Washington Traffic Tickets & Fines
Have you gotten a Washington traffic ticket? Wondering how much it will cost? And more importantly, wondering how to get out of it?
Washington Traffic Ticket Fines
Bad news, Washington traffic law-breakers: there isn’t a state-wide value set for ticket prices. In fact, it varies from court to court. The cost of a Washington speeding fine in Seattle may differ from the one you get in Tacoma. What doesn’t change, however, are Washington’s "Assessment Fees." These are surcharges tacked on to most tickets that citizens must pay. Again, the amount will vary on the county and also the nature of the ticket itself. The money from Assessment Fees is used to fund state projects and programs, and can actually be more than the original fine.
Washington Traffic Ticket Penalties
In addition to the Washington traffic fine and fees a ticket brings, there are other penalties Washington motorists must be aware of. If the court finds that you are a reckless, dangerous, or otherwise irresponsible driver, you could have your license suspended or revoked.
License Suspension is the temporary loss of your driving privileges. Once you take care of all the requirements (outstanding fees, for example) as handed down by the court, the suspension can be lifted and you may resume driving again. Another way to get your license suspended in Washington is if you earn too many tickets in a certain amount of time. Getting 6 traffic violations in a 12-month period means your license will be suspended for a period of 60 days.
License Revocation is different – it is the cancellation of your Washington drivers license. This is usually in response to a specific incident, or series of incidents, and lasts for a specific amount of time. Once that period is over, and you’ve taken care of all other requirements, you may re-apply for a new Washington drivers license.
Traffic ticket penalties can also get your license placed on probation. This means that if you get any tickets or fines for a certain amount of time, the penalties will be even more severe. In Washington, the DOL (Department of Licensing) will place you on probation if:
- You get 4 moving violations in a 12-month period
- You get 5 moving violations in a 24-month period
If you get a traffic violation ticket while on probation, your license will be suspended for 30 days. You’ll also be placed on probation for a year whenever you reinstate your license following a suspension.
Other Washington Traffic Ticket Penalties
If you’re under 18 and you get ticketed for an alcohol or firearm violation, or if you’re under 21 and you’re convicted of a drug violation, you will lose driving privileges in the state of Washington for a period of 1 year, or until you turn 17 (whichever is the longer period of time).
There are also strict guidelines for commercial drivers.
- Commercial drivers are required to notify their employers of any traffic violations within 30 days. This is regardless of what vehicle you were operating at the time.
- Notify the Department of Licensing within 30 days of any out-of-state traffic convictions
- Notify your employer – within TWO DAYS - if your Washington Driver’s License is suspended, revoked, or cancelled.
Penalties are greater for commercial drivers who break the laws. In fact, commercial drivers will lose their license for an entire year if convicted of any of the following:
- Driving (any vehicle) with a BAC of 0.08% or higher
- Driving (commercial vehicle) with a BAC of 0.04% or higher
- Refusing to take a sobriety test
- Fleeing the scene of an accident
- Committing a vehicle-related felony
- Driving a commercial vehicle with a suspended, revoked, or otherwise cancelled commercial drivers license (CDL).
- Committing a fatality due to driver negligence
- Speeding 15 MPH over the posted limit
- Reckless driving
- Improper lane change
- Driving a commercial vehicle without a commercial license in your possession
- Texting while driving
Ultimately, your commercial drivers license will be suspended for 6 months to a year if you’re convicted of violating a driver or vehicle out-of-service order while transporting non-hazardous materials required to be placarded or while driving a vehicle designed to transport 16 or more passengers.
If you do find yourself with violations on your driver record, a Washington online defensive driving course can help! Remember: if you follow the rules, you’ll have a long and pleasant experience as a Washington driver!