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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2008

    Unhappy Failure to Transfer Title and Expired Tabs

    I was pulled over in Kirkland, WA this weekend after a Kirkland police officer was following me me for a few blocks. I actually had no idea why he pulled me over at first, I was doing 24 in a 25 with him on my tail. He let me know that by tabs expired in April 2009. I felt like an idiot for not noticing this, but I rarely drive my car.

    My brother gifted me the car I was driving in 2008, and we were both under the assumption that the title was transferred with the sale (he lives in Canada, so I rarely see him, and don't have access to his mail). The officer informed me that there is a record of sale, but the car is still in my brothers name, well over the 45 days they give you to transfer.

    So the officer gave me two things.

    1) A green traffic infraction for "Expired Vehicle Registration"
    Fine: $124
    He cited "RCW 46.16.010"
    Everything on the ticket looks correct

    2) A yellow traffic criminal court appearance ticket for "Failure to Transfer Title w/i 45 days"
    Hearing scheduled for the end of this month
    He cited "RCW 46.12.101(6d)"
    Everything on the ticket looks correct
    This is the part I'm worried about, it is a misdemeanor from what I have read in the RCWs, and it is a "continuing offense" for every day past 45 days. It also looks like I will have to pay a fine. How worried should I be about this? What's the chance the the judge will accept my reasoning?

    So I realize that this is my fault, and I felt like an idiot for not noticing I was driving with expired tabs, but I very rarely drive my car. I want to request a mitigation hearing for the traffic infraction to explain the circumstances (brothers car, never drive it, didn't know it hadn't transferred to me) and attempt to lower the fine. The court date for the yellow criminal ticket would be before the mitigation hearing, and I will do my best to explain to the judge that I am always on top of these things, and I honestly had no idea that it hadn't transferred, but I admit it was my mistake for not renewing my registration and therefore not realizing that the car was not in my name.

    I am going tomorrow to get the title transferred, get my new registration and tabs to show the judge that I got everything taken care of prior to the hearing. Hopefully I will not need my brother to be there to do this.

    So I ask for your opinion, anything you think I should say that would help my case, and possibly an explanation of the RCWs that the officer wrote. Thank you very much for offering this extremely helpful resource, I really appreciate it.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Behind a Desk

    Default Re: Failure to Transfer Title and Expired Tabs

    Be sure to follow through on transferring title and take proof of the transfer with you to court. It's possible that a judge or prosecutor will be understanding; but I can't make promises. You may want to have a lawyer attempt to negotiate a resolution with the prosecutor before you go to court.

    You can look up statutes here.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2008

    Default Re: Failure to Transfer Title and Expired Tabs

    Thanks for the reply, I was looking up the RCWs and I was wondering why the officer added '(6d)' after 46.12.101. Under 6d in the RCW, it states "Conditions for not assessing the penalty may be established for but not limited to delays caused by:
    ....Failure, negligence, or nonperformance of the department, auditor, or subagent;"

    Why would he add that, I am neither the department, auditor, or subageant, I am the purchaser or transferee. Was this a mistake?

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