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Woods & Brangwin, PLLC

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East Wenatchee, Washington 98802

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Deferring a traffic ticket may be a mistake
Written by John Brangwin
Thursday, 21 June 2012 19:03
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Here’s a mistake I see all the time:Parents’ “helping” with their son or daughter’s speeding ticket.


I remember my first ticket.Bellevue Police on a motorcycle on the road around Phantom Lake.I went to court and tried to beat it---perhaps it was meant to be that I’d become a lawyer.I lost the case but was able to keep it off my record by not getting another ticket for a year.Back then Deferred Dispositions weren’t formalized as they are now.I got lucky.



Today a person can only get one Deferred Disposition every seven (7) years, according to RCW 46.63.070(5)(b).And they certainly sound enticing---don’t get another ticket and this one will never be on your record.Parents who accompany their kid to court on a first speeding ticket often insist their child “keep it off their record.”Someone, maybe a court clerk, police officer or friend tells them to “just defer it.”But unfortunately, many people do get another ticket and end up with two on their record when their Deferred Disposition is revoked because of the second ticket.Now, for an adult, two tickets on their record will do little except maybe cause an increase in insurance rates.But for someone under age 18, it’s devastating:Their driver’s license (an intermediate license) is suspended for six months or until age 18 because of RCW 46.20.267.


I usually get the call at that point, when the kid and their parents receive the letter from DOL notifying them that the kid can no longer drive.“We had no idea” they say.“But what about getting to school or to practice” I hear. “It doesn’t matter” I tell them.And regrettably, there’s little I can probably do about it at that point, and what I might be able to do is going to be expensive, time consuming and with no guarantee of success.


At some level, the kid and their parents have only themselves to blame.The adage:If you represent yourself you have a fool for a client, applies here even if it is “just” a speeding ticket.For $40 we offer a consultation on traffic infractions.Money well spent.We obviously charge more if we engage in representation, and although we don’t guarantee any outcome we do enjoy a fair amount of success.Paying a few hundred dollars up front may end up saving you thousands by not needing us to untangle a mess that has been made through self-representation.But if nothing else, during the consultation we’ll tell you to pay the first ticket so you can “save” the Deferred Disposition.That way, the kid doesn’t end up with two tickets on their record that suspends their license; ticket #1 is paid and ticket #2 is deferred and all is well.


And frankly, the same is true for DUI’s where I see people enter a Deferred Prosecution on their first offense and end up getting a second DUI.What a tragedy---but that’s a topic for another article.


John M. Brangwin is a founding member of the Wenatchee law firm of Woods & Brangwin, PLLC.He devotes much of his practice to crimes and infractions involving automobiles in courts throughout North Central Washington including all of the District and Municipal Courts in Chelan, Douglas, Okanogan and Grant Counties.


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