I had a conversation with an insurance agent the other day who sends us their clients when they get speeding tickets. This particular agency (I’ve talked about them a little bit before in this post) is pretty ahead of the game when it comes to customer service, and they figure a happy client is a client that will stick with them for a long time. Because of that, they encourage their clients to come to them whenever they have a car issues of any kind.

When people come to me I always tell them, “our job as a Seattle traffic lawyer is to keep your driving record clean. Period.” I then go on to tell them three are three general ways we can do that:

  1. We can get your ticket dismissed;
  2. We can get your ticket reduced to a non-moving violation; and
  3. We can get you a deferred ticket

Our first goal is always a dismissal – that way you don’t pay any money for the ticket, and you walk away scot free. But sometimes that can’t happen. In that case, we go for the non-moving violation. And that always seems to drum up a lot of questions.

Non-Moving Violations Explained

Contrary to popular belief, non-moving violations are very often violations that occur when the car is moving. Examples of this are inattentive driving, driving while talking on a cell phone, and driving without a seat belt. What makes these violations “non-moving” isn’t what happens when they occur, but what the law says.

WAC 308-104-160 lists all of the moving violations in the state of Washington. Click here to see that list. If the infraction isn’t on that list, then it’s not a moving violation.

What separates the moving violation from the non-moving violation is the way it’s treated by the court and by the Department of Licensing (DOL). Whereas a speeding ticket in Seattle is reported to the DOL, non-moving violations are not. And, in fact, some infractions are specifically ordered not to be reported to the DOL or to insurance companies. Let’s take a look at those.

Seattle Seat Belt Infraction Broken Down

By the way, this type of discussion we’re having today is the exact reason you hire a traffic lawyer to help you fight your ticket. We know this stuff. We use it for you. It’s what makes us good at our jobs.

The seat belt law is outlined in RCW 46.61.688. You can read it here. The key to the seatbelt law is the language in section 5, which says, specifically:

(5) A person violating this section shall be issued a notice of traffic infraction under chapter 46.63 RCW. A finding that a person has committed a traffic infraction under this section shall be contained in the driver’s abstract but shall not be available to insurance companies or employers.

This means your insurer isn’t allowed to see seat belt infractions, no matter how many you get. And if they can’t see them, then they don’t count against you.

Inattention to Driving and You

Inattention to driving is not a state statute, but a local ordinance – hence it’s not a moving violation, and it too is not reported to DOL. That’s an easy one.

The Cell Phone Ticket Broken Down

Cell phone tickets are codified into law at RCW 46.61.667. You can read it here.

Section 6 of the cell phone law is the important part, and it says specifically:

Additionally, a finding that a person has committed a traffic infraction under this section shall not be made available to insurance companies or employers.

So, again, no one gets to see these.

Happy Fourth of July from the Seattle Ticket Kings!

No, I didn’t forget that it’s the 4th of July. I just wanted to get out all the helpful information before waxing nostalgia. This is a great day to remember that the United States of America, despite its many faults, is the greatest country in the world. No place is perfect, but no other place in the world provides the opportunities, the freedoms, and the living out of dreams that the U.S. does. I’m proud to be an American. And I’m proud to serve all of you every day.