Fighting Traffic Tickets in Washington State
As an attorney who handles traffic tickets in Seattle and surrounding areas, fighting traffic tickets is regularly the topic of conversation. One thing that stands out is there is always a person who knows somebody who knows somebody who knows special “tricks” on how to beat a speeding ticket or any other traffic ticket.
A good attorney will tell you that there is no “trick” when it comes to practicing law. You win cases with “good lawyering.” That means using your knowledge of the law, experience, education, and creativity to overcome the task at hand. You simply cannot fight a traffic ticket by pulling a “fast one” on the court. Here are the common things people say about fighting traffic tickets that are not true.
Fighting Traffic Tickets in Washington State – Myth #1
YOUR TICKET IS AUTOMATICALLY DISMISSED IF THE COP DOES NOT COME TO COURT
There are several problems with the above statement.
In Washington State, the officer does not have to be at your contested hearing for the court to find that you have committed the infraction. So if you plan on fighting traffic tickets in Washington State, do not expect the officer to be at your hearing. Instead, the court will rely on the officer’s report to find you committed of the traffic infraction.
The rule says that if the defendant wants the officer to testify at the contesting hearing, the defendant will have to subpoena the officer. But even if you subpoena the officer to testify at your contested hearing, the court will not “automatically” dismiss your ticket if the officer does not show up.
So, as we said before, you will have to subpoena the officer if you plan on fighting traffic tickets. Another problem with the above statement is the word “automatically.” First, courts have lists of officers’ availability schedules. This means that the court knows when your officer is available to be in court. If you subpoena the officer, your hearing will be scheduled at a day and time when the officer is available. So expect the officer to be there.
Second, your ticket is not “automatically” dismissed. For the sake of the argument, lets say your officer does not show up. Most, if not all, judges allow the prosecution to continue the hearing to allow the officer another opportunity to appear in court. That means you will have to take your time out of your schedule to appear again.
So “your ticket is automatically dismissed if the cop does not come to court” is a myth. Good ticket lawyers rarely subpoena officers to testify in court because we find enough issues in the officers’ reports. The rule is that the officer’s report cannot be admitted if the defendant subpoenas the officer. So if the officer does not show up after being subpoenaed, there is no evidence against the defendant, and the case must be dismissed. This rule is quite different from the myth mentioned above. In addition, the dismissal is not “automatic” and quite difficult to orchestrate without the help of a knowledgeable ticket attorney.
Greg Sarkisyan is an attorney at Community Law Firm, PLLC, and the author of this post. If you would like to read more, visit us here. If you need legal assistance call (206) 262-7390 or e-mail Help@CommunityLawPLLC.com.