Barbara A. Bowden

Tacoma, WA DUI Attorney

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Traffic Tickets in Lakewood, Washington

Traffic Tickets in Lakewood, Washington

It was the Sunday you had been looking forward to all month. It had been so long since you had a chance to get together with your old friends from college. Real life had just gotten in the way. You still remember graduation like it was yesterday, all you of promising that you were going to stay in touch. After all, you were best friends; real life could not get in the way of monthly reunions.

But there you were, sitting in Moonrise Cafe, talking with your friends that you hadn’t seen in over a year. Nothing had changed except your schedules. None of you ever left the Lakewood, Washington area. You still laughed like you did during those late nights in the dorm rooms at the University of Puget Sound! There was never a lull in the conversation, and all you kept thinking was “Why don’t we do this more often?”

You had only planned to have brunch; none of you expected to be there for hours. But it wasn’t until you checked your watch that you realized half the day was gone – you needed to get back home! Reluctantly, you all paid your checks and began the process of saying goodbye. The next few minutes were full of hugs followed by everyone getting in their cars and returning to normal life.

This is where you’re day began to go downhill. Initially when you got in your car, there was nothing that could ruin mood. Old music blaring (of course you were still in the mood to reminisce), you get on the I-5. There was no traffic, so you were extra careful to not speed. Your mind started to think back to all of the good times that you had during college, and you decided that you could not go this long again without seeing your old friends.

Same time next month?  This was the text that you were sending to your friends when you saw the red and blue lights flashing behind you. You immediately check your speedometer – you weren’t speeding. As you pull over, questions begin to run through your head.

There was no one else on the road, what could you have possibly done wrong? Is texting and driving illegal? What are the distracted driving laws in Washington? Are you going to have to go to court? What this affect your insurance?

When you receive a traffic ticket, these types of questions are common. Most people think that speeding is one of the only violations in which you can receive a ticket. This stop may be very surprising, even confusing to you. Many people do not know what the first step to take after receiving a hefty traffic citation should be. It is not uncommon to think that you do not need an attorney to fight a traffic ticket. However, an experienced Washington attorney can offer a lot of help. At the Law Offices of Barbara Bowden, we can help answer your questions and begin to aid in the process immediately. We pride ourselves in being able to assist any client that contacts us. While few traffic tickets may not be able to be disputed, we will still help you every step of the way, until it is all figured out. We know that you made a mistake, and you just want the ticket to go away.  That is where we come in to help you get your ticket dismissed or at least so it does not appear on your driving record.

If  you have received a traffic ticket in the Lakewood, Washington area like the example above, here are some questions that we can help you answer.

Can I get a ticket for being on your cell phone?

Distracted driving laws are different in every state. In Washington, there are a few laws surrounding the topic of cell phone use while operating a motor vehicle. First, for drivers with a regular license there is a complete ban on talking on your cell phone while it is being held up to your ear. At this time, this infraction is still a non-moving violation that will not become part of your driving record. However, the legislature has a bill in the works that will make this a moving violation very shortly. Originally, a driver who was caught talking on their cell phone by an officer could only be pulled over if they were committing another traffic infraction simultaneously (like speeding).  However, this is no longer the case. Today, a driver can be pulled over for this violation alone.

Drivers who hold a commercial license face stricter cell phone laws than other drivers. It is illegal for a commercial drivers to even hold their cell phone in their hand while driving their commercial vehicle.

Drivers are allowed to talk on their cell phones through a hands-free device (such as speaker phone or Bluetooth through the car’s stereo system). To clarify, it is legal for Washington drivers to talk on the phone, but only if it is through a hands-free device.

With this being said, all forms of texting are illegal for all drivers. This is also a primary offense, meaning that a police officer can pull over a driver for texting, even if they are not breaking any other laws.

What are other forms of distracted driving?

The US government website for distracted driving defines distracted driving as “any activity that could divert a person’s attention away from the primary task of driving.” While the most common form of distracted driving results from cell phone usage, there are many other examples. Some other forms of distracted driving include eating or drinking, talking to other passengers in the vehicle, using maps, and adjusting the radio or CD player.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and estimated 41,000 people were injured in motor vehicle crashes involving a distracted driver in 2012. This number has steadily increased over the past ten years. With numbers like these, the laws put into place surrounding distracted driving offenses are very important.

In the moment, it may surprise you to get a ticket for sending a quick text message, but these tickets can decrease cell phone usage across the country, resulting in less accidents and, more importantly, less fatalities.

If you or a loved one has received a traffic ticket for distracted driving in the Lakewood, Washington area, do not hesitate to contact the Law Offices of Barbara Bowden.