Traffic Violations OverviewLike all states, Washington State strictly regulates traffic flow with a wide variety of driving laws and traffic controls. When motorists violate the traffic laws, they wind up getting ticketed. A ticket does not automatically go onto a driving record as a moving violation, but it will if the driver does not fight the ticket and prevail. When too many traffic violations occur, individuals lose their driving privileges.
Washington State Points SystemWhile many states use a points system that determines whether or not motorists maintain their driving privileges, Washington State does not use a points system. Instead, the state simply tracks the number of moving violations that drivers obtain. Accumulating any six or more moving violations in a 12-month period will trigger a 60-day license suspension. Additional moving violations will trigger longer suspensions.
How Long Points LastWashington State uses a simplified demerits system based on the number of moving violations that a motorist commits during a 12-month period. The moving violations must result in convictions or guilty pleas in order to carry enough weight to trigger a suspension of driving privileges. So there are no points that accumulate and last for a designated period of time, which means there are no points to lose. Some traffic violations clearly carry faster and swifter suspensions, like a DUI conviction or a reckless driving conviction for an incident that caused an accident and injuries to others. The state maintains driver records that will include traffic violations for up to five years. Insurers base rates on the prior three years’ of driving data in Washington State instead of looking at points totals.
License Suspension and ReinstatementAn initial license suspension for traffic violations lasts 60 days when you get six or more moving violations during a one-year period in Washington State. The length of license suspensions often is longer than 60 days when the driver commits more serious traffic violations or is declared a habitual offender while driving. A more serious offense would include violations like driving under the influence, vehicular assault or reckless driving. After paying fines. completing any remedial driver education requirements, and serving the suspension period, motorists can apply for reinstatement of driving privileges.
Violators can pay their fines for moving violations that trigger driver’s license suspensions when they are eligible for reinstatement of driving privileges. The state accepts payments for fines via credit cards, debit cards, money orders, cashier’s checks and personal checks. If a personal check bounces, the initial license suspension continues until the matter is resolved. Cash payments are not accepted.
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