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Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Traffic Infractions

Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Traffic Infractions

We understand that many people are reluctant to hire an attorney to fight a speeding ticket because they feel that they can do it themselves.  People who contact our office have many questions:

The officer used a radar gun and it shows that I was over the speed limit.  Do I have a viable defense?

Answer: There are many ways to fight a speeding ticket.  Was the speed-measuring device (usually a radar or laser device) properly calibrated?  Did the officer take necessary measures to obtain a reliable reading of your speed?  Speeding laws are highly technical and police errors may be used to obtain a dismissal of tickets in some cases.  Even in cases in which a dismissal is not possible, we may be able to negotiate with the prosecution to seek a deferral, a plea to a nonmoving violation, mitigation or another favorable outcome, which will minimize the impact of your traffic ticket.

How do I choose a traffic attorney:

Answer: It is also important to hire an attorney who is familiar with the court, the court procedures, and the court personnel.  At Heritage Law Office, our traffic defense attorneys serve clients throughout most of Eastern, Central and Western Washington.  We are familiar with those courts.  There are a few courts we do not go to, in which case, we are happy to refer you to another qualified attorney to represent you.   

Some attorneys may charge you travel time.  When you retain Heritage Law Office to fight your infraction, we never charge extra for travel time.   

Many law firms do not concentrate on traffic defense, but we do and that allows us to provide clients with the knowledgeable representation they require.  We have a strong knowledge of local court procedures, judges and prosecutors.  Using our knowledge of the law and our experience in traffic defense, we will provide a vigorous defense on your behalf.

The officer used a radar gun and he was traveling in the opposite direction.  Can he do that?

Answer:  Yes, the radar guns are now designed to measure speed in both the moving same direction and moving opposite direction modes.   There are some good arguments in many courts that allow a qualified and experienced attorney to challenge the speed measuring device results.  

Is fighting a speeding ticket worth the cost of hiring an attorney?

Answer: Paying your speeding ticket could impact your auto insurance rates and may have other adverse consequences now or in the future, such as future employment opportunities.  We offer reasonable rates, and we are known for our willingness to provide candid advice to prospective clients.  If we do not think it is in your interest to retain our services, we will tell you so.  We want your business and referrals in the future.

Will I have to miss work to fight my speeding ticket?

Answer: For speeding tickets and the vast majority of traffic tickets, the answer is "no."  You may have to attend certain court proceedings for traffic offenses that constitute a criminal offense, such as DUI (or in other select situations).    If retained as your counsel, we will advise you if you need to attend a hearing.  Otherwise, your presence is not required (you may attend if you wish to do so).  Contact our office for a free phone consultation to learn more.

Can my driver's license be suspended if I receive several traffic tickets?

Answer: Yes.  If you receive too many speeding tickets or other moving violations in a short period of time, your license will be suspended or you will be placed on probation (conditional status). For more information click here:   DOL License Suspensions

I recently sold my vehicle to my sister (or to anyone), they did not transfer the title and then they got into an accident.  Am I liable for the damages?

Answer:  Although the buyer of a vehicle is responsible for transferring the title of a vehicle into their name, the seller is likewise responsible for notifying Washington State Department of Licensing (DOL) of the sale of the vehicle.  You should not cancel your auto insurance policy until after you have reported the sale to DOL.  Do not rely upon any buyer, even a friend, relative, or even a car dealer to make the notification, because if the vehicle is in an accident before the sale is reported, you may be liable for all damages, or if the vehicle breaks down and is left on the side of the road, you would be responsible for the towing and storage time of the vehicle.  

What is a habitual traffic offender?

Answer: Washington has a Habitual Traffic Offender statute [RCW 46.65.020]. It is a complicated statute.  If you have many tickets, you could be at risk.  Among other ways, if within five years you have three or more serious driving offenses (criminal cases) or 20 or more traffic infractions you will be deemed a Habitual Traffic Offender. 

Individuals who have violated Washington's Habitual Traffic Offender statute will be notified of their right to a hearing.  If they do not request a hearing in a timely fashion, as defined by statute, their right to a hearing is waived.  If a driver is found to be a habitual traffic offender, he or she is subject to a seven-year driver's license revocation (a stay of the revocation may be granted in limited circumstances).  The driver may file a petition with the DOL after four years to seek reinstatement of his or her license.  The DOL may grant the petition upon good and sufficient showing or may deny it if it finds insufficient cause to reinstate the petitioner's driving privileges.

I loaned my vehicle to another driver, can I be liable for an accident?

Answer:  Yes, you will be liable for any actions that another driver of your vehicle does.  You should make sure that your insurance will cover other drivers of your vehicle.  Some insurance companies limit other drivers all together and some insurance companies will limit drivers under the age of 25.  It is important to know what your insurance company's limitations are. 

Common Traffic Myths

Here are a few common traffic myths and a few tips that may be helpful:

  • It is not a defense to a speeding ticket that you were driving with the flow of traffic. 
  • It is not a defense that you were driving only a few miles over the posted limit. 
  • It is not a defense that you did not know the posted speed limit. 
  • It is not a defense that you did not know that you were speeding or your speedometer was off because of new bigger tires.
  • It may be a defense that you were speeding to pass a slow vehicle, but only if you are on a two-lane highway (one lane each way) and does not work if there is a temporary passing lane. 
  • Not all U-turns are prohibited. 
  • It is not a defense that you did not know the law.
  • It is not a defense that there was no parking at the "chain up" location.

Contact Heritage Law Office Today

We serve clients in Kittitas County and throughout Eastern and Central Washington.  For a free consultation, contact our law office in Cle Elum.  For assistance, call 509-899-5375 or by email.

Counties We Serve

We serve counties and cities throughout Washington State, including Kittitas, Benton, Chelan, Okanogan, Othello, Ritzville, Spokane, Walla Walla, and Yakima. Contact Heritage Law Office for more information.