Driving While License Suspended

If I Paid My Speeding Ticket, Can I Still Fight it?

This is another post in my series of frequently asked speeding ticket and traffic ticket questions. The idea here, as always, is to help you out whether or not you decide you’d like us to be your traffic lawyer.

Sometimes you just want a question answered.

Can I Still Fight My Speeding Ticket if I Paid It?

We get this question quite often. Someone gets a speeding ticket or some other traffic ticket, doesn’t have any tickets on their record or isn’t too worried about it affecting their insurance rates, and then all of a sudden they get their next insurance premium quote and it’s skyrocketed.

Yes, one speeding ticket can increase your insurance premiums.

Once they get their insurance bill they decide it may have been worth it to spend the $250 to fight it and they call us to see if we’ll be their Seattle traffic lawyer.

Sadly, most of the time the answer is no. One of the things you do when you when you check that first box and pay your speeding ticket is you admit to committing the infraction. That right there kind of closes everything up.

If you really wanted us to try to open it up we could, but the chances of success are near zero.

One Scenario Where Paying Won’t Prevent You From Fighting Your Traffic Ticket

There is one scenario, however, where you can actually still fight your traffic ticket, even if you’ve paid it.

This scenario goes down kind of like this: you get a ticket but you forgot to pay it or you forgot to send in your ticket or you missed your court date or something happened and the court entered a finding that you failed to appear or failed to turn in your ticket and then found that you committed the infraction.

Most people find out about these charges because they get a notice from the department of licensing that their driver’s license is going to be suspended. The only way to release that suspension is to pay the amount owed.

In this case, although you’ve paid your ticket you can still fight it. You can ask the court to open up your case and rehear it. The process for this is called a motion to show cause, and we do it quite often.

If you’re reading this article and you fall into the first category of traffic ticket payer, then I’m sorry and I hope you think about us the next time you get a traffic ticket.

If you’re reading this and you fall into the second category, please call us today – 206.651.4245 – so we can talk to you about how we can help you out. You don’t want to fall into the first category by simply paying your ticket and then seeing high insurance premiums.


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Can the Court Suspend My License for a Parking Ticket?

I’ve decided to change up the tone of the blog a little bit. I like writing about all of the things we can do and all of the ways we help people beat speeding tickets, but I want to give you more than that.

I want this blog to be a resource for all of your traffic ticket needs.

To do that, I’m going to start answering a lot of your most common questions, and some of your less common questions. Today, we’re going to start with an oldie but a goodie.

Can the Court Suspend My License for a Parking Ticket?

This question drummed a story from my recent past. I got a call from a buddy of mine around 2:00 a.m. a couple of months ago. I was asleep, and normally I wouldn’t answer the phone, but I thought he might be in trouble, so I picked it up.

    Me: Hello

    Buddy: Hey man, I’m in a little bit of a situation. The cops just pulled me over and are making me walk home!

    Me: Why?

    Buddy: They said they got behind me, ran my license, and it was suspended!

    Me: Is your license suspended?

    Buddy: I don’t think so.

    Me: Have you had any tickets recently that you forgot to pay?

    Buddy: No. Wait a minute. I had an old parking ticket that I never paid.

    Me: That will do it. Pay the ticket and they’ll take your license out of suspended status.

I guess that’s a long way of saying yes, you can have your license suspended for not paying a parking ticket, though technically it isn’t the court that does it it is the Department of Licensing.

Why Would They Suspend My License Over a Parking Ticket?

It’s pretty simple really. They want you to pay your tickets. They know people often won’t do stuff like that unless they feel some kind of pain. Letters don’t make people feel pain. Criminal charges do.

Just like my buddy, when people find out their license is suspended and they could be charged with a crime, they take care of their ticket.

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Have a ticket? Need help? Call us today at 206.651.4245.


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3 Times It’s Too Late for a Traffic Lawyer to Help (Most of the Time)

If I had a dime for every person that called our firm asking for help with their Seattle traffic ticket too late I’d be a rich man. I’m not sure why it is, but tardiness in hiring a traffic lawyer can hurt you a ton. Let’s talk about three times it’s too late for a traffic lawyer to help you fight your case (most of the time).

1. You’ve Missed the Deadline to Contest Your Ticket.

I know I’ve talked about this before (here’s a link to an old post on what to do when you get a traffic ticket), but if you get a traffic ticket in Washington State you only have 15 days to contest it.

If you miss that deadline, the court is going to find that you have committed the infraction and you are going to owe a lot of money (there are additional fees for failing to respond) and your driver’s license will be suspended.

Whenever people call us I always tell them if you hire us before the expiration of the 15 days we can take care of everything for you, including filing the paperwork to get the case started. That’s the beauty of hiring us to be your speeding ticket lawyer – we take care of everything for you.

If You Miss the Filing Deadline, You’ve Got a Problem

But so often people call after that deadline has passed and want us to help them fix it. And, believe it or not, sometimes we can. This is the one situation where the “most of the time” comes in. We can ask the court to open the case back up, and sometimes they will.

The easiest way to avoid this problem is to make sure you turn the paperwork in on time.

2. You’ve Contested Your Ticket and Lost

Another thing we get a lot is people calling that have just gone to their hearing and lost it. It’s at that time that they realized defending a traffic ticket is a little harder than it seems.

But, unfortunately, when this happens there is nothing we can do. It’s too late for a traffic lawyer to help.

