District Court

Trial By Mail

HEARING BY MAIL RULES

Introduction

This form, and these rules, apply in those circumstances where you choose to have your infraction case resolved by mail or by online form, rather than appearing personally in the courtroom.

Do not use this form if you intend to appear personally in court.

You are required to file a response to a notice of infraction within 15 days of issuance. The notice of infraