Re: Excessive Speed For Conditions - RCW 46.61.400
Hmmm. This should be interesting. The question arises as to whether getting into an accident is prima facie evidence of "Too fast for conditions". For example, consider the following scenario:
You are sitting at a red light, waiting to make a left turn. Your light turns green, but it is not a "left arrow", so you must yield to oncoming traffic. You see a car coming the other way, but you know you have sufficient time to make your turn. In the middle of the apex of the turn, however, due to wet pavement, your rear tires start to skid.
This has never happened to you before -- your tires are good and have always had excellent traction, even in the rain. Now, never having had to deal with a skid before, you panic and, instead of hitting the brake, your foot hits the gas -- causing your tires to spin EVEN MORE! In trying to control the skid, but with your foot still on the gas, you spin out, colliding with the guardrail.
Now, is that a case of "too fast for conditions"? Or is it a case of a "panic reflex" or even a "mistake in judgment"?
Anyway, if it were me, I'd plead "not guilty" and ask for a "contested hearing". If that's what you decide to do, when you get your hearing notice, call the clerk of the court and ask for two things: 1) the filing date of the ticket (must be within 5 days of the infraction -- not including weekends) and 2) have the clerk read you the officer's notes (on the reverse side of the ticket that was filed). Later, you will have to request those notes through discovery, but this will give you an idea of what you're going to be up against.
Because you've got TWO infractions riding on this, I would also strongly suggest getting an attorney. You're probably under 21, so the impact of two tickets, along with the accident claim, will send your insurance "through the roof". An attorney will end up costing MUCH less.
Where am I going? And why am I in this handbasket?