What To Do If You Have a Washington Speeding Ticket

You can either pay for a Washington speeding ticket, request mitigation, or fight it in court—but you could still face a 32% increase in car insurance rates.
Written by Kianna Walpole
Edited by Jessica Barrett
Reviewed by Brice Regling
Drivers with a speeding ticket in
have three options: pay the ticket, request a mitigation hearing, or contest the ticket in traffic court. Either way, a speeding ticket will likely result in a 32% increase in
car insurance
premiums at renewal. 

How to manage a speeding ticket in Washington state

If you’ve recently received a speeding ticket in Washington, there are steps you can take to help restore your driving record, and potentially lower the financial repercussions.
Generally, your traffic ticket will list important information, such as the statute code for your infraction, your fee, and your court date. If you don’t respond to the traffic infraction within 15 days, you could experience harsher penalties, including license suspension.
Keep in mind that if you pay the fine, or request a mitigation hearing, you’re entering a guilty plea and the applicable charges and demerit points will be applied.
When your car insurance is up for renewal, your insurer will aware of your ticket when they run your motor vehicle report (MVR). Washington drivers experience an average 32% increase in their car insurance rates at this time. To help lower costs, shop for car insurance ahead of time.

Paying for your Washington speeding ticket

If you’re financially able, you can consider paying for your ticket outright. Remember that paying essentially means you’re pleading guilty.
  • Most counties in Washington state allow drivers to pay for their traffic violations online through the corresponding county District Court website. To pay online, you will need your citation number and a valid credit card. 
  • Other counties also allow the option for drivers to pay in-person, over the phone, or by mail—but not all of these options are available in every district. Contact your District Court for further information on different payment methods. 

Requesting mitigation vs. requesting a contested hearing

There are two ways you can have your ticket dismissed in Washington: request a mitigation hearing or a contested hearing.
A mitigation hearing is a court session where you admit guilt, but also get a chance to explain yourself to a judge. Depending on the circumstances of your violation, the judge might reduce your penalty, defer your ticket, or allow you to substitute it with community service.
If your ticket is deferred, you’ll be required to keep your record clean for one year and attend traffic school but it won’t be reported to the Department of Licensing. You are only eligible for deferral once every 7 years and will need to pay an administrative fee equal to the ticket penalty amount.
Requesting a contested hearing, on the other hand, is the same thing as fighting your ticket—you plead not guilty to speeding and have a chance to prove it with evidence and witnesses in court.

How to have your speeding ticket dismissed

According to state law, Washington drivers who are convicted of speeding can become eligible for a ticket deferral by taking a court-approved defensive driving course.
Not only will this increase your driving knowledge and skills, but it could also help you in the future with car insurance premiums, and qualify you for discounts.
Another option is to plead your case in court and provide evidence if you believe that your ticket was given in error. Here are a handful of defenses that can make you eligible for ticket dismissal:
Human or radar error: If you can prove that the radar was malfunctioning or human error was involved when your ticket was issued, it might be dismissed.
Defective or faulty speedometer: If your speedometer was broken or malfunctioning and you were unable to determine your speed, you could have grounds for dismissal.
Medical emergency: If you can prove that you were speeding due to a medical emergency, you may be able to have your ticket dismissed.
Drivers with a
clean record
will often have a better chance at dismissal than someone with a poor driving history.
Never claim ignorance as a defense
Claiming ignorance of Washington state traffic laws is never a good option. As a licensed driver, you are responsible for knowing the rules and regulations for the state you’re in—regardless if you’re a visitor or a resident.

Telematics can help improve your driving habits and qualify you for discounts in the future

Once you have a speeding ticket on your record, you’ll likely be removed from any good driver discounts you once had on your car insurance policy.
app screenshot
But several providers—like Progressive and State Farm—offer
telematics programs
to help you build safe driving habits and get back on track to earning potential savings.
monitors your driving and attributes you a final score. The higher the score, the greater your rewards and perks.

Calculating your Washington speeding ticket penalties

Speeding is considered a moving violation or an infraction in Washington state and generally carries no jail time—unless you are convicted of
reckless driving
When you receive a general speeding ticket in Washington, you can expect fines up to $188 plus a $44 surcharge. An additional $25 fee will be implemented if you fail to respond to the initial ticket. 
Below is a complete breakdown of the fine schedule according to
IRLJ 6.2
from the Washington State Courts and the
Washington State Legislature, Chapter 46, Article 61, Section 110

The Washington speeding ticket fine schedule1

Speeding offense
Base fineBase fine
Additional fines
Additional charges
General speeding (if posted limit is over 40 mph)
General speeding (if posted limit is under 40 mph)
Driving too fast for conditions
Reckless driving
Up to $5,000
Driver’s license suspension for up to 30 days
If convicted of a DUI more than once in 7 years, ignition lock is required
Up to 1 year in jail
Exceeding the speed limit in construction and school zones will double your fine—and you will still be required to pay the standard applicable additional fees.

