Infractions/Parking - Response Options
If you received a traffic ticket, you have been charged with a traffic infraction. Before you call the court, please carefully read the entire front and back (if applicable) of the infraction for instructions. You must respond within 15 days of the date of the infraction by doing one of the following:
- Pay the fine in full.
- Set up a payment plan as outlined in Payment Plan without a hearing.
- Submit a contested or mitigation hearing by mail or email. Learn more about how to submit on our website. A contested hearing is to challenge the infraction; a mitigation hearing is to explain the circumstances and/or request a reduction in the fine. Infractions for speeding in a school/construction/emergency zone, failing to yield to an emergency vehicle, or passing a stopped school bus cannot be mitigated or reduced.
- Some charges may be eligible for reductions. Learn more about these options by downloading this document. You may submit a mitigation hearing to make your request, including any supporting documentation such as proof of insurance.
A traffic infraction is a civil (noncriminal) offense that cannot include a jail sentence. Primarily, there are two types of hearings you may request with regard to an infraction: a contested or mitigation hearing or you may request a deferred finding (see description below).
Failure to respond within 15 days from the date issued may result in
- Committed finding
- Penalty being accessed
- Potential loss of driver's license/privilege and/or
- Case being referred to a collection agency.
A contested hearing means you wish to contest (or challenge) the infraction. The judge determines by a preponderance of the evidence if there will be a "committed" or "not committed" finding to the offense. If there is a committed finding by the judge, the offense is reported to the Department of Licensing. A not committed finding or dismissal is not reported.
A mitigation hearing is a hearing to explain circumstances and is uncontested. This type of hearing is generally requested when a person wishes to ask for a reduction in the penalty, oftentimes based on circumstances. A committed disposition from a mitigation hearing is reported to the Department of Licensing.
A deferred finding is available once every seven (7) years in Washington for both a moving and a non-moving violation. If you have a commercial driver's license (CDL) or were driving a commercial vehicle at the time of the violation you are not eligible. If you are eligible, you must comply with the following to have the violation dismissed:
1) Pay the administrative costs in full by your due date;
2) Do not receive any further traffic violations during your deferral period;
3) And, in some cases, completion of a defensive driving school may be required.
If the conditions of a deferral are not met, the finding is reported to the Department of Licensing as committed and appears on your driving record. In addition to any costs of the deferral, you will also be required to pay the original amount of the penalty on your ticket.
Failure to Appear
Failure to appear at any hearing can result in additional penalties, referral of your infraction to a collection agency, and potential suspension of your driving privileges.
All NSF checks stopped checks, insufficient funds checks, credit card returns, etc. will be accessed a $30 fee and will be treated as a failure to respond.
You may submit a Show Cause request for judicial consideration if you have failed to appear for a hearing and/or pay for your court obligations. Please allow 2-3 weeks for a response.