Infractions & Deferred Findings
A traffic infraction is a civil (non criminal) offense that cannot be punished by a jail sentence. Primarily, there are 2 types of hearings you may request with regard to an infraction: a contested or mitigation hearing. Note: If you are facing a criminal charge arising from the same incident as the infraction, DO NOT MAKE ANY STATEMENTS ABOUT THE INCIDENT TO MITIGATE OR CONTEST THE INFRACTION. Your statements may be used against you in a criminal case. Notify your criminal defense attorney that you have an infraction. Your attorney may request that the infraction “track” with your criminal matter.
Contested Hearing A contested hearing means you wish to contest (or challenge) the infraction. The judge determines by a preponderence of the evidence if there will be a "committed" or "not committed" finding to the offense. If there is a committed finding by the judge, the offense is reported to Department of Licensing. A not committed finding or dismissal is not reported.
Mitigation Hearing A mitigation hearing is a hearing to explain circumstances and is uncontested. This type of hearing is generally requested when a person wishes to ask for a reduction in the penalty, often times based on circumstances. A committed disposition from a mitigation hearing is reported to Department of Licensing.
Deferrals Under certain conditions the law allows for a deferred finding. A deferral of a traffic infraction is only allowed once every 7 years. The length of a deferral is generally one year during which time the following conditions must be met:
- Pay the administrative costs in full (approximately $155) of the deferral.
- Receive no further traffic violations during your deferral period.
- In some cases the judge may require completion of a defensive driving school.
If you believe you may be eligible for a deferred finding, you can make this request at your hearing. The judge will make a determination as to your eligibility and the deferral time-frame. If all conditions of the deferral are met the violation is dismissed.
Submitting Request By law, you must submit a request for hearing within 15 days of issuance of the infraction. Failure to appear at your hearing can result in additional penalties, referral of your infraction to a collection agency, and suspension of your driving privileges.
Traffic infractions or other non-traffic civil infractions: If you receive a Notice of Infraction you have been charged with one or more traffic or other civil infractions. Please read the front and back (if applicable) of the infraction for instructions. You must respond to the court, either in person or in writing, within 15 days of the date of infraction if personally served. If the notice was served by mail, you must respond by the due date as listed on the Notification you received. If you fail to respond by the required time period, a failure to respond fee may be added by some couts. The Department of Licensing will also be notified of the failure to respond to a traffic infraction and may take administrative action to suspend your driving privileges. Failure to pay or respond to a non-traffic civil infraction may result in the filing of criminal charges against you.
If you receive a School Zone Speeding Notice of Infraction follow the instructions on the notice or contact an attorney. School zone infractions are not eligible for deferrals.
Parking tickets: If you receive a Non-Traffic Parking Infraction you have been charged with one or more parking violations. Please read the front and back (if applicable) of the infraction for instructions. You must respond to the court, either in person or in writing, within 15 days of the date of infraction. If the notice was served by mail, you must respond by the due date as listed on the Notification you received. Any unpaid balance will be forwarded to a collection agency. You may be unable to renew your vehicle license tabs until all fines are paid.