Martin Duenhoelter has been representing defendants in Washington courts for 20 years. His job is to ensure that every accused person receives all the rights and protections the law allows.
Martin Duenhoelter has successfully handled traffic cases from all area jurisdictions, representing defendants charged with
- Driving without a License
- Driving with a Suspended License
- Driving without Insurance
- Driving without Sufficient Insurance
- Driving without Registration
- Driving with Expired Registration
- Leaving the Scene of an Accident (“Hit and Run”)
- Reckless Driving
- Running a Red Light
- Running a Stop Sign
- Making an Illegal U-Turn
- Seat Belt or Child Restraint Violations
- Mechanical Violations
- Unlawful Vehicle Modifications
What to do if you’ve been stopped for a traffic infraction
If you are stopped by a police officer, be polite and courteous. Always remember that the officer has a difficult job to do and will respond better to a driver who is respectful and calm. Never argue with the officer but never admit to any wrongdoing.
If you decide to contest the citation, you must respond to the ticket within 15 days by checking “Box 3” on the back and returning it to the court. Contact our office immediately to ensure that you are properly represented. We will send you more detailed information about what to do next and help you gather any additional information that could be necessary to defend you.
Even if you aren’t sure whether you committed the infraction, or if you believe that there could be extenuating circumstances in your case, you should contest the charge. This preserves your rights and ensures that you will get to tell your story to a judge.
Remember to make 2 copies of the ticket before sending it back, one for you and one for me. It’s always a good idea to make copies of any documents relating to your case.
Within 3 weeks you should receive a Notice to Appear, which will give you the date and time the court has set for your case to be heard. This will usually be 1 to 4 months in the future.
Things to Know about Washington’s traffic laws
- Even if the fine for a traffic infraction is relatively small, a conviction can sometimes add hundreds of dollars per year to your auto insurance costs.
- Although Washington does not use a “point system” for traffic infractions, if a driver has a fourth moving violation within one year or a fifth moving violation within two years the state will automatically suspend that person’s driver’s license for 30 days.
- If the police stop a vehicle for a traffic infraction and as a result find evidence of some other crime, the charge can sometimes be dismissed if the court finds that there was no legal basis for the traffic stop.
- Licensed drivers who are under 18 years of age must follow some special restrictions, including restrictions on underage passengers, use of cell phones and restrictions on driving during nighttime hours.
- Although the State of Washington does not require bicyclists to wear a helmet, local helmet laws apply in many areas, including the Cities of Tacoma, Steilacoom, Lakewood, Puyallup and Gig Harbor, as well as all areas of unincorporated Pierce County.
- Devices to detect police speed radar guns, also known as “fuzz busters” or radar detectors, are illegal in Washington.
- In Washington it is illegal to text message or use a handheld phone while driving. This is considered a “primary offense,” meaning police do not need to find any additional offense before stopping the driver and issuing a citation.
- Fines for speeding are doubled within a highway work zone, whether or not there are highway workers present.
Only a trained attorney, experienced in these and other issues, can help to determine whether a person charged with a traffic infraction may have valid legal rights or claims. If you have been ticketed for a driving violation, contact our office for a consultation immediately.
For more information on local laws relating to Driving while Under the Influence of Intoxicants (“DUI”), Speeding or Traffic Infractions, visit our companion sites lawyerintacoma.com and duiintacoma.com.
Information contained in this website is not to be taken as legal advice, nor does viewing this site mean that an attorney-client relationship has been created.