My question involves a traffic ticket from the state of: Washington
My boyfriend was recently charged with driving on a suspended license, and yesterday appeared for an arraignment on the charges (which was continued for a month pending the reinstatment of his license). The charge is under RCW 46.20.342 section C (so a misdemeanor, in the 3rd degree). The story is a little involved:
Some sixteen months ago he got a speeding ticket in Lewis County, for 12 over and failure to keep right. He disagreed that he committed the infraction, and requested a hearing. He then moved, and never received the notice to appear, and forgot to follow up with the court. Another notice was sent to inform him that his license would be suspended for failure to appear, which he also did not receive. On 9/7, he was pulled over after the officer ran his plates and determined his license had been suspended-a total shock to him-and his car was impounded and he was arrested and released. His license can be reinstated if he pays the $200.00 fine for the original infraction, but the problem remains that the Bellevue court, at his arraignment yesterday, basically told him that even after he gets it reinstated, he will still be fined $550.00 and it will go on his record as a civil offense. This is an unacceptable situation.
Our question is: can we argue that due to improper notice, he was unable to contest the infraction(s)? And furthermore, that since he was not aware of the suspension of his license, his case should be dismissed? Time limits have obviously already passed for petitions for review. Also, supposing Lewis County does give him hearings for the original infraction and license suspension, is it at all likely that he will a) prosper in those hearings and b) have his case dismissed in Bellevue if he does? What are we realistically looking at here?
Any ideas/advice would be helpful, as well as any thoughts on judicial procedure and how to deal with each court, as these are two separate jurisdictions.