A motion is preliminary to the hearing, and is instigated when you “move” for the judge to decide about matters such as court rules or admissibility of evidence. In Washington State, successful defenses to traffic infractions often involve getting a dismissal before any evidence (such as the officer’s statement or your testimony) is presented. You should announce that you have a motion immediately when your case is called, before the officer’s statement is read into the record and before you are sworn in for testimony. If granted, you can move for dismissal due to lack of evidence.
The problem with you presenting a letter is that it probably will be regarded as evidence by the judge. Your best chance is to win before the evidence phase even starts, or make a prior deal with the prosecutor to amend, in which case you will not need to say much of anything except agree to the lesser charge.
The information given to you by the attorney regarding inattentive driving is new to me but could well be a recent trend with insurance companies. For whatever its worth, one of our long-time posters has a recent comment on that subject.
The officer’s statement is boilerplate but otherwise looks to be fairly thorough. It’s probably a gamble but there is one thing I saw that might have a shot with a sympathetic judge:
Preliminary motion to exclude or suppress the evidence of speed due to lack of foundation
: The officer states: “The speed indicated by the radar was verified with my patrol vehicle’s certified speedometer and they corresponded.”
Since this was part of a required test for moving radar, authentication of that evidence should include identification of the patrol vehicle pursuant to ER 901(b)(9)
in order to check the validity of the speedometer certification similar to the identification of the radar and tuning forks.
The error you pointed out regarding your address could also be possibly used as a long shot defense. IRLJ 2.1(b)(2) requires that a moving violation notice of infraction include “The name, address, date of birth, sex, physical characteristics, and, for a notice of traffic infraction, the operator's license number of the defendant…”
The above is a sufficiency defense based on IRLJ 3.1(d) but the problem is that you must show that the error prejudices your substantial rights, which seems unlikely. Probably the judge will consider it to be inconsequential. A foundational defense such as the one I mentioned earlier is more likely to work.
It’s your call whether to contest or make a deal with the prosecutor, but there is one more possibility. At the beginning you could ask the judge whether a deferred finding would still be available after preliminary motions are heard. If he/she agrees, then you can always fall back on the deferral.