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First speeding ticket in Washington, what's the deferral program about?

Discussion in 'Northwest' started by Rory J, Dec 3, 2019.

  1. Rory J

    Rory J Formula Junior
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    May 30, 2006
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    Rory
    After nearly a year and a half living in WA, I finally got my first speeding ticket. This is my third ticket over roughly 20 years of driving, the first two were in CA and were for less than 10 mph over. Not including today's ticket, my record is completely clean. Generally, I'm not a Speed Racer type on public roads.

    Officer says he got me at 62 mph in a 45 zone (which was just before the road turns into a 50 mph, then a 55 mph zone within a quarter mile or so). Two other cars were pulled over by other officers while I was sitting roadside -- a speed trap, for sure. I was polite, succinct, thanked the officer, which no doubt helped me get written up for just 5 mph over instead of 15 mph over. My clean record probably helped too.

    I have no qualms with paying the $108 fine, it's small beans in the grander scheme. What worries me more is what this will do to my insurance rates for the next few years. That leads me to wonder if the state's "deferral" program would make sense for me? In CA, drivers are allowed to go to traffic school (in person or online) and have one ticket removed from their record every few years or so -- I did this with both of my prior tickets since they were years apart. In Washington, deferral seems to be the only option to prevent a ticket from going on a driver's record besides just fighting it. I'm reluctant to fight it, since the ticket clearly states I was traveling 62 mph, but was only written up for 50 mph.

    Anyone gone the deferral route? Worth it? From what I hear, you need a clean record to do it and it's only available once every seven years, so this appears to be my one chance. Interested in hearing any perspective on this.
     
  2. Jdubbya

    Jdubbya F1 World Champ
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    Don't know if it's still available but if so go for it. Used to be you did the class, paid the full fine, and it didn't show on your record somehow. The other option is to fight it either yourself or get a lawyer. Will cost more but may be worth getting it dismissed.
     
  3. jcurry

    jcurry F1 World Champ
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    Jan 16, 2012
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    Went to traffic court a few weeks ago. Judge offered me the deferral, which I declined but had seriously considered. Funny how the deferral costs the same as the ticket, although your record stays clean. All about the $.

    Just a note. Check your citation. The officer on mine screwed up and stated the actual speed in kph rather than mph. I got mine dismissed since the kph converted to mph put me way below the stated offense.
     
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  4. Rory J

    Rory J Formula Junior
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    May 30, 2006
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    Lawyer is going to be too costly for a relatively minor, 5-mph-over speeding ticket, I think.

    Just checked mine and everything looks correct. Thing about the deferral is if I get any other moving violation in the next year, I still lose the $250 for the deferral, plus the cost of both tickets, and the new ticket and both are on my record. I don't plan to get another ticket, but what a crap shoot.

    Thinking I might just live with this one.
     
  5. jcurry

    jcurry F1 World Champ
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    Where did you get the $250 number for the deferral? My ticket was going to be $139, and the deferral would have been the same. Maybe I misunderstood, but I think you only pay for the deferral not the deferral and the ticket.
     
  6. Rory J

    Rory J Formula Junior
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    After more research, the deferral costs whatever the presiding court wants it to, up to $250 per WA state law. For my court, it was $210 as it turns out. Instead, I paid the $108 ticket and am moving on with life. I appreciate all the responses.
     
  7. 3POINT8

    3POINT8 Formula 3

    Jan 23, 2014
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    You get one deferral every 7 years for a moving violation and one deferral every 7 years for a non-moving violation. If you defer and do not get a ticket for a year than the ticket you defer goes away and your insurance never knows about it.

    I got pulled over going 119mph in my 458 (was really going 130, stupid I know). I got a ticket. I retained counsel. He requested the ticket from the court. There is a back of the ticket that the officer fills out but you don't get. Often times, officers do not complete this correctly and the judge will throw it out.

    In my case, the officer did not check the box on the back that said no other car was in his radar range. We could have made the "it wasn't me it was the Lambo" defense. However, the judge would get to see what car I was driving as well as my comment to the officer "Sorry sir, I just got this Ferrari and was blowing through some gears."

