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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2008
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    4

    Default Traffic Lane Violation In Shoreline, Washington

    So this is my first ticket ever, and I'm not quite sure how to respond to this ticket, other than sheer disappointment, and would like to ask this forum for advice.

    Here's what happened. I was driving north on hwy 99/aurora at around 9pm and was stuck behind a lexus rx300 who was going below the speed limit in the left lane, and I had been following it for about half a mile and decided to overtake it by merging into the right lane and speeding up. I checked my blind spots and proceeded to do so. I forgot to use my blinkers. So after that I merged back into the left lane, again not using my blinkers. After I had passed the Lexus, they pulled into the middle lane to make a left turn. I then proceeded at the speed limit. When I notice a police vehicle behind me. Because I drive a white STI, a Subaru Impreza with the big wing on the back, and I just made a pretty aggressive move I decide to turn off of hwy 99 at the next intersection. That's when the dreaded blue and red lights were turned on.

    I proceeded to stop on the side of the side street. It took the officer a bit of time to approach my vehicle, I guess he was running my plates or something because while he was talking to me I heard that my plates were clean. Is it normal for an officer to take what seemed like a couple minutes to approach my vehicle? When he approached he started with something along the lines of "What makes you think you can weave through traffic like that?" And I stated that I was just trying to over take a slow vehicle in the left lane. He mentioned that I didn't use my blinkers, to which I replied that I did check my blind spots, and to that he replied, "So?". After some digging around, after I got home, he was right with that remark I guess you do have to signal everytime you merge/turn your vehicle. That aside here's where my problem becomes unique.

    Firstly, despite having a new vehicle, a little over 6 months old, with Washington license plates, I have a California Drivers license, which is still valid (i.e. not expired). The officer informed that I needed a WA license when I become a WA resident. I was unaware of this and he let me off with a warning about that.

    Secondly, registration. I have current tabs on my license plate which I got in november/december of 2007. When asked to provide registration, I couldn't find the darned thing. And as of this moment I still have to find it. All I had in the car, remotely close to registration, was the paperwork from the dealership with my name and current address on it. Again I was fortunate that he let me off with a warning citing that I had current tabs on my vehicle and that I needed to find my registration when I got home.

    Lastly, insurance. I have it, just not the most current piece of paper with me in the car. The insurance "expired in october of 07". When the officer pointed out to me that it was expired, I explained that the insurance company pulls money out of my bank account monthly. But I couldn't produce current insurance coverage. He told me that all I had to do was show them that I had insurance and that charge would be taken off my ticket. Here's my second question, who's them, the court? I'm not sure if this helps, but on my insurance card which I found at home, says that it is valid for March of '08 until September of '08.

    So to summarize, I've got two infractions on my ticket, RCW 46.61.140 and RCW 46.30.020 "Improper Lane Travel/Unsafe Lane Change" and "No Vehicle Insurance" respectively.

    Which leads me to more questions, as this ticket is written in King Co. what are the conditions of requesting a deferral? The potential condition of deferral that I think I might violate is the "No Vehicle Insurance" infraction on my ticket. I technically did have insurance, but the paperwork I had with me was expired and by a lot as it seems. And I came across a website as I wa researching how to respond to a ticket, that one of the conditions that invalidates a deferral request is No Insurance, but I was unsure if that also applied to King Co.

    I have no qualms about paying the fine, I just don't want this ending up on my record for fear of my insurance climbing to an unfathomable amount. Since I got the ticket on 5-10 it says I have 15 days to respond, does that mean 15 business days or is it just normal calendar days? Also how should I respond. I'd very much like not to have anything on my record. But of the three options I don't see the deferral option, which by my understanding if granted does not go on your record right?, The first two options have a sentence saying, "I understand this will go on my driving record if 'traffic' is checked on the front." So does that mean I have to check contested hearing in order to get a deferral? I guess what I have to ask before that is when I check one of these boxes what do I do with it?

    Another question I'd like to ask if I do have to do some kind of court hearing, on average or guess, how far out is the court date?

    Sorry for the super long post and the sheer volume of questions. Any and all advice that you may have is greatly greatly appreciated. Thanks again! I look forward to your advice.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
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    Behind a Desk
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    98,846

