What is the benefit to you of a speeding ticket deferral in Washington State? A deferral is an opportunity to keep a speeding ticket off of your driving record and have it dismissed after a probationary period. While you do not need a traffic attorney to request a ticket deferral, an attorney can evaluate your ticket, to determine whether you can contest the ticket and save your deferral for another day.
Traffic Courts have authority to defer findings on moving violations under RCW 46.63.070 (5)(a). The statute says that the court may defer findings for up to one year and impose conditions upon the defendant the court deems appropriate, including costs for administrative processing. At the end of the deferral period, if the driver has met all conditions and not committed another traffic infraction, the court may dismiss the infraction.
Speeding Ticket Deferral Restrictions
The law does place some restrictions on who may receive such a benefit:
- You are limited to one deferral on a moving violation within a seven year period
- A person holding a commercial driver’s license or who was operating a commercial vehicle at the time of the violation may not receive a deferral
- A person who commits negligent driving second degree with a vulnerable user victim may not receive a deferral. This means an accident involving a pedestrian, a bicyclist or a motorcycle rider. See RCW 46.61.526 for the complete list of vulnerable users.
As described above, most Traffic Courts will defer a finding on a moving violation on condition that you have no other violations of law for up to 1 year and that you pay a fee for the speeding ticket deferral. If you pay and have no violations, the ticket is dismissed at the end of the period. If you violate the conditions, then the ticket is found committed and sent to Washington State Department of Licensing (DOL) to be placed on your driving record. Some courts even charge you again for the committed offense if you violate the deferral.
Some courts will not defer school zone tickets because of the language in RCW 46.61.440 which says that the penalty may not be waived, reduced or suspended. The conditions may vary from court to court. The law allows courts to impose conditions they deem appropriate which allows broad discretion. It is important to understand the conditions and time period for the deferral in order to successfully use this option.
- RCW 46.63.070 Response to notice — Contesting determination — Hearing — Failure to respond or appear
- RCW 46.61.526 Negligent driving — Second degree — Vulnerable user victim — Penalties — Definitions
- RCW 46.61.440 Maximum speed limit when passing school or playground crosswalks — Penalty, disposition of proceeds
- Traffic Infractions – Speeding Tickets.
Last Modified: December 1, 2021