If you received a traffic infraction, you must respond to the Court within fifteen (15) days of the date of the ticket. Respond by paying the fine in full, requesting a Time Payment Agreement, requesting a Deferral or requesting a court hearing.
Mitigation Hearing- A mitigation hearing is an informal procedure in which you admit to committing the violation on a traffic infraction, but wish to explain the circumstances to the judge. You may not argue that you did not commit the infraction. The Judge may or may not reduce the amount of penalty.
Contested Hearing- If you received a traffic infraction and do not believe you committed the violation, you may request a contested hearing. The judge will read the officer’s sworn statement. Then you may testify and present other witnesses and evidence on your behalf. The judge will decide whether or not the infraction was committed based on the preponderance of the evidence. If the judge finds the infraction committed, a reduced penalty may still be imposed. If the judge finds the infraction not committed, the infraction will be dismissed. You have the right to subpoena witnesses, including the officer who issued the citation. If you wish to subpoena a witness, you must apply to the court in writing at least 14 days prior to the hearing. Witnesses should be served at least 7 days before the hearing.
Deferred Hearing -A deferred finding is an opportunity for you to have your traffic infraction dismissed. Not all cases are eligible for a deferred finding and dismissal. If the court grants a deferral, you must meet all of the conditions of the deferral for the infraction to be dismissed. You may have a deferral for one moving and one non-moving infraction only once every 7 years anywhere in the state. The period of deferral is for 4 months. You cannot commit another infraction within this deferral period. You must pay administrative costs in the amount of the fine assessed on the face of your citation before the end of the deferral and you must attend traffic school if your deferral is for a moving violation and pay any fees associated with the attendance of the class. You are not eligible for a deferral if you have a CDL (commercial driver’s license). You must appear at Court Services within the 15-day deadline to determine whether you are eligible for a deferred finding.
Reductions- The following traffic violations may be reduced at the front counter with proof of license and/or insurance without requesting a court hearing:
- No Insurance
- No Driver's License on Person
- No valid Operator's License with Identification
- Expired Vehicle License
Failure to respond, failure to appear, or failure to pay will automatically increase the monetary penalty of your citation, and, in a traffic case, your driving privilege will be suspended until you have paid all the penalties required by law.
Appeal- To appeal a committed finding, you must file a Notice of Appeal within 30 days of the judgment. The Notice of Appeal form can be picked up and filed at the court office in Yelm. For a non-criminal case, you will need to pay a filing fee of $230.00. For a criminal case, you will need to pay a transmittal fee of $40.00. You may request a copy of the court proceedings for a copy/tape fee of $20.00.