I got a speeding ticket in the state of Washington about 3 months ago. I was going about 90 mph in a 65 mph zone but the policeman didn't get me with a radar gun. In Washington, you have 3 choices to respond to a ticket.
- Plead guilty
- Plead guilty with mitigating circumstances
- Plead not-guilty
I chose to plead guilty with mitigating circumstances. I wasn't exactly sure what circumstances were mitigating but I thought I'd go for it -- the ticket after all was north of $400. I figured I'd get a penalty reduction just for showing up and thought it would be an interesting experience.
This morning I went to court (which was an awesome educational experience but more on that later). It turns out that there is a fourth option in the state of Washington -- you can ask for a 1 year deferment once every seven years if your driving record is relatively clean. I opted for and requested this deferment option. The judge took her time and looked at my driving record. Ultimately, she told me I need to slow down (which I do) ....I'm usually an 80mph driver....and then granted me a deferment. Now, I need to keep a clean driving record for 1 year from today. If I'm successful at keeping a clean record then this infraction is dismissed and never goes on my record nor to my insurance. If I do have another traffic infraction during this time, then this deferred transaction comes back and I need to pay it. I thought that it was a pretty good trade off. I give myself 65% odds of keeping a totally clean traffic record over the next year. I'd give myself more but you know the saying..."You can drive out of Boston, but you can't take the Boston out of the driver."