Seattle Traffic Lawyer | Three Speeding Ticket Options

Almost every one of us has been pulled over for speeding or breaking some other traffic law at some point in our lives. Me personally? I've been pulled over a couple times for speeding (though I was never issued a ticket) and one time for failing to yield to traffic (there was no accident but it was a busy intersection and the cop was pissed - but no infraction issued there either). And when that time comes, people are usually more annoyed than anything. Speeding tickets are expensive. Speeding tickets can be time consuming. And there is always that threat that a speeding ticket will significantly increase your car insurance.

But, all is not lost. If you do get pulled over for speeding in Seattle or for some other traffic infraction, all is not lost. There are options out there for beating your speeding ticket, number one of which is hiring a Seattle traffic lawyer. But before you even get to the part about beating your speeding ticket, you have to make a decision about how to proceed with your ticket.

Generally, there are three ways to contest your ticket: admit that it is committed and pay the fine; request a mitigation hearing; and contest the ticket (there is a fourth option, which is writing in to contest your ticket, but in my opinion your explanation is going to be given the weight of the paper it's written on). With each of three options comes benefits and drawbacks. Today I'm just going to discuss them and let you decide what you should do.

First we have admit the Seattle speeding ticket was committed and pay the fine. Is it okay to say this is about the dumbest thing you could do? There is no reason to ever pick this option. It has no benefits. All this does is make the city or county rich because you didn't have the guts to fight your ticket. And, to boot, you have the record of the speeding ticket on your driving record, potentially increasing your insurance premiums. In a way, this could be the Seattle speeding ticket that just keeps on giving.

Needless to say, you should probably never, under any circumstances, check this box and send in your traffic infraction.

Next up we have mitigation. If you didn't know, mitigation, by its definition, is the act of reducing something from its current size. In this case a mitigation hearing is designed to give you the opportunity to lower the size of your current traffic infraction fine. The only problem? The infraction remains on your record as is, so if you were cited for speeding, you will have a speeding ticket on your driving record for a few years. The only good thing about this? Maybe you get your fine knocked down $20 bucks from what it was - some benefit.

If you couldn't tell, I'm not a big fan of mitigation hearings either. The way I see it, the state should at least have to earn their money from me or my clients. I'm not just going to give it away. So, while mitigation looks pretty appealing, in the end, it is usually just a waste of time (and, by the way, you can usually turn your contested hearing into a mitigation hearing if things are looking well).

Finally, the coup de gras - the contested speeding ticket hearing. If you have received a Seattle speeding ticket, this is the only route to take. Not only will the judge usually mitigate if you end up losing, but you have every chance of actually beating your speeding ticket, meaning no fine and no increased insurance premiums.

But there is a catch. You can't just walk into your contested hearing, say hi, and get your traffic infraction case dismissed. You have to have a reason for asking for a dismissal. And, maybe if you see something obvious, you can do it yourself. But more often than not, you will not have any clue what to look for, where the weak point of a case are, or how to approach the prosecutor or the officer (if necessary) to get your point across. And, not to blatantly advertise for my services here, that is why you need a Seattle speeding ticket attorney working for you to help you spot those issues, present them in the best manner to the judge, and get your speeding ticket dismissed.

Now, this is not to say that you can't do it on your own. People do it every day. I'm only saying that your chances of success increase exponentially when you have someone as experienced and practiced in traffic law as the state does on its side (which, by the way, even if there is no prosecutor there, the judge is working on the state's side).

In the end, if you do get popped with a Seattle speeding ticket it isn't the end of the world. Eventually your insurance premiums will go down, and eventually your driving record will clear up. But if you want to keep it clean entirely, read the Seattle Traffic Lawyer Blog and hire a Seattle traffic attorney.

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Seattle Traffic Lawyer | We Get Tickets Dismissed

The title of this post is not a lie. And, although we can't guarantee you we can get your Seattle speeding ticket dismissed, we can guarantee that we can exponentially increase your chances of a dismissal (or a reduction to a non-moving violation). I just did it today. Want to hear about it? Okay.

Had a client, we'll call him HC (hypothetical client). He was driving around, minding his own business in Seattle, when he was pulled over by the Seattle cops. They said they clocked him with the radar gun going 10 mph over the posted speed limit. My guy was sure that he wasn't speeding, but was unsure of what to do to contest the ticket. He had a perfect driving record, was proud of it, and didn't want it to be tarnished. So, he did the right thing and called me, a Seattle speeding ticket attorney.

