16.230 - Issuing Tickets and Traffic Contact Reports

Effective Date: 12/01/2015

16.230-POL

This policy applies when officers address traffic or non-traffic infractions and/or criminal traffic offenses.

1. Defining the Types of Tickets:

Criminal Citation - Used to enforce criminal traffic offenses as defined in Seattle Municipal Code (SMC) Title 11; Revised Code of Washington (RCW) Title 46 traffic crimes; and SMC Title 16 Harbor Codes.

- Allows officers to release a violator pending filing of criminal charges

- Issued if the offense occurs in the officer’s presence or if the officer has probable cause to believe that the violator committed a crime listed as an exception under RCW 10.31.100

Notice of Infraction (NOI) - Used to enforce non-criminal offenses designated as civil infractions. These include, but are not limited to, traffic and non-traffic violations as defined in the Seattle Municipal Code (SMC) and the Revised Code of Washington (RCW).

- Issued if the offense occurs in the officer’s presence or issued as an exception under SMC 11.31.020 or RCW 46.63.030

Parking Infraction - Used to enforce SMC parking violations.

- Only issued if the offense occurs in the officer’s presence

Traffic Contact Report (TCR) - Used to provide a written warning for traffic infractions.

- Not used when an infraction must be written, e.g. traffic collision

- Not used for Terry stops on a vehicle

- Not used for traffic stops conducted by an officer working off-duty for a non-SPD employer

2. Officers Identify Themselves During all Detentions

This will occur as early in the contact as is safe to do so pursuant to requirements in 6.220 –Voluntary Contacts, Terry Stops, and Detentions.

3. Officers Document All Traffic Stops

Document traffic stops by using:

- A NOI for civil infractions

- A Criminal Citation for criminal traffic offenses

- A TCR for traffic infraction warning(s)

4. Officers Shall Complete All Fields on the Front and Back of the Court Copy of the Paper Ticket

Officers will write “not applicable” or draw a line through any field that they are otherwise unable to complete.

Officers will write “unknown” in the address field when they are unable to determine a current address for the violator.

If the violator does not have a valid driver’s license, to include only possessing an identification card, they will write “none” in the operator’s license number field.

5. SECTOR-Trained Officers Issue E-Tickets For Infractions, As Appropriate

See 15.380 - Sector

Officers shall not use SECTOR to issue or refer Criminal Citations.

When issuing an e-ticket for speeding, officers must write the following information in the “Officer’s Notes” section:

- The defendant’s speed

- The posted speed

- How the speed was determined (SMD, Pace, or Aircraft)

- Distance

- SMC 11.52.040

If a violator is booked into jail during an investigation related to the ticket, officers must still complete paper tickets and utilize the delayed issuance procedure below.

See 16.230-TSK-2 Issuing completed E-Tickets.

6. Officers Complete and Submit Tickets and TCRs by the End of Their Shift

See 16.230-TSK-1 Issuing Completed Tickets

7. Officers Cite Traffic and Non-Traffic Offenses on Separate Tickets

8. A General Offense Number is Required on Tickets in Certain Circumstances

Criminal Citations and/or NOIs must have a General Offense number when completed or issued in association with:

- A General Offense Report, Collision Report or Vehicle Report

- A criminal or traffic misdemeanor case

- Evidence submittal

9. Sergeants Must Approve Paper Criminal Citations and Notice of Infractions

Sergeants will verify that all information from the stop is documented on the court copy of the ticket, including but not limited to:

All fields on the front of the ticket are completed.  A narrative, including whether or not in car video exists for the stop.

