Unlike some states, Washington does not have a "point" system for traffic tickets. In Washington the system is much simpler. In addition to potential fines and license suspension, if you have a "moving" violation on your driving record, the violation is visible to insurance companies and they may increase your rates. On the other hand, a "nonmoving" violation may still cost you some money but it won't trigger a driver's license suspension and usually won't affect your insurance rates.
Unfortunately, it isn't as simple as asking whether the car was moving at the time of the ticket, which is why it is important to have a Seattle traffic lawyer on your side.
Moving and nonmoving violations defined
The Washington Administrative Code 308-104-160 defines "moving" and "nonmoving" violations. Some obvious moving violations include:
- Disobey Road Sign, Traffic Signal, Officer or School Patrol
- Failure to Stop
- Failure to Yield Right of Way
- Vehicular Homicide or Vehicular Assault
- Hit and Run Attended
- Reckless Driving
But there are also many violations that don't fit into obvious categories. Blocking an Intersection (one of the favorite tickets that the Redmond Police Department writes) is a moving violation. Not wearing your own seat belt is a nonmoving violation but having an unrestrained child in your car is a moving violation.
Why moving violations matter
Whether your violation is deemed moving or nonmoving can have a big impact on your life. The Washington Department of Licensing keeps track of traffic violations on your driving record, especially moving violations, and drivers who have too many can lose their driving privileges, not to mention the huge increases in insurance costs.
Nonmoving violations matter, too
For some drivers, like those under 18 and those with a Commercial Driver's License (CDL), moving violations are especially bad but even nonmoving violations can affect your license status and insurance rates. For example, Texting and Driving is normally a nonmoving violation for adults but it can still trigger a license suspension for minor drivers. Similarly, while Failure to Wear a Seat Belt is a nonmoving violation for most people, it is reported to insurance for CDL holders.
How to protect yourself
If you get any kind of traffic ticket, find an experienced and knowledgeable Washington Traffic Ticket Lawyer and ask some questions. We can help you fight the infraction and protect your driving record, your insurance rates and your license.