Once he called me and signed up I filed my notice of appearance, requested a contested hearing date, and requested a copy of the officer's statement and radar gun information. If you didn't know, Seattle speeding tickets, almost all of them, are issued based upon the reading of a speed measuring device (SMD). To get the SMD information admitted into court, they have to comply with the rules of evidence. This means having someone certify under oath that that SMDs have been maintained in an appropriate manner and are used in an appropriate manner.

After a week or so I received the discovery from the State, and I began going through my checklist of issues to review for a Seattle speeding ticket (by the way, any good Seattle traffic lawyer is going to have a list - helps us to not forget anything). One of the primary concerns on the list when it comes to SMDs is to make sure all of the procedural hoops have been jumped through to ensure it can be admitted into evidence. If those procedural hoops have not been jumped through then the radar evidence is inadmissible, and assuming you didn't tell the cop you were speeding, you will get your Seattle speeding ticket dismissed.

If you get a speeding ticket in Seattle or any other kind of traffic infraction in Seattle, I'd highly recommend fighting it, even if you decide you don't want to hire a traffic attorney. Just put your thinking cap on, review the law, see what the prosecutor must prove to beat you, and see if that information is in the officer's statement. If it isn't, you can probably beat your speeding ticket.

Oh, and one other thing while I'm here so you don't get freaked out when you contest your Seattle speeding ticket. Many times there is no prosecutor in the building when you have your contested hearing. This is normal. Whoever is in charge of prosecutors has simply decided they don't want to waste their time paying someone to fight these contested traffic tickets. This is good because there is no one contesting what you are saying, no one advocating for the cops. It's just you and the judge. I think this always means you have the upper hand.

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Seattle Traffic Lawyer | Don't Believe the Hype


Seattle Traffic Lawyer | Don't Believe the Hype

If you google Seattle traffic lawyer you will find a laundry list of traffic lawyer websites out there touting their success rates and how good they are at fighting Seattle speeding tickets. You will read information about how hiring a good traffic attorney can help you win your case. And, you will probably read testimonials from former clients gushing about how this attorney helped get them out of a ticket they were sure they were stuck with.

Well, don't believe the hype. And learn how to differentiate the hype from the truth, because all of it isn't hype. Some of it is true.

For one, hiring a good Seattle traffic lawyer can substantially improve the chances that you get out of a traffic ticket - probably by 50% or more. But it isn't because they know any inside secrets or because they are buddies with the judge. Most of the time it is because the officer made mistakes when citing you - either procedurally (not signing in the right place) or substantively (he can't prove an essential element). Whatever the case may be, Seattle traffic lawyers do the same thing all other lawyers do - look at the facts, make sure the procedures were followed, and make the best argument available for their client.

But touting success rates is hype. The testimonials are hype. Why? Because your case is not their case. If everything is done right, it may still be extremely difficult to beat your Seattle traffic ticket. That is just the way it is. If you speed, you are taking the chance of having to pay for it. If you make an improper turn, you are taking the chance of having to pay for it. We, as Seattle traffic attorneys, can do our best, but we are not miracle workers.

So, next time you get a Seattle speeding ticket, definitely give us a call. We will work tirelessly to get your traffic ticket dismissed. But we can't guarantee anything. And every case is different, so what happened in the past doesn't matter. All we can tell you is that we are good, and we will fight for you.

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Seattle Traffic Lawyer | Speeding Tickets and Insurance

Let me guess. You are reading this Seattle Traffic Lawyer Blog post because you just got a Seattle speeding ticket and you want to try to beat it or at least find out exactly how much your insurance rates are going to go up the next time you renew your insurance. If you are doing the research, then good for you. At least you are concerned about your Washington driving record enough to look into how a Seattle traffic citation can affect your wallet.

For starters, Washington State doesn't really have a "point" system like many other states. A Seattle speeding ticket doesn't carry a certain number of points, and neither does a ticket for running a red light. Instead, the State of Washington just has a set of rules they follow for determining when your license is affected by traffic violations. You get a certain number of violations, you face certain consequences.

First, if you receive five moving violations (a moving violation takes place while the car is moving - speeding, reckless driving, negligent driving, etc. are moving violations) in a years time period, you are placed on probation with the Department of Licensing. This will definitely raise a red flag with your insurance company. To take care of this situation you should hire a Seattle traffic lawyer to either get the citations reduced to non-moving violations or get them dismissed altogether (if possible). What you shouldn't do is just go in and plead guilty to a bunch of tickets. That just isn't smart.

