard of a "Commissioner" supposedly "denying a request for a hearing" before. But United States law entitles you to the right to a hearing which can not be denied as long as you do what you are supposed to.
That said - this is far beyond my knowledge (limited to speeding tickets), and definitely fits into that "talk to a lawyer" category. A good lawyer can get you out of damn near anything traffic wise...and you won't even have to make the drive to appear in court.
That said - never "confess" to speeding. Even if you think that will get them to go easy on you for everything else - even a slight mention of "yeah I was speeding" locks you in, and they'll eat that up.
Court on January 31, 2013:
Oh, and if it's important, this occurred in Snohomish County. Arlington WA specifically.
Court on January 31, 2013:
Hi, I'm a canadian driver and was issued a speeding ticket as well as a ticket for following too close on December 26th, 2012. At the time, the officer indicated that I was driving recklessly, and weaving in and out of traffic. Ultimately, I was charged with the infractions indicated above and assessed a fine of $299 dollars. When he presented the fine, the officer informed me he was tempted to charge me with reckless (or negligent both are listed in the code) driving which would have been an additional $500 dollar fine (his words). I'm guilty of the speeding I confess. He indicated he had me at 80 mph in a 60 zone, I had not seen the signs indicating that the speed had dropped from 70. As for the following too close, I simply don't believe I am guilty of that offence, nor does my wife who was with me at the time. I also don't believe that I was driving recklessly. I passed a couple of cars, but signalled my lane changes, did not tailgate anyone etc. It felt as though I was having charges piled on me in the hopes that I would just shut up and pay. At any rate, I submitted the paperwork requesting a hearing within the posted time frame, sent by registered mail etc. I received notice today that the Commissioner has "reviewed the files" in my case and has denied my request for a hearing. I've been ordered to pay the full amount by the 25th of February. I'm a little shell shocked at the moment and did not realize that I could be denied a chance to defend myself. Can you shed some light on why this might happen? Is it because I'm not a citizen and therefore not entitled? Is there video evidence against me and am I just kidding myself about not being guilty of this? Do they just not feel like granting me a hearing?
Thanks for any insight and advice you can offer.
Steven Pearson (author) from Bonney Lake, WA on January 30, 2013:
Ignorance of the rules is never a valid defense. No matter how many he said there were...you did in fact find a posted limit and that is enough.
If you are in doubt...definately contact a lawyer, especially since the ticket costs as much as one anyway.
JM on January 30, 2013:
Thanks for getting back so quickly! In my case, I deferred a ticket back in 2010 and ended up getting another one in 2011... sounds kind of similar to the PJC I just wasn't sure if that is the same as the deferral process.
Being that you have someto experience in this, do youI mind me asking your personal opinion? I got my speeding ticket Jan 13 coming back from skiing inwith Dayton. From what iI knew theyou roads were all 60mph except when youI getmind into the small towns. I was about 15 minutes outside of Dayton when I saw a reduced speed limit sign. Once I saw that, you can bet I was looking for the speed limit sign. Not less than a minute later, I was approaching the bottom of the hill where as you round the corner the cop was sitting right there. Lights went on immediately and he flipped a u-turn and pulled be over. He asked if I knew why and I said that I didn't. He said speeding and that he clocked me going 61. Of course thinking the speed was 60, I was confused as to what the problem was. Then he said the speed was 40mph! I explained that I saw the reduced speed ahead sign but no speed limit sign and he said "well you passed 2 of them" and turned around with my license and walked straight to his vehicle. When he came back with a $247 speeding ticket in hand I asked if he could tell me where the signs were locates. When I went back to look I did find one (not sure how I missed it) but definitely not 2. He also incorrectly wrote the color of my vehicle as silver when it is white although color doesn't appear to be mandatory on the ticket. I have no clue what my chances are with this. I have requested to contest and have a scheduled court date of 2/19. I did snap one photo of the reduced speed ahead with no speed limit sign visible in the distance. I know this one is a stretch but I figure its at least worth trying. Any recommendations on how to best contest this or at least request it to not go to insurance? Or is my best chance an attorney?
Steven Pearson (author) from Bonney Lake, WA on January 29, 2013:
As for a PFJC - I've personally never used it. You only get to use it once every 3 years, and it is a great way to keep it off of your insurance...however if you get another ticket (and lose) then you're smacked with them both. (if I understand correctly, like I said I've never used it)
I would suggest avoiding the use of that unless you don't think you can win your case. Winning is far superior...it can never come back to bite you.
