How to Get a Traffic Ticket Dismissed in Washington State


In most situations, traffic tickets in the state of Washington are civil matters. This means that the court does not have to provide you with a defense attorney. In order to get a traffic ticket dismissed, you may need to hire an attorney to increase your chances of receiving a not guilty verdict. However, there are a few guidelines to follow if you decide to fight your traffic ticket on your own in the state of Washington.

  • Request a mitigation hearing if you were guilty of a traffic infraction but believe there were extenuating circumstances. On the back of your citation, choose the "mitigation hearing" choice. Make sure you return your ticket within 15 days.

  • Attend your mitigation hearing in Washington. The court will mail you the date of your mitigation hearing.

  • Ask for a deferral at the mitigation hearing. You will still be pleading guilty to the traffic infraction but the court will defer entering those findings for a year. If you do not have any other traffic infractions for 12 months, the ticket will be erased from your driving record. This option is only available once every seven years. You will have to pay administrative costs and may have to attend a traffic school depending on what county you received the ticket.

  • Select "Contested Hearing" on the back of your citation if you believe you are not guilty. You will receive a court date in the mail. If you do not receive one, check with the clerk of the courts to find out the date of your hearing.

  • Check with the clerk of the court to see when your citation was filed. In Washington state, the officer does not have to attend the hearing but must file a written report of the traffic citation within five business days. If it has not been filed in time, you will have file for dismissal at your hearing.

  • Attend your pre-hearing conference if required. In some jurisdictions, there will be a pre-hearing conference where the court will review the case and offer you a deferment, if eligible. You can waive this conference by contacting the clerk of the courts for the proper form.

  • Prepare for your hearing. Submit any necessary motions including a "Discovery Request" so that you can have a copy of the officer's sworn statement. Contact the clerk of the courts to receive the form and file it at least 14 days before the hearing. Serve the request to the prosecutor and file a copy with the clerk of the court. Decide on any witnesses you want at your hearing for your traffic infraction.

  • Make your case at your hearing. The prosecution will enter the officer's sworn statement or call the officer up to testify if he appears at the court. You can cross-examine any witnesses. You will testify your side of the story. You also will call up any witnesses that you had prepared to help make your case. The judge will make his decision.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you choose to plead not guilty you may want to consult with an attorney.
  • There is no guarantee to get a traffic ticket dismissed. It will be up to the judge in your case.


  • Photo Credit Jupiterimages/ Images
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