Second, if you receive six or more moving violations within a year, your license is suspended for a period of time. Bottom line - don't get six moving violations within a year (and I think a year lasts from today back a year - so, for example, if you had 6 speeding tickets from last July 20 to this July 20, that would make you eligible for license suspension). Again, don't get cited with this many traffic violations. If you do, Hire a Seattle speeding ticket lawyer to help you out.

By the way, these are both going to hurt your insurance rates - to what effect depends a bit on your provider, your demographic (age, sex, etc.) and probably some other random factors that insurance companies think reflect on people's driving abilities (education, etc.). In any event, it is a pretty safe bet that the more moving violations you get (non-moving violations typically aren't counted toward a driving record for purposes of insurance), the higher your insurance rates will go.

Don't be that person that has to pay for Seattle traffic tickets if you don't have to. Hire a Seattle traffic lawyer today to help.

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Seattle Traffic Lawyer | Field Sobriety Tests

The most disheartening thing to see as a Seattle traffic lawyer when a client walks into the door is that they didn't do everything they could to exercise their rights and take advantage of their rights to create the best situation possible for them to beat their Seattle DUI. And one of the areas where I see this time and time again is consenting to field sobriety tests.

If you didn't know already (and there is no real reason you should know, unless, of course, you have friends or relatives that are DUI attorneys), you don't have to take field sobriety tests in Washington State.

The reason for this is fairly straightforward: we all have Constitutional rights, one of which is the right not to incriminate ourselves. Field sobriety tests are given for the sole reason of proving we are too drunk to drive (even though they don't really do that). So, if you decide to refuse them, it shouldn't be held against you in court.

And to think to yourself, "I'll take these field sobriety tests and prove to the police how sober I am" is, to say it bluntly, stupid. Let me put it to you this way, we are seasoned Seattle traffic lawyers and I would never, under any circumstances, take field sobriety tests. All they do is dig whatever hole you are already in deeper. The police are looking for reasons to write down in their report to back up their belief that you were drunk, and they'll see that when you are doing your field sobriety tests.

If you are ever charged with a DUI in the Seattle area, don't wait until you are arrested to assert your rights. Right when you think you are in trouble (about the time the officer asks you to do field sobriety tests), immediately ask (nicely) to speak with your Seattle traffic attorney. It can mean the difference between beating your DUI, significantly reducing your DUI to something much easier to deal with, and being convicted of DUI.

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Seattle Traffc Lawyer | You Can't Be Too Careful

I am a Seattle traffic lawyer. Most of the clients that come my way have a typical story. They got off work (or don't work) and were having a couple of frosty beverages to unwind at the local pub. They got in their car to drive home, had a broken tail light, expired tags, didn't use a turn signal, were doing their usual speeding, or some other minor traffic violation, and got pulled over by the Seattle police who, with nothing better to do, went full scale DUI investigation on you until they got enough information to haul you down to the station for a breath test.

But sometimes fate jumps up and bites you in the ass and you can't do anything about it. I was just reading about Dante Stallworth, the NFL receiver, formerly with the New Orleans Saints and Philadelphia Eagles, who recently signed with the Cleveland Browns, and his story is one of those that scares anyone who reads it. From what I understand, Stallworth, after a night of at least some drinking, was driving home, minding his own business (although he may have been speeding at the time), and hit and killed a 59 year old man. I may be incorrect on this, but from what I understand the man was not in a cross walk and walked out into a major street late at night. Whether Stallworth would have seen the guy had he not had anything to drink is anyone's guess. But these type of situations that are out of your control are the one's that keep me up at night as a Seattle traffic lawyer.

And his attorney, whether a hardened Seattle DUI lawyer or a newly minted public defender, is going to have a hard time presenting this case to a jury because of the sympathy that is going to be afforded to the deceased (I'm not saying this is a good or a bad thing - I'm speaking strictly from a trial strategy point of view).

When the prosecutor tries to put the victim's family member on to talk about what a great guy he was and how he always followed traffic laws and the like, it is going to be a tough sell (although I have seen some great Seattle criminal lawyers take a case like this and do well with it - they do have the fact that it was extremely late at night and they guy was walking into a street with a car coming right at him - and I don't know what the victim's toxicology screen looked like, but it is possible that he had had a night of drinking himself).