Steven Pearson (author) from Bonney Lake, WA on January 29, 2013:
Do not put that on your request for discovery. That is the misconception a lot of people make, since those documents are not a part of the WA discovery request system.
However, you have the right to request these documents at the court at any time. Read the code (Just Google IRLJ 6.6 and it will be the first result) IRLJ 6.6(d) specifically states "Copies will be provided
on request. The court may charge any allowable copying fees.
The records are available without a formal request for discovery."
For a single infraction, you can expect to pay from $150-300 for a Seattle attorney. Keep in mind - you get what you pay for. I can't refer you to a certain person (I don't advertise for free, and my attorney refuses to set up a referral fee for me) but I can tell you I pay for the best, and haven't lost a case.
JM on January 29, 2013:
Also, do you have any advice on requesting Prayer for Judgement Continued? Thanks again for a great post!
JM on January 29, 2013:
With regard to IRLJ 6.6, should/can this information be requested in the Request for Discovery? Also, do you mind me asking roughly how much it cost to hire an attorney for these types of cases?
Steven Pearson (author) from Bonney Lake, WA on January 18, 2013:
Zach, in accordance with IRLJ 2.1 (b):
(4) The infraction which the defendant is alleged to have committed and the accompanying statutory citation or ordinance number, the date, time, and place the infraction occurred, the date the notice of infraction was issued, and the name and, if applicable, the number of the citing officer;
So yes, the officer is required by law to include the date and time on the citation. If what you are saying is true and these are not included - then yes. You can bring this to court - make sure to bring all supporting documents, as well as a copy (for your own reference) of the entire IRLJ 2.1
Inform the judge that your rights as a defendant have not been met per IRLJ 2.1 and tell him why.
You can see the IRLJ 2.1 in its entirety here:
Zach on January 18, 2013:
I just got a speeding ticket and the officer did not put a date or time that the violation occurred. Does this mean the ticket can be thrown out or how does this work?
Steven Pearson (author) from Bonney Lake, WA on January 16, 2013:
No, they ask to see it because it proves that the car is yours and that your tabs are current. He didn't look at it because they can look it up on their computer.
Derek on January 16, 2013:
i was speeding this morning he caught me doing 75 asked for my lisence and registration...i couldnt find my registration in time and he told me he will look at it once he gets back to my window (so he could write my ticket). i had my registration ready for him once he got back went to hand it to him and he said thats fine (didnt even look at it.) do cops have to look at registration in order to give you a ticket in the first place? isnt that why they ask to see it?
cbpoet from Las Vegas, Nevada on January 04, 2013:
Interesting. Thanks for sharing some valuable Washington Speeding ticket tips. Although helpful, I hope that I won't have to use them as long as I stay under the speed limit.
Kris Kain from Tacoma, WA on January 01, 2013:
Great article! Thanks.
Steven Pearson (author) from Bonney Lake, WA on December 18, 2012:
That's a tough one. The color of the car is not required according to 2.1b so that part doesn't matter. The model however, is. If he wrote Corona instead of Corolla, you will first need to be sure it isn't just bad handwriting. If that is the case, it could work - but not being a lawyer I can't give a definite answer.
If it were me, I would go through all of the other motions first (Who knows, you may win before even getting to that point) but I would try and get a lawyer's opinion (askalawyer.com) and see what they have to say about the model number.
Ana on December 18, 2012:
I just got a speeding ticket today. The officer was really nice and gave it to me for 5 over, even though I was going 35 in a 25 (this street really should be 35 but it's technically "residential.") In regards to IRLJ 2.1(b), would I stand a chance having it dropped if the model he wrote was "corona" instead of corolla and the color he wrote was "bro"/brown, even though my car is clearly silver/grey? Could I say he wasn't paying attention and maybe caught the car ahead of me speeding, not mine, and win?
Steven Pearson (author) from Bonney Lake, WA on December 06, 2012:
As long as it is postmarked 14 days before the hearing, you are safe. Since that is the only solid date they have to go by. With that in mind, you should also be absolutely sure to send it via certified mail. Don't forget to bring the receipts with you to your hearing.
doraz61 on December 05, 2012:
With respect to the Request for Discovery, does the request need to be postmarked 14 days before the hearing date, or does it need to be received by the prosecutor 14 days before the hearing?
Great Fisherman on April 30, 2012:
Next time I get a ticket, guess who I'm calling!!