Frequently Asked Questions

A: To contest a ticket means that you deny that you committed the infraction and would like to challenge the ticket in court.

A: To mitigate a ticket means that you admit to committing the violation, however, you want to explain the circumstances or offer additional information.

A: A contested hearing is a formal court hearing (trial) set before a judge in a courtroom. Once you request a contested hearing, the court will schedule you for a contested pre-hearing settlement conference. This is an informal hearing in an office with a magistrate. The goal of the pre-hearing conference is to reach a resolution without the formality and expense of a contested hearing (trial). You may waive the pre-hearing settlement conference by submitting the Waiver of Pre-Hearing form that you received with your hearing notice. For contested hearings, you may hire a private attorney to argue your case for you or you may represent yourself.  You may also subpoena witnesses or the issuing officer. You may also submit a written statement using the forms sent to you, instead of appearing in person at your contested hearing.

A: A mitigation hearing is where you admit you have committed the infraction, but you want to explain the circumstances to a magistrate. If you schedule a mitigation hearing, you cannot appeal the magistrate's decision after your hearing. Once a hearing is set, you may submit a written statement using the forms sent to you, instead of appearing in person at your hearing.

A: One response to a ticket is to request a contested hearing. For contested hearings, the court will schedule you for a contested pre-hearing settlement conference. This is an informal hearing in an office with a magistrate. The goal of the pre-hearing conference is to reach a resolution without the formality and expense of a contested hearing (trial). You may not request witnesses or that an officer attend a pre-hearing settlement conference. You may waive the pre-hearing settlement conference by submitting the Waiver of Pre-Hearing form that you received with your hearing notice.

A: If you are unable to pay a ticket or fine in full, you may request a time payment plan from the court. A $10 administration fee will be added and included in the plan. Minimum monthly payments are $50 unless you are receiving government financial assistance, in which case you may be eligible for lower monthly payments or to perform community service in lieu of payment. Contact the court at (206) 684-5600 for more information.

A: Parking tickets do not impact a person's driving record. Unpaid parking citations will impact your ability to renew the yearly license tab registration of the ticketed vehicle.

A: You can check the status of your driver license online at the Washington Department of Licensing or contact their customer service at (360) 902-3900.

You can check the status of your vehicle tabs by contacting DOL and providing your license plate number at (360) 902-3770. DOL will provide you with a list of the parking citations and associated courts that are keeping you from renewing your registration.

A: For contested hearings, you may subpoena witnesses including the officer who issued your traffic, camera or parking citation. Witnesses, including officers, cannot be subpoenaed for pre-hearing settlement conferences or mitigation hearings. 

A: If you have lost or misplaced your ticket, you may look up the citation number using your vehicle plate number and the issuing state on the Seattle Municipal Court Portal using the Vehicle Search option. 

You may also locate traffic infraction by using your first name, last name and date of birth under the Defendant Search option.