16.230 - Issuing Tickets and Traffic Warnings

Effective Date: 08/01/21

16.230-POL

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

1. Employees May Use Discretion When Issuing Tickets

The department appropriately warns, cites, or arrests, traffic violators to gain compliance with traffic laws and to develop driver awareness of the causes of traffic accidents.

Rather than ignore a minor violation, officers may stop the vehicle and call the violation to the driver’s attention. Officers have discretion to issue a traffic warning to urge caution and alertness in the operation of the vehicle.

2. 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 Warning (electronic) – Entered into Mark 43 to document a 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

3. Officers Will 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.

4. Officers Will Document All Traffic Stops

Document traffic stops by using:

- A NOI for civil infractions

- A Criminal Citation for criminal traffic offenses

- A Traffic Warning in Mark 43 and giving the driver a business card with the officer’s name, serial number, and event number. See 16.230–TSK-7 Issuing a Traffic Warning

Before selecting “unknown” as an option for a form field, officers will make a reasonable effort to gather the necessary information.

If necessary, officers will use the perceived race, perceived ethnicity, perceived age, and perceived gender of the subject to complete the form.

5. Officers Will 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, officers will write “none” in the operator’s license number field.

6. 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.

7. Officers Complete and Submit Tickets and Traffic Warnings by the End of Their Shift

8. Employees Cite Different Types of Violations on Separate Tickets

When issuing tickets for different types of violations, employees will use separate tickets.

- Parking infractions cannot be on the same ticket with traffic or non-traffic infractions.

9. An Event Number is Required for All Traffic Warnings and on Tickets in Certain Circumstances

All Traffic Warnings must have an event number to be entered into Mark 43.

Criminal Citations and/or NOIs must have an event number when completed or issued in association with:

- A Report, Collision Report or Vehicle Report

- A criminal or traffic misdemeanor case

- Evidence submittal

10. Sergeants 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 in-car video exists for the stop.

11. Officers Will Not Serve Completed Tickets to Violators Booked into Jail

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

12. Officers May Delay-Issue Tickets 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

- An employee completes a citation and a driver removes the vehicle from the location before the employee can place the citation on the windshield

See 16.230-TSK-4 Using Delayed Issuance of Tickets

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

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

14. 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 (See manual section 6.290-Juvenile Investigations & Arrests).

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

15. 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 report to request criminal charges on a juvenile and/or to have a juvenile under the age of 16 charged with an infraction.

See also manual sections 6.150, 6.290, and SMC 3.28.147.

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

See 16.230-TSK-6 Issuing Tickets to Bicyclists

17. 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 his or her 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 Park 90/5 to the Ten Print Identification Unit.

- If there are questions or concerns, contacts the Ten Print Identification Unit (0730-1530 hrs) 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 event number.

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

8. Completes a report documenting the fingerprint procedure and the result (See 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 employee:

1. Completes the ticket(s).

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.

- Marks the “Mandatory Court Appearance” box for criminal citations, but does not enter an appearance date unless the offense is for misdemeanor DUI, in which case refer to manual section 15.280-DUI Investigations.

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

6. Includes on the first line of the ticket’s narrative if the stop or contact was recorded by the in-car or body-worn 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 Report number on each ticket, if applicable.

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

11. Paper clips all related tickets and reports together, 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 employee:

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 or body-worn 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 Report 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 employee:

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 Report 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 or body-worn video system

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

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

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 Email.

16.230–TSK-4 Using Delayed Issuance of Tickets

When using delayed issuance of a ticket, the employee:

1. For ‘drive away’ parking tickets:

Returns paper violator’s copy of Sector ticket (if applicable) to office/precinct for destruction.

Submits ticket or uploads digital copy of ticket as usual for processing.

2. 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.

3. For Criminal Citations:

Marks the “Referred to Prosecutor” box.

Does not enter the date when referred to the Prosecutor.

4. Enters related ticket numbers and the Report 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 or body-worn video system.

6. Retains the LEA copy of the completed tickets.

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

8. Submits the tickets and related reports to their sergeant for review if there is a Criminal Citation or NOI with a report number.

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

16.230–TSK-5 Submitting Tickets to the Evidence Unit

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

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 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 employee:

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

2. Cites “SMC 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

16.230–TSK-7 Issuing a Traffic Warning

When issuing a Traffic Warning, the employee:

1. Gives the driver a business card with the officer’s name, serial number, and event number.

2. Releases the driver.

3. Begins a new report in Mark 43.

4. Enters the event number for the stop.

5. Selects “Citation” as the type of report.

6. Completes the report fields, selecting “Traffic Warning” under the Citation Type field.

7. Submits report by end of shift.