    The attorney gave me a 50/50 chance but in the end I chickened out and deferred the ticket. I had too many other tickets and insurance would kill me. Plus it would give me motivation not to drive like an idiot for a least a year. My year is up in February.
     
  8. Rory J

    Rory J Formula Junior
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    Good luck until then! I don't get many tickets, but figure I'll save the "out" for when I really need it, like you.
     
  9. pdxjim488

    pdxjim488 Karting
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    Aug 25, 2018
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    I did the deferral route about 18 months ago. It worked out fine.
     
  10. niftyfivefifty

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    Mar 5, 2007
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    PacNW
    An attorney for a traffic ticket is only ~$300, far less than what might happen to your insurance premiums, and well worth the clean record. I highly recommend Jeannie Mucklestone: https://www.mucklestone.com/
     
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  11. david

    david Formula Junior

    Feb 21, 2001
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    I have fought every single speeding ticket that I have been given. The only one I lost was when I represented myself on a day that I had a bad head cold. The judge was really soft spoken and I couldn't hear him at all because my head was so clogged up. So I argued against what I thought he might be saying which was a fairly ineffective strategy.

    Basically, I'm polite to the officer because he's just doing his job. Then I dispute the ticket. Usually there is some technicality that will get it tossed because it really isn't worth the courts time to try and get you to pay a lousy speeding fine. I agree with the Mucklestone recommendation. She knows the whole routine and has built a very successful practice based on this.

    In my view it's definitely worth it to keep your driving record clean. The fines and lawyer fees are nothing compared to how the insurance companies will gouge you. One ticket might not get you too bad, but on the off chance you get burned for another one, you will wish you had have coughed up a few bucks and fought the first ticket.
     
  12. Flea7

    Flea7 Formula Junior
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    Feb 25, 2010
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    I went through the derreral process about 20 years ago.
    It's not true that the violations are wiped clean off your record. It may not count but it is still documented and accessible. One insurance agent I talked to 5 years later knew about it. I believe within the year, I got pulled over and the officer mentioned it and let me go.
    Now moving forward, I let my traffic attorney handle it.
     
  13. spicedriver

    spicedriver Formula 3

    Feb 1, 2011
    1,607
    Always get a lawyer. Never talk to cops.
     
  14. pdxjim488

    pdxjim488 Karting
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    Aug 25, 2018
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    I did the deferral 2 years ago and it worked. I had applied for the program on my initial response and it came back rejected. I called up the number on the letter and explained my situation. They said they would check into it and the next contact was for me to fill out the deferral form and send in my check. Went a year and it does not show on my driving record. My goal is to maintain a clean record and it worked.
     
  15. Flea7

    Flea7 Formula Junior
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    Oh, I did say it didn't work...but don't think insurance, law enforcement, and courts don't have access of you taking the option of deferral.
     
  16. daytona355

    daytona355 F1 World Champ

    Mar 25, 2009
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    Sid Korshak
    Does it really make that much difference to your insurance premium, one ticket? Jeez, that’s crazy. Invest in a laser jammer, and in the US of course a good radar set up, and go nuts! I did the Bullrun and only got six tickets, and the Gumball a couple times in Europe, and when you think of those I avoided, that equipment (which at the time would have been rubbish compared to today’s stuff) was worth it’s weight in gold. I got locked up in Texas mind you, but the equipment wasn’t on for some reason, and the cop got lucky (so did I, as a tourist, the judge opted to fine me big and let me out!)
     
  17. jcurry

    jcurry F1 World Champ
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    No, it doesn't. But that one ticket is your cushion, so why use it up?
     
  18. daytona355

    daytona355 F1 World Champ

    Mar 25, 2009
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    true! Don’t worry, I was asking a genuine question, I took it literally that the rates shot up a lot and was imagining the penalty for a ticket being a grand a year or something
     
  19. Rory J

    Rory J Formula Junior
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    May 30, 2006
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    In my case, why use up a once-in-seven-years "get out of jail free" card on a relatively minor 5-mph over ticket? If I get a second ticket that seriously threatens my rates, I'll use deferral then.
     
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