    Default Re: Traffic Lane Violation In Shoreline, Washington

    Quote Quoting stidriver
    View Post
    Is it normal for an officer to take what seemed like a couple minutes to approach my vehicle?
    He was running your plates, and possibly doing a warrant check on the registered owner. As you indicate also, he would have had to get out-of-state data.
    Quote Quoting stidriver
    Firstly, despite having a new vehicle, a little over 6 months old, with Washington license plates, I have a California Drivers license, which is still valid (i.e. not expired). The officer informed that I needed a WA license when I become a WA resident. I was unaware of this and he let me off with a warning about that.
    That's not unique, and it's nice that he cut you a break.
    Quote Quoting stidriver
    Secondly, registration. I have current tabs on my license plate which I got in november/december of 2007. When asked to provide registration, I couldn't find the darned thing. ... Again I was fortunate that he let me off with a warning citing that I had current tabs on my vehicle and that I needed to find my registration when I got home.
    Again, not unique. Again, it's nice that he cut you a break.
    Quote Quoting stidriver
    Lastly, insurance. I have it, just not the most current piece of paper with me in the car. The insurance "expired in october of 07". When the officer pointed out to me that it was expired, I explained that the insurance company pulls money out of my bank account monthly. But I couldn't produce current insurance coverage. He told me that all I had to do was show them that I had insurance and that charge would be taken off my ticket. Here's my second question, who's them, the court? I'm not sure if this helps, but on my insurance card which I found at home, says that it is valid for March of '08 until September of '08.
    Again, not unique. "Them" is normally the court. The citation should identify the court - you can contact the court and ask about documenting that you had insurance at the time you were stopped.
    Quote Quoting stidriver
    Which leads me to more questions, as this ticket is written in King Co. what are the conditions of requesting a deferral? The potential condition of deferral that I think I might violate is the "No Vehicle Insurance" infraction on my ticket. I technically did have insurance, but the paperwork I had with me was expired and by a lot as it seems. And I came across a website as I wa researching how to respond to a ticket, that one of the conditions that invalidates a deferral request is No Insurance, but I was unsure if that also applied to King Co.
    Again, you document that you have insurance so that you can get that part dismissed. Information on traffic tickets and deferrals in King County.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Posts
    4

    Default Re: Traffic Lane Violation In Shoreline, Washington

    Hey thanks for your reply Mr. Knowitall. Considering that this is my first ticket ever, do you think my chances are good for a deferred finding?

    Some people I work with suggest getting a lawyer and having the possibility of the ticket dismissed? How would a lawyer go about doing that?

    Thanks again!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Seattle
    Posts
    3,577

    Default Re: Traffic Lane Violation In Shoreline, Washington

    You should probably ask for a "contested hearing". As Mr. KIA said, call the Clerk of the Court and ask about the documentation for proof of insurance. Some courts accept your "insurance card", but others require a letter from your agent, still others require a notarized letter. However, as per RCW 46.30.020 (2), if you bring your documentation, that charge will be dismissed -- the court will assess a $25 administrative fee.

    Once the insurance charge is dismissed, you can ask the judge for a deferral on the lane violation. If you are eligible (no deferrals in the past seven years), you will most likely get it. Again, you will have to pay an "administrative fee" (usually $150, or so), but if you don't get any violations for a year, this charge will be dismissed and won't appear on your record.

    As far as getting an attorney, that's up to you. An attorney might be able to plea bargain with the prosecutor to get you a non-moving violation -- allowing you to save your deferral for a later date. Prosecutors will not normally bargain with a pro se.

    As far as your court date, hearing schedules are governed by IRLJ 2.6. Basically, they must be scheduled within 120 days of the infraction (or within 90 days of the pre-hearing conference -- if one is scheduled -- which must be within 45 days of the infraction).

    As far as contesting the ticket, you'll need to do a Discovery Request (see IRLJ 3.1(b) for more info). Then you can check the officer's sworn statement. See if it contains the necessary information to prove the infraction (your exact location, officer's vantage point, details of your actions, etc.). If not, you might just get off. Also, you'll receive another copy of your citation. Check the filing date. It must be filed within 5 days (not including weekends and holidays) of the infraction. If not, request a dismissal pursuant to IRLJ 2.2(d).

    Oh, your fifteen day response time is 15 "calendar days". However, if the fifteenth day is on a weekend, it is due the following Monday.

    Good luck,
    Barry

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Posts
    4

    Default Re: Traffic Lane Violation In Shoreline, Washington

    Hey thanks for your replies it really does help me a lot. I was really confused as to what to do and what the best course of action would be. Thanks for all your help. I've decided to contest and as I have vacation coming up and don't want the court date to get in the way I've decided to have an attorney represent me, expensive I know, but I've taken measures to avoid all possible tickets in the future.

    Thanks again!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Seattle
    Posts
    3,577

    Default Re: Traffic Lane Violation In Shoreline, Washington

    Quote Quoting stidriver
    View Post
    I've taken measures to avoid all possible tickets in the future.
    Ah, the old Klingon Cloaking Device. Mine never worked -- I ended up sending it back. Oh, and dilithium crystals are REALLY expensive. Be sure to stock up whenever you find a sale.

    Barry

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Posts
    4

    Default Re: Traffic Lane Violation In Shoreline, Washington

    Barry not only are knowledgeable yet sarcastically funny. I had thought about that too but A. Dilithium crystals... way expensive. B. I think people would keep running into me. I guess I need to figure out how the shields work and I'm good to go.

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