People have a choice on how to fight these tickets. If you choose one you don’t like, that’s on you (that’s why, in my opinion, you should choose the option that gives you the best chance of success).

3. Unpaid Fines Have Accumulated Substantial Interest

This is perhaps the phone call I most hate to get. I don’t hate it because of the hassle, I hate it because I can imagine what being in a situation where there seem to be no options feels like.

If you didn’t know, if you don’t pay your fines and fees on your traffic ticket, they start to accumulate interest. Eventually the Department of Licensing will suspend your driver’s license until you pay them (which leads to an entirely different set of problems).

Again, we can’t help with this because it’s already happened. When the fines and fees have been handed out they are due. If you don’t pay them you will be charged interest. And that interest can grow quickly.

The Solution? Call a Traffic Lawyer Earlier Rather than Later

If you call our firm we’ll talk to you for free. Why not pick up the phone early? It could save you thousands of dollars and a bunch of heartache.


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What is a Habitual Traffic Offender?

I don’t get calls for people that are facing a habitual traffic offender classification very often. I think it’s probably because, as a traffic lawyer, I do a pretty good job of keeping my clients’ driving record clean. But it’s an important enough topic that I thought you should know about it, so I’m writing about it.

What Does it Mean to be a Habitual Traffic Offender?

There is really only one downside to being a habitual traffic offender (HTO for short) – your driver’s license is suspended for 7 years. That’s right, I said 7 years!

Now, if you’re thinking that’s a long time, you’re right, it’s a very long time. Now, there are ways to try to get your driving privileges back before the 7 years is up, but why take the chance? Why not just avoid an HTO designation all together? We’re going to talk about how to do that next.

How Does One Become an HTO?

If you must know, there are two primary ways you can receive the coveted habitual traffic offender status. I’ve listed them both below (via RCW 46.65.020) for your viewing pleasure:

As used in this chapter, unless a different meaning is plainly required by the context, an habitual offender means any person, resident or nonresident, who has accumulated convictions or findings that the person committed a traffic infraction as defined in RCW 46.20.270, or, if a minor, has violations recorded with the department of licensing, for separate and distinct offenses as described in either subsection (1) or (2) below committed within a five-year period, as evidenced by the records maintained in the department of licensing:

PROVIDED, That where more than one described offense is committed within a six-hour period such multiple offenses shall, on the first such occasion, be treated as one offense for the purposes of this chapter:

(1) Three or more convictions, singularly or in combination, of the following offenses:

  1. Vehicular homicide as defined in RCW 46.61.520;
  2. Vehicular assault as defined in RCW 46.61.522;
  3. Driving or operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of intoxicants or drugs (DUI);
  4. Driving while license suspended as defined in RCW 46.20.342(1)(b);
  5. Failure of the driver of any vehicle involved in an accident resulting in the injury or death of any person or damage to any vehicle which is driven or attended by any person to immediately stop such vehicle at the scene of such accident or as close thereto as possible and to forthwith return to and in every event remain at, the scene of such accident until he or she has fulfilled the requirements of RCW 46.52.020;
  6. Reckless driving as defined in RCW 46.61.500;
  7. Being in physical control of a motor vehicle while under the influence of intoxicating liquor or any drug as defined in RCW 46.61.504; or
  8. Attempting to elude a pursuing police vehicle as defined in RCW 46.61.024;

(2) Twenty or more convictions or findings that the person committed a traffic infraction for separate and distinct offenses, singularly or in combination, in the operation of a motor vehicle that are required to be reported to the department of licensing other than the offenses of driving with an expired driver’s license and not having a driver’s license in the operator’s immediate possession. Such convictions or findings shall include those for offenses enumerated in subsection (1) of this section when taken with and added to those offenses described herein but shall not include convictions or findings for any non-moving violation. No person may be considered an habitual offender under this subsection unless at least three convictions have occurred within the three hundred sixty-five days immediately preceding the last conviction.

The offenses included in subsections (1) and (2) of this section are deemed to include offenses under any valid town, city, or county ordinance substantially conforming to the provisions cited in subsections (1) and (2) [of this section] or amendments thereto, and any federal law, or any law of another state, including subdivisions thereof, substantially conforming to the aforesaid state statutory provisions.

Bottom line – do three extremely dumb things in a five year period or rack up 20 tickets in a five year period and you’re an HTO.

How a Traffic Lawyer Can Help You Avoid HTO Status

There are actually a couple of ways. The first is, if you find yourself charged with one of the more serious offenses you give us a call and we help you out.

The second, is, if you find yourself getting a bunch (or even one) of speeding tickets you give us a call and we help you out. When it comes to speeding tickets and similar offenses, we are extremely helpful, because about 95% of the time we’re able to keep your record clean – that means the ticket doesn’t count against you. That what traffic lawyers do – that’s what we do.

Questions, Thoughts, Comments?

We want to hear from you!


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Driving While License Suspended Explained

Although driving while license suspended (otherwise known as DWLS) is a criminal act – it is a misdemeanor or gross misdemeanor depending on the degree charged, it is something that almost anyone can come into contact with if they are not careful, particularly about paying speeding tickets (which is just one more reason it’s a […]
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Driving While License Suspended | An Overview

Driving while license suspended in Seattle is treated as a very serious offense. And it makes sense why. The thinking is that if you are driving while your license has been suspended you must have done something that a responsible driver wouldn’t do, and you should be off the road. As a Seattle traffic lawyer […]
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