10. Officers Shall Not Serve Completed Tickets to Violators Booked into Jail

See 16.230-TSK-3 Completing Tickets for Violators Booked into Jail

11. Officers Need Not Serve a Ticket on the Violator in Certain Circumstances

The delayed issuance of a ticket occurs when:

- A Criminal Citation is referred to the Law Department for review

- A NOI is sent to the court for mailing to the violator

See 16.230-TSK-4 Utilizing Delayed Issuance of Tickets

12. Officers Submit Tickets to the Evidence Unit That Are Evidence in a Crime

See 16.230-TSK-5 Submitting Tickets to the Evidence Unit

13. Officers May Detain a Violating Driver for a Reasonable Period of Time

Officers may use a mobile identification device as appropriate and in accordance with Manual Section 15.360. If the officer cannot determine the violator’s identity at the scene, they may take the violator to the SPD Ten Print Identification Unit.

Exception: Juveniles shall only be fingerprinted for gross misdemeanor and felony offenses (Refer to Seattle Police Manual Section 6.290-Juvenile Investigations & Arrests).

See 16.230-PRO-1 Utilizing the SPD Ten Print Identification Unit

14. Officers May Issue Notices of Infraction to Juveniles aged 16 and 17

Officers must include parental information and disposition of the juvenile in the court copy narrative.  

Officers shall use a General Offense Report to request criminal charges on a juvenile and/or to have a juvenile under the age of 16 charged with an infraction.

15. Officers Issuing Traffic Violations to Bicyclists Cite SMC 11.44.020 “Rights and Duties of Rider”

See 16.230-TSK-6 Issuing Tickets to Bicyclists

16. Officers Place Completed Parking Infractions on the Offending Vehicle

Write a narrative with the element(s) of the offense on the court’s copy.

- A diagram is optional

Officers must complete a Washington State Tow/Impound Record if the vehicle is to be impounded. See 6.120 Impounding Vehicles.

16.230-PRO-1 Utilizing the SPD Ten Print Identification Unit to Identify a Traffic Violator

Officer

1. Contacts their sergeant to request the violator be fingerprinted.

Sergeant

2. Confirms the request meets the authority to detain and identify a person as outlined in SMC 11.59.090, SMC 12A.02.140 and/or RCW 7.80.060.

3. Authorizes the officer to transport the violator to the Ten Print Identification Unit.

Officer

4. Transports the violator to SPD Headquarters 5th floor to the Ten Print Identification Unit.

If there are questions or concerns, contacts the Ten Print Identification Unit (available 24/7) at 206-684-5514 prior to transport.

5. Stands by with the violator while they are being fingerprinted.

6. Provides the ID technician with the General Offense number.

7. Takes appropriate enforcement action once the violator is identified.

8. Completes a General Offense Report documenting the fingerprint procedure and its result (Refer to Seattle Police Manual Section 6.010 -  Arrests).

16.230–TSK-1 Issuing Completed Paper Tickets

When an officer elects to issue a paper ticket to an adult or eligible juvenile (see 16.230.14), the officer:

1. Completes the ticket(s) or TCR.

2. Corrects any error(s) made on the ticket by crossing it out and initialing it.

3. Marks the “Served on Violator” box.

4. Enters the date issued.

For Criminal Citations, also Marks the “Mandatory Court Appearance” box but does not enter an appearance date unless the offense is for misdemeanor DUI, in which case refer to Seattle Police Manual Section 15.280-DUI Investigations.

5. Serves the violator with the “Defendant Copy” of the ticket or TCR.

6. Includes on the first line of the ticket’s narrative if the stop or contact was recorded by the In-Car Video system.

7. Writes the element(s) of the offense(s) in the ticket’s narrative.

8. Enters the “Related #” on each companion ticket, if applicable.

9. Enters the General Offense number on each ticket, if applicable.

10. Retains the ticket’s Law Enforcement Agency (LEA) copy or TCR’s officer copy.

11. Paper-clips together all related tickets and reports, if applicable.

12. Submits all tickets to a sergeant for review.

16.230–TSK-2 Issuing Completed E-Tickets

When an officer elects to issue an e-ticket to an adult or eligible juvenile (see 16.230.14), the officer:

