Barbara A. Bowden

Tacoma, WA DUI Attorney

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How much does a speeding ticket cost in Washington State and what should I do if I get one?

If you are caught speeding in Washington State, you may pay a hefty fine. The fines associated with speeding, when the posted speed limit is 40 mph or lower are:

  • 1-5 mph over–$125
  • 6-10 mph over–$136
  • 11-15 mph over–$166
  • 16-20 mph over–$207
  • 21-25 mph over–$259
  • 26-30 mph over–$310
  • 31-35 mph over–$361
  • 35 mph or more over–$423

If the posted speed limit is higher than 40 mph, the fines associated with speeding include:

  • 1-5 mph over–$105
  • 6-10 mph over-$125
  • 11-15 mph over–$156
  • 16-20 mph over–$187
  • 21-25 mph over–$218
  • 26-30 mph over–$259
  • 31-35 mph over–$310
  • 36-40 mph over–$361
  • 40 mph or more over–$423

These above amounts are only for the ticket fine itself, and, speeding in a school zone or a construction zone will bring higher fines. Should you choose to pay the ticket—rarely a good idea—this is only the base amount. By paying a speeding ticket, you are effectively pleading you committed the ticket infraction, therefore, it will be reported to the Department of Licensing, giving your insurance company access to the information. This means your insurance rates are likely to rise, sometimes dramatically.

Speeding in a School Zone

If you receive a speeding ticket in a school zone, it can be particularly serious, requiring an aggressive defense from Pierce County traffic ticket lawyers who understand the technicalities involved in each and every traffic stop. Most people who defend themselves against a WA school zone ticket are unsuccessful. Accidentally speeding in a school zone is not a defense, as there is no intent requirement under the law. Further, a judge is unable to reduce the penalties for speeding in a school zone, therefore a solid understanding of the law is essential toward establishing a sound defense.

Why You Should Not Simply Pay a Washington Speeding Ticket

The majority of drivers tend to look at a speeding ticket as little more than an annoyance. Because of that, few people go to court to challenge a speeding ticket, preferring to drop a check in the mail and forget about the entire incident. What drivers may not realize is that the moment you drop that check in the mailbox, you may have just set yourself up for a host of additional problems. While the state of Washington does not have a point system like some states, it does keep track of all moving violations, including speeding.

If you are ticketed for numerous moving violations within 12 months, the Washington Department of Licensing will suspend your driver’s license. Each subsequent violation carries additional—and harsher—penalties, such as license suspension or revocation. If your license is suspended or revoked, you will be unable to drive until all requirements have been satisfied.  If you hold a CDL, you are required to notify your employer within 30 days of receiving the violation, or if provided in your employment contract sooner.

Habitual Traffic Offender Status

If you continue to rack up moving violations, you could find yourself labeled a habitual traffic offender—a designation that can have a major impact on your life in the form of having your driving privileges revoked for 7 years. If you accumulate three major moving offenses within a five-year period, or twenty moving infractions within a five-year period, you could find yourself unable to drive for seven years. Major traffic offenses include reckless driving, DUI, driving with a suspended license, vehicular homicide, vehicular assault, hit and run, or eluding a police officer. Moving infractions include speeding, running a stop light or stop sign, failure to yield, seat belt violations, and many more infractions.

The five-year period is calculated on the violation date rather than the conviction date. If you are looking at a criminal offense, it could take years for a court resolution, however only the date of arrest matters. Once you have been designated a habitual traffic offender, you will need the services of a good lawyer to keep you driving. Because of this, it is extremely important that you contact an experienced Washington traffic ticket attorney like us, long before you are in HTO status, or when you become a habitual traffic offender.

Depending on your driving history and the circumstances surrounding your ticket—as well as the ticket itself—the court could allow you to complete traffic school or take a defensive driving course. While this will not dismiss your ticket, it could be beneficial as your traffic ticket could be deferred, therefore, would not go on your driving record—in other words, the court will avoid reporting the ticket to the DOL, so it is not on your driving record, and not on your insurance. You will be required not to receive additional tickets during your deferral period, or the ticket will go on your record (you are only allowed 1 deferral every 7 years). Some insurance companies also offer a safe driver discount for those completing traffic school.

In the end, while it may feel as though it would be simpler to pay your speeding ticket, this is rarely the case. There are so many unintended consequences of simply paying a speeding ticket, most of which you may not see for months, or even years. A much better choice is to speak to a traffic ticket lawyer from The Law Offices of Barbara A. Bowden to discuss the facts of your speeding ticket, as well as your options. We will work hard on your behalf to ensure you suffer as few negative consequences as possible as a result of your speeding ticket. Do not try to handle the situation on your own—contact The Law Offices of Barbara A. Bowden today.