Bought and Sold Vehicles

By Washington State law, the registered owner of a vehicle is presumed to be responsible for parking and traffic camera tickets issued to the vehicle. Filing a timely and complete Report of Sale when you sell a car releases you from responsibility for tickets issued to the vehicle after the sale date, but you are still the registered owner until the buyer titles and registers the vehicle.

As of January 2016, anyone who purchases a vehicle is issued new license plates when they register and title the vehicle. If you sell a vehicle and leave your license plates on it, and the buyer commits a traffic camera violation or doesn't pay a parking ticket before they register the vehicle, the violation or late notice will be sent to you because you are still the registered owner with the Department of Licensing.  

If you received a notice about a ticket issued to a vehicle that you sold:

If you received a traffic camera ticket, late notice, or collection agency letter about a parking or traffic camera ticket issued to a vehicle that you sold before the ticket was issued, contact the court at (206) 684-5600. A court clerk will check with the Department of Licensing, and if you filed a complete Report of Sale that says you sold the vehicle before the ticket was issued, they will assign responsibility for the ticket(s) to the buyer named in the Report of Sale. (A complete Report of Sale includes the buyer's name and address.)

If you did not file a complete Report of Sale before a ticket was issued:        

  • If you have a notarized Bill of Sale, for example from an auto dealer, fax it to the court at (206) 684-8726, along with the late notice or collection letter. If the Court accepts the Bill of Sale as proof that you sold the vehicle before the ticket was issued, a Court clerk will transfer responsibility to the buyer named in the Bill of Sale.
  • If you do not have a notarized bill of sale, you may pay the ticket or request a hearing to explain the circumstances and present evidence to a judge, who will determine whether you must pay the ticket(s) or not.
  • File a complete Report of Sale as soon as possible so it will be easier for the Court to transfer responsibility for future tickets.