Friday, July 06, 2007

Speeding Ticket

     After how many decades of perfect driving (not one scratch, not one ticket), I was stopped last week by officer M684 on motorcycle at Milepost 202 on I-5 North, just North of Marysville. He claims I was going 65 in a 60mph zone and ticketed me for a 46.61.400 ("Basic Rule and Maximum Limits"). He wrote me up for $81.

    As I study this thing more closely I learn the following about Washington driving laws:

  1. There is no such thing here as "traffic school", that silly waste of time that people in California refer to as "kindergarten for adults".
  2. Since I have an excellent driving record, I can take a "deferment" if the judge allows. Basically, this means I pay the fine and if I don't commit any other violations for a year, it gets wiped off my record. I'm only allowed one deferment every seven years.
  3. Speeding tickets remain on your record for three years.
  4. SpeedingTicketCentral recommends against a contested hearing. The ticket itself is considered evidence you committed the infraction. The officer doesn't have to appear in court, and it's simply the word of a trained officer against yours.

    Possible attorneys who can represent me

    TixNix is a site that claims to put me in touch with an attorney specializing in traffic violations. Donaldson & Knigge is one such firm that for $265 will handle all the paperwork, and even appear in court for you. Another firm, Jahnis J. Abelite, based in Arlington (where my officer is based) and on their web site claims they won 110/115 cases. Another is Waticket, though their website makes them sound more pushy than I like.

    The whole episode caught me off-guard and I'm now kicking myself for not paying more attention, not so much to the speed I was traveling (believe me, I wasn't doing anything unsafe) but to my reaction when I saw the policeman.

    Here are some things I wish I had done:

  5. Take lots of photos. My video camera was right there on the seat next to me: why oh why didn't I just pick it up and record the whole thing? IF nothing else it would have been a great Youtube video.
  6. Engage in conversation. I had so many questions, but I just wasn't thinking enough to ask. What was his evidence? What is the speed limit here and how far up the road does it last?

    How about you? Any advice?


Unknown said...

65 in a 60 - it sounds like this officer really had an ax to grind.

I also recommend against paying the ticket and I would recommend that you highly consider a contested hearing.

My blog - , has some information that you might find useful about traffic offenses and speeding tickets, in particular what to do when you get pulled over and what to do if you're cited for an infraction.

Let me know if I can be of help.

Jon Zimmerman
Attorney at Law

Anonymous said...

I'm surprised, too,that he wrote you up if you were only five going over. Was it laser or was he pacing you? Perhaps you were going 68 and and only wrote you up for five over???
I'd contest it anyway. You have a perfect record and that makes a difference to da judge. Also, given insurance rates these days it may be worth more than $81 bucks.

Richard Sprague said...

He couldn't have been pacing me, since he was stopped at the side of the road ahead of me. I wish I knew how he clocked me -- shouldda asked at the time.

Anyway, I mailed it back saying I'm contesting it. Depending on what happens next, I'll probably hire an attorney -- Jon (see comment above) has been extremely responsive to my offline email queries.

Jeannie said...

I understand your frustration with this. I know this is a VERY winnable case. Call me I have more specifics to give you. Also, deferred findings are discretionary by each Court. Every Court and Judge varies on their criteria. In WA Judges and Prosecutors will see your entire driving record well beyond 3 years so take every precaution to keep your record clean.
Jeannie Mucklestone, PS
615 Second Ave Suite 720
Seattle, WA 98104
(206) 623-3343 (24 hrs)

Anonymous said...

It's very hard to give definite advice about what to do about a traffic ticket. There are so many factors to consider including the circumstances, the law, how the local courts work and, most importantly, the outcome that the driver is seeking.

The fact of the matter is that it is almost certain that you will have to pay all or most of the fine that is shown on your ticket. However, you do not have to go down without a fight and let this ticket go on your driving record too.

One of the best ways to explore your options is to speak with a local attorney. They will understand what is feasible and, hopefully, will provide accurate advice...even if that advice is to not retain their services.

Drew Massie
Co-Founder & COO

Unknown said...

Stay away from Donaldson & Knigge (Lisa). I paid her using TixNix, she charged $275 and never showed up for court! I lost the case and she called two hours after the court and apologized. I also specifically told her to take no deals and later found out without my knowledge that she was not only trying to take offers, she was trying to MAKE them!