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How to Pay a Traffic Ticket in Washington

Citations or traffic tickets are issued in the State of Washington for various violations of traffic law. You must respond to a citation, usually by paying a fine or appearing in court, or else a warrant may be issued for your arrest and your driving license may be suspended.

If you wish to dispute the citation, you must appear in court personally on the scheduled date, and enter a "not guilty" plea. Appearing in court gives you an opportunity to fight the traffic ticket in front of a judge or jury, and most people prefer to hire a traffic ticket lawyer to defend them in court. For more information on how to dispute a traffic ticket in Washington, see our general section on Traffic Tickets and Violations.

PAYING A TRAFFIC TICKET - WHAT IT MEANS

When you pay a ticket, you are essentially pleading guilty to a traffic offense. Motorists should be aware that receiving and paying a traffic citation could result in higher car insurance rates and points on your driving record. Your license may be suspended if you accumulate too many points on your driving record.

HOW TO PAY THE FINE

If you decide to plead guilty to a traffic violation, there are several ways to pay the ticket. Generally, the back of the citation will clearly indicate the deadlines and options for answering the ticket. Usually, you must act within fifteen days of receiving a traffic ticket to avoid additional fines and possible suspension of your license.

  1. Pay online. Some courts in Washington allow you to pay your traffic ticket online. If the facility is available, it will usually be listed on the ticket. Major credit cards are accepted.
  2. Pay by mail. Read the instructions on the back of the ticket carefully, then check the "Guilty" box and sign the ticket. Enclose a check or money order for the amount indicated on the ticket and mail to the court where your ticket is answerable. The address is usually listed on the ticket. Be sure to retain a copy of the citation for your personal records.
  3. Pay in person. You can pay your traffic tickets at the court (location is usually listed on the ticket) where your ticket is answerable. Bring the citation with you, along with the payment (cash, check, money order, or credit card is generally accepted).
  4. Pay by phone. You can pay your traffic ticket by phone at some courts (the King County District Court is an example) in Washington using a credit card. If the facility is available, it is usually listed on the ticket.

PLEADING NOT GUILTY

If you decide to plead not guilty and dispute the ticket, read the instructions on the back of the ticket carefully. The instructions will generally indicate when and how to plead not guilty, and information about appearing in court to dispute your ticket. See our general section on Traffic Tickets and Violations for more information about how to dispute a traffic ticket in Washington State.

DISMISSAL OF CHARGES

Remember that you cannot be found guilty of committing a traffic offense unless there is clear, accurate and convincing evidence that you committed the violation. Charges may be dismissed in court if the citation includes vague or incorrect information. For instance, vehicle information, time, location and circumstances must all be indicated correctly on the ticket. Many motorists choose to consult with a traffic ticket attorney to help them evaluate the validity of the ticket, and whether or not it is likely to be dismissed in court.

LOST TICKETS

If you lost a traffic ticket after receiving it, you must contact the court where the ticket is answerable. If you do not know the name of the appropriate court, contact the local Driver Licensing office or call DOL at (360) 902-3900.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Reviews of How to Pay a Traffic Ticket in Washington

I received a speeding ticket in Washington state many years ago. Is there a way to find out if I still owe on it, and how do I pay it. I live in Canada.

i received a speeding ticket in Washington state last year. Is there a way to find out if I still owe on it, and how do I pay it. I live in Canada