A story published today here said that Stallworth entered a plea of not guilty (normal at this stage in the proceedings, even if he is going to enter a plea agreement with the state). We'll have to see how things turn out. But remember, there are many things out there you can't control (have you ever heard about the guy that got the Seattle DUI after someone ran a red light and crashed into him? It happens), and sometimes you just have to be lucky.

Thanks for reading the Seattle Traffic Lawyer Blog. Come back soon.

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Seattle Traffic Lawyer | Overview

If you are in need of a Seattle traffic lawyer, you are probably suspected of having committed a violation of at least one law. I figured that since you are accused of something, you might as well know what the law is. Today I'm going to discuss Driving Under the Influence as defined in the RCW 46.61.502.

In layman's terms, driving under the influence, or DUI, occurs when consumes so much alcohol or uses so much drugs that it impairs their ability to properly operate a vehicle. As I'm sure you know, the amount of alcohol in your system is often measured by a breathalyzer test, and a measurement of .08 or greater presumes (accepts without question) that you are over the limit of alcohol consumption a safe driver can have. But, the statutes have even more than that.

There are actually three ways a person may be guilty of driving under the influence in Seattle according to RCW 46.61.502: if a person while driving a vehicle in the State of Washington: (1) has, within two hours of driving, a blood alcohol concentration of .08 or higher as shown by an analysis of the person's blood or breath made under RCW 46.61.506 (this statute discusses all the rules of breathalyzer tests, blood tests, and refusing breathalyzer and blood tests - we'll talk all about this another time); (2) While the person is under the influence of or affected by intoxicating liquor or any drug; or (3) While the person is under the combined influence of or affected by intoxicating liquor and any drug.

What does this paragraph mean? Well, a couple of things. The first thing it means is that the police don't necessarily need a breathalyzer to tell if you are driving under the influence. If, for example, a Seattle cop pulls you over and after speaking with you and running tests believes you are driving under the influence he can arrest you and then charge you even if your breath test comes back under .08. The police can use their "training and experience" to form an opinion as to your sobriety (those are the kinds of cases a Seattle traffic lawyer just loves to defend). The second thing is that DUI is not limited to just alcohol. You can be arrested for drugs too (even prescription drugs, by the way).

Which brings us to section 2 of RCW 46.61.502: the fact that a person charged with a violation of this section is or has been entitled to use a drug under the laws of this state shall not constitute a defense against a charge of violating this section. This means that just because you were prescribed Valium doesn't mean you can use that as a defense if you were driving after just having taken some. Voluntary intoxication is not a defense.

On to section 3: it is an affirmative defense to a violation of subsection (1)(a) of this section which the defendant must prove by a preponderance of the evidence that the defendant consumed a sufficient quantity of alcohol after the time of driving and before the administration of an analysis of the person's breath or blood to cause the defendant's alcohol concentration to be 0.08 or more within two hours after driving. The court shall not admit evidence of this defense unless the defendant notifies the prosecution prior to the omnibus or pretrial hearing in the case of the defendant's intent to assert the affirmative defense. Wow, that's a mouthful.

What they are saying in this case is that if, for example, you are driving in Seattle, commit some driving violation, and the police are looking for you, and while they are looking for you (at your home in Kirkland, for example), you get drunk, you can use that as a defense to drunk driving if you are charged with it. There are only two rules to this defense, though. First, you, the defendant, must prove that it was more likely than not that your drinking after driving is what caused you to blow above .08, and second, that you have to notify the court and the prosecutor of this before they have the omnibus hearing (a hearing where evidence is presented and motions are argued at the beginning stages of criminal proceedings). The law just recognizes that sometimes people drink after they are done driving.

Section 4 was put in there as a last resort in case the police mess up with your original breathalyzer test. It states that breath or blood samples collected after the 2 hour time limit to take the tests has passed may be used to show you were drunk within the two hour time frame after the incident, or that at least you had been drinking for the non-breathalyzer portions of the Seattle DUI laws. Does it sound a little shady, that the state or city prosecutor could use stale evidence to prove you committed a crime? That's because it is.

Section 5 says that a Washington state DUI is a gross misdemeanor unless section 6 applies. Section 6 says a DUI is a class C felony if: (1) you have four or more prior DUIs in the last 10 years; (2) the person has been previously convicted of: (a) vehicular homicide while DUI; (b) vehicular assault while DUI; or (c) and out of state offense compared to (a) or (b).

That is it for your basic DUI law. If only it were that simple. Stay tuned for more Seattle DUI information from a Seattle traffic attorney.

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