1. Completes the ticket(s).

2. Corrects any error(s) made on the ticket by editing the ticket in the SECTOR interface.

3. Enters the date issued.

4. Serves the violator with the printed SECTOR copy of the ticket.

5. Includes on the first line of the ticket’s narrative if the stop or contact was recorded by the In-Car Video system.

6. Writes the element(s) of the offense(s) in the ticket’s narrative.

7. Enters the “Related #” on each companion ticket narrative, if applicable.

8. Enters the General Offense number on each ticket narrative, if applicable.

9. Submits all tickets through SECTOR.

16.230–TSK-3 Completing Tickets for Violators Booked into Jail

When completing ticket(s) for violators who are booked into jail, the officer:

1. For Criminal Citations:

Writes “Book Direct” in the blank box next to the completed Criminal Citation’s bar code if the violator is booked into jail.

Exception: If the violator is booked for felony DUI or a potential felony traffic investigation, then the officer does not complete any tickets.

Marks the “Referred to Prosecutor” box.

Leaves the “Appearance Date” box blank.

2. For NOIs:

Marks the “Referred to Prosecutor Infraction Companion to Crime” box.

Exception: If the violator is booked for felony DUI or a potential felony traffic investigation, then the officer does not complete any tickets.

3. Does not issue the violator their copy of the ticket(s).

4. Leaves the “Date Issued” box on the tickets blank.

5. Writes the General Offense number on each ticket.

6. Writes the “Related #” on each ticket, if applicable.

7. Completes the ticket’s narrative.

Includes on the first line of the narrative if the stop or contact was recorded by the In-Car Video system

8. Retains the LEA copy of the completed ticket(s).

9. Paper-clips together all related ticket(s) and reports.

10. Forwards the ticket(s) and related reports to their sergeant for review.

11. Routes the ticket(s) and related reports to the Data Center in an Alert Packet.

16.230–TSK-4 Utilizing Delayed Issuance of Tickets

When utilizing delayed issuance of tickets for violators, the officer:

1. Does not issue the violator their copy of the completed ticket.

2. For Criminal Citations:

Marks the “Referred to Prosecutor” box.

Does not enter the date when referred to the Prosecutor.

3. For NOIs:

Marks the “Sent to Court for Mailing” box.

Enters the date when referred to the court for mailing in the “Date Issued” box.

4. Enters related ticket numbers and the General Offense number on each ticket, if applicable.

5. Completes the ticket’s narrative including the elements of the offense(s).

Includes on the first line of the ticket’s narrative if the stop or contact was recorded by the In-Car Video system.

6. Retains the LEA copy of the completed tickets.

7. Paper-clips together all related tickets and related reports, if applicable.

8. If there is a Criminal Citation or NOI with a General Offense number and any related reports, submits the tickets and related reports to their sergeant for review.

9. Forwards together all tickets and any related reports to the Data Center.

16.230–TSK-5 Submitting Tickets to the Evidence Unit

When an issued ticket becomes evidence in a crime, the officer:

1. Photocopies the ticket.

2. Completes an SPD Voided Ticket Report.

Marks the “Other” box in justification field.

Lists in the “Explanation” section that the ticket was placed into evidence.

3. Retains the LEA copy of the ticket.

4. Packages and submits to the Evidence Unit the original ticket.

5. Includes the ticket’s number in the General Offense Report narrative.

6. Forwards the SPD Voided Ticket Report, photocopy of the ticket, and related reports to their sergeant for review prior to submittal to Data.

16.230–TSK-6 Issuing Tickets to Bicyclists

When completing a NOI to a bicyclist for a traffic violation, the officer:

1. Writes “bicycle” in the “Vehicle/Motor Vehicle” field.

2. CitesSMC 11.44.020 Rights and Duties of Rider” in the “Violation/Statute” field.

3. Writes the underlying traffic violation on the front of the NOI below the cited violation listed in #2.

4. Enters the current penalty amount.

This penalty amount also applies if the bicyclist is determined to be at fault in a collision.

5. Issues the NOI to the bicyclist.