The Washington traffic infraction point system

While the state of Washington doesn’t use a points system, it does keep track of how many moving violations your driver’s license receives. If you get numerous additional tickets in a 12-month period, you will lose your driving privileges.
Speeding tickets and other moving violations will remain on your driving record for up to 3 years.

A speeding ticket will increase your insurance premiums at renewal—shopping can help

When you get a speeding ticket, your insurer won’t discover it right away. But once your renewal period approaches, your insurance provider will assess any changes to your driver profile and record and your premiums will likely increase by around 32%.  
But remember, not all insurance companies
calculate rates the same way
. That’s why it’s important to comparison shop before renewal—you might be able to find cheaper rates with another company.

Expert Insurance Professional Insight

Vice President of Insurance Operations @ Jerry, 15 years experience
70% of people haven’t re-shopped their car insurance policy and that means they may be leaving money on the table. If you aren’t pleased with your current rate, shop around.
You could manually shop and compare quotes online, or you could use the
app screenshot
Jerry allows you can customize your driver profile and see real rates from some of the
best insurance companies
in the state based on your current record.
When it’s time for renewal, turn on the automatic re-shop feature.
You’ll get new quotes instantly and notifications any time a new insurer with potentially lower rates is available.

Top Washington car insurance companies after a speeding ticket

Here’s how major insurance companies tend to handle rate renewals after a speeding ticket:
Insurance company
Average rate increase after a speeding ticket
American Family
State Farm
Keep note: Every insurance company deals with traffic offenses differently. Things like your existing record, the number of years you’ve been with your insurer, and how you manage your ticket can change your premium—and it may be higher or lower than what’s indicated in the table above.
Where'd we get these numbers?
Jerry’s editorial team researched the average rate increase after a speeding ticket for these 10 insurance companies using expert sources from Forbes, NerdWallet, ValuePenguin, WalletHub, Liberty Mutual, The Zebra, and CarInsurance.com. Our data shows the average of the data shared by these sources.
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How much is a ticket for 20 over in Washington state?

A speeding ticket for 20 mph over the speed limit in Washington state is $73 plus the applicable additional fees. 

Do speeding tickets go away in Washington?

In Washington state, speeding tickets and other moving violations will remain on your driving record for 3 years.

Is going over 100 mph a felony in Washington state?

Going 100 mph over the posted speed limit is considered reckless driving and you will be charged with a misdemeanor. This type of conviction is punishable by up to one year in jail, plus fines of up to $5,000. 

Is it worth fighting a speeding ticket in Washington state?

If you believe that your ticket was given in error, it may be worth fighting it in court to avoid the charges and spike in your car insurance rates. However, this option can be costly, and may not result in your favor. 

What is the maximum speed limit in Washington?

In the state of Washington, the maximum speed is 70 mph on rural interstates, unless specified. All other roads are 60 mph.

What happens if you don’t pay a speeding ticket in Washington state?

If you ignore your speeding ticket, a ‘failure to respond’ or FTA is placed on your record and remains there for up to 60 days. This will lead to license suspension until you pay your dues by either setting up a payment plan or covering the cost in its entirety. 

How many speeding tickets before suspension in Washington?

If you receive 6 speeding tickets in a 12-month period or 7 in a 24-month period, your Washington license will be suspended.

What happens if you pay a speeding ticket late in Washington state?

If no payment is made for your speeding ticket within the 30-day time frame, you will need to pay a one-time fee of $52 on top of your charges. If you pay after 30 days, you’ll receive a letter from the District Court to set up a payment plan before it heads to collections.

Is speeding a felony in Washington state?

No, speeding is not a felony in Washington state. Rather, it is either an infraction or a misdemeanor.

How do I look up traffic tickets in Washington?

To find out if you have any unpaid traffic tickets in Washington, you can call the Washington State Department of Licensing at (360) 902-3900.

What is a traffic infraction in Washington state?

A traffic infraction is a non-criminal offense and is generally awarded to minor traffic violations such as speeding, not wearing a seat belt, or tailgating.

How can I check my driving record online in Washington?

To check your driving record online, head to the Washington State Department of Licensing website. You will need to pay a $13 fee to obtain a copy of your record.

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