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Hearing Information

Hearings (Adjudication) by Mail

1. Program description
2. How to Request a Hearing by Mail
3. Complete Written Statement
4. Your Hearing
5. How to Pay
6. Failure to Pay or Respond

Program Description How to Request a Hearing By Mail

The Municipal Court allows citizens with parking or traffic tickets to have their cases "heard" by a Magistrate without going to court. This program, called Adjudication by Mail, substitutes a written explanation for a personal appearance.

"Adjudication by Mail is another effort by the Seattle Municipal Court to make justice more accessible to more people," said then Presiding Judge Jean Rietschel when the program began in 2000. "We understand that it can be difficult for people to get away from work or school or put aside family responsibilities to appear at a magistrate hearing. This program will also be a real benefit to people from out of town who must leave before an in-person hearing can be scheduled." At that time, the Court accepted written statements for mitigation hearings only. In March 2008, the Court began accepting written statements for contested hearings, too.

To be eligible for Adjudication by Mail, you must first request a mitigation hearing or a contested hearing, by checking the appropriate box on the back of the citation. If you request a mitigation hearing, you are admitting that you committed the offense, but wish to offer an explanation or "mitigating" circumstances that a judge might consider to reduce your penalty. If you request a contested hearing, you are denying that you committed the offense, or claiming a legal defense.

IMPORTANT: If you appear in person for a contested hearing, you may subpoena witnesses and you may appeal the judge’s decision to Superior Court. If you submit your case by written statement, you are waiving those rights.

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Complete the Written Statement Your Hearing

When the Court receives your hearing request, you will be assigned a court date and time; however, an Adjudication by Mail form will be enclosed with your hearing notice. Write your explanation on the form and deliver, fax, or mail it to the Court at the address provided on the form, along with any other supporting documents (photographs, proofs of insurance or disabled placard, parking receipts, witness statements, etc.). Don't wait until the last minute to submit your written statement! Your written statement must be received by the Court at least three calendar days before your hearing date.

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A judge will review your written explanation and other documents, make a finding, and impose a fine or other sanction as appropriate. You will receive a letter notifying you of the judge’s finding and sentence. The judge’s decision will be final; you cannot appeal the decision. (Washington Infraction Rules for Courts of Limited Jurisdiction, Rule 3.5(a)(4).) Requests to reconsider the decision will not be honored. If a fine is imposed, you may pay by mail, in person, over the phone or on-line

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How to Pay Failure to Appear or Pay

If a fine is imposed, you may pay by mail, in person, over the phone or on-line.

Click here to pay online (there is a $4.00 convenience fee to use this service)      

Click here for payment locations.

Mail your payment to:

Municipal Court of Seattle
Seattle Justice Center
600 Fifth Avenue
PO BOX 34987
Seattle, WA 98124-4987

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Failure to appear at your hearing (if you did not send your written statement in time to be accepted) will result in a finding that you committed the violation(s) charged, and an additional default penalty will be added. Failure to appear and/or failure to pay assessed fines and penalties may result in suspension of your driver’s license, suspension of your vehicle registration, and referral of your fines to a collection agency.

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Municipal Court of Seattle, 600 Fifth Avenue, Seattle, WA 98104-1900    Directions to the Court
Hours: M-F 8-5    Court Contact: (206) 684-5600 or Customer Service    

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