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  1. #1

    Unhappy DWLS, 3rd Degree

    My question involves a driver's license issued by the State of: Washington.

    Let me begin by

    A police officer pulled me over for expired tabs today, and I was surprised to find out that my license had been suspended. Before I knew it, I was handcuffed and sitting in the back seat of his cruiser, while he ran my history and reminded me of a ticket I was issued in September. My mail on these matters was sent to a previous address. For someone who's most monumental offense to this point had been jaywalking, this was sort of a big deal. I'm kind of freaking out.

    So yes: for not changing my address responsibly.

    The ticket which caused my suspension is another topic altogether. It was a sketchy stop, the officer was out of uniform, I was not issued tickets on the scene or given an opportunity to inquire to my infraction, and he was excessively angry with me. I had recently moved so I called the court to change the address, they said it was strange that he would not issue a ticket on the spot, and they assured me that my address change would be effective if the ticket was submitted. It turns out that I called the court of a neighboring district - I said I was unsure of which district it was, and the lady said the address change should be effective throughout. I didn't receive anything in the mail. Based on the clerk's opinion of the incident, the nature of the stop, and the lack of a ticket, I decided the stop was a scare tactic and let it go. Once again:

    My current situation is this: I have a court date in a week (DWSL 3rd). I've read online that jail-time isn't out of the question. Before that court date, I want to handle my previous ticket, tabs, and get my license in order to make a good impression on the judge. But if I had known the ticket was for real, I would have contested it - now, it's been so long, I don't even know if that's a possibility. Part of me thinks I should just pay it to make a good impression, but holy crap, it was an $1100 triple-infraction, that I felt was questionable.

    My question is this: am I screwed? If I ask you guys if I need a lawyer, I have a feeling the answer will be yes. But this is overwhelming: I've never had to think about a lawyer, I don't know who to ask or how to go about this wisely. I want to make sure things do not get worse. Any advice, is appreciated. Thank you for being patient with my retelling.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Posts
    19,656

    Default Re: DWLS, 3rd Degree

    You should at least talk to a lawyer familiar with the court in which you are to appear. In some cases, the fact that you remedied the issues (dealt with the fine, restored your license, fixed the underlying expired registration charge), may result in a reduction or dismissal, but we're not in a position to know.

    Nothing you've said mitigated anything. Notification problems like this is why it's important (and required) to always have your correct address on file with the DMV.
    You can't stick your head in the sand and hope tickets go away. You didn't say what you did the first time around, but cases are NOT tried on the street corner. Cops do not need to be in uniform or of pleasant temperament. You don't have any particular right to inquire or plead your case during the stop.

    Your procrastination is going to cost you a lot of money, but if you're lucky you'll avoid criminal charges.

  3. #3

    Default Re: DWLS, 3rd Degree

    Thank you for your response. What's the best way of finding a lawyer familiar with the court? Should I limit my search to lawyers within the area I was cited?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Posts
    19,656

    Default Re: DWLS, 3rd Degree

    Often there is a county bar association that can give referrals. If asking around friends for a personal reference, you can start calling ones up in the phone book and asking if they practice in that court.

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