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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2010

    Default Ticketed for a Seatbelt Violation - Except I Was Wearing It

    My question involves a traffic ticket from the state of: WA

    What is the best procedure for dealing with a seatbelt ticket when you were in fact wearing a seatbelt?

    I put my seatbelt on while driving in a grocery store parking lot. And was pulled over a few blocks away. The officer asked why I wasn't wearing it. I am now trying to remember what I said. I think I said that I put my seatbelt on as I left lunch.

    My truck has a canopy and I can't see how he could have seen it on or off, but occasionally there is slack in the belt that will hang out of the door. I was wearing it when I saw his lights come on.

    Looking at the citation it reads: "Seatbelt Violation"

    He also cited statute: 46.61.668

    That particular statute relates to talking on the phone or texting while driving. 46.61.688 relates to seatbelts.

    There is no other information on the ticket. What other evidence might the officer have, other than his word?

    I don't want to go into court with a botched infraction number and nothing else, but if need be I can do that.

    I would love to know if he wrote anything else down, but it isn't on the ticket if he did. With that in mind, I thought I would send in the ticket "contested" and then request all evidence relating to the case immediately as soon as I had a response back. Can I request all evidence when I submit my ticket response as "contested" or do I need to wait?

    Also I am going to be traveling and don't want to end up with a court date that conflicts with being out of the country. Can I request a date after my return at the same time I submit my ticket response?

    Can I request dismissal at the same time?


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2004

    Default Re: Wa St. Seatbelt Violation - Except I Was Wearing It

    The easiest thing might be to "hand-carry" your NOI to the Court. Talk with the Clerk, letting him/her know when you'll be out of the country. They SHOULD be able to schedule a court date around your trip (although you may have to sign a "speedy trial" waiver).

    You might also take a discovery request with you and see if they'll simply give you the discovery materials right then and there. Some places will do that, others will force you to submit the request to the prosecutor's office (as per the court rules).

    Oh, the wrong RCW SHOULD be fatal, so my advice would be to contest.


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2010

    Default Re: Wa St. Seatbelt Violation - Except I Was Wearing It

    Thank you Barry

    So basically contest and say:

    "Your honor, I am respectfully contesting this ticket because I didn't commit the infraction, but while trying to research for my case I could not see anything relating to seatbelts in the statute at all. I respectfully ask that the case be dismissed due to the fact that there is nothing in the statute that I have done wrong and nothing in the officers notes to suggest that I did anything related to this statute cited."

    Also go in prepared with printed copies of all of the statutes related to amending a citation, as well as the seatbelt statute 46.61.668 and the one on the ticket 46.61.668.

    If he denies me ask him about IRLJ 2.1 paragraph (4) that states that in order for a citation to be valid it needs a citation number that relates to the infraction, and object to any amendments to the citation because it would be a materially different infraction from what the officer put on the citation, and that is barred by IRLJ 3.1

    Obviously I would not want to mention that I had copies of any of the rules unless the judge denied my initial request for dismissal, and then if he did I would need to walk the fine line of being friendly and professional while citing the relevant statutes. I have a fear that Judges hate upstart ticket contesters who act like they know what they are talking about.

    I think I will approach it along the lines of "your honor, it is my understanding, and I am not an attorney, but from my own research that the Infraction Rules for Limited Jurisdiction prohibit citing me with the wrong offense. Also it is my understanding that it is not allowed under the rules to amend a citation to represent a different infraction all together. I have the relevant sections of the rules here with me today, and will share them if your honor would like to know about which sections I am referring. I would like to request dismissal once again please."

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