If you request a mitigation hearing to explain the circumstances surrounding the commission of this infraction, you must admit that you committed the infraction.
Important items to note about mitigation hearings include:
- An Informal Proceeding - A mitigation hearing is an informal proceeding. You may bring a lawyer at your own expense. You may ask witnesses to attend the mitigation hearing, but they cannot be subpoenaed and required to appear.
- Possible Resulting Actions - You can be required to pay a monetary penalty. Suspension, revocation, or denial of your driver's license may also result from your having committed this infraction.
- On Appeal - You may not appeal the court's determination or order.
Mitigation by Mail
If you prefer, you may write a letter explaining the circumstances surrounding the infraction, rather than appear in person. You may either email the letter to Court or mail it to:
Columbia County District Court
341 E Main Street Suite 4
Dayton, WA 99328
You may request a contested hearing if you do not believe you have committed the infraction.
Suggested research includes reviewing the Washington State Court's Infraction Rules for Courts of Limited Jurisdiction.
As a defendant you are entitled to the following:
- The right to be represented by a lawyer at your own expense
- The right to present evidence and examine witnesses in court
- The right to subpoena witnesses, including the officer who issued the Notice. Witnesses should be served at least seven (7) days before the hearing. Please click on the following link for form. Subpoena (PDF)
- Heard Before Court Without a Jury - The contested hearing will be heard before the court without a jury. The state must prove by a preponderance of the evidence that you did commit the infraction. After consideration of the evidence, the court will determine whether you did or did not commit the infraction.
- Possible Resulting Actions - If the court determines that you did commit the infraction, you may be required to pay a monetary penalty.
- On Appeal - You may appeal the court's decision that you did commit the infraction.
QUALIFICATIONS FOR A DEFERRED FINDING
RCW 46.63.070(5)(a) Except as provided in (b), (c), and (d) of this subsection, in hearings conducted pursuant to subsections (3) and (4) of this section, the court may defer findings, or in a hearing to explain mitigating circumstances may defer entry of its order, for up to one year and impose conditions upon the defendant the court deems appropriate. Upon deferring findings, the court may assess costs as the court deems appropriate for administrative processing. If at the end of the deferral period the defendant has met all conditions and has not been determined to have committed another traffic infraction, the court may dismiss the infraction.
(b) A person may not receive more than one deferral within a seven-year period for traffic infractions for moving violations and more than one deferral within a seven-year period for traffic infractions for non-moving violations.
(c) A person who is the holder of a commercial driver's license or who was operating a commercial motor vehicle at the time of the violation may not receive a deferral under this section.
(d) A person who commits negligent driving in the second degree with a vulnerable user victim may not receive a deferral for this infraction under this section.
The Court does not allow deferrals for the following infractions:
- Any infraction where a fatality occurred
- No insurance violations
- No Valid Operator's License with ID
- Passing a school bus
- Speeding in a construction zone
- Speeding in a school zone
Please submit completed Deferred Finding form along with a check in the amount of $150.00 payable to Columbia County District Court. Please click on following link for form. Deferred Finding (DOCX)
**OUT OF STATE LICENSE: Within 30 days after the end of the six (6) month or one (1) year deferral period, the defendant shall obtain and furnish to the Court a certified copy of the defendant's driving record from the defendant's licensing state prior to granting the dismissal.**
Failure to Comply with an Infraction Notice
Failure to respond within 15 days, appear at any hearing, or pay will automatically increase the monetary penalty, and your driving privilege may be suspended until you have paid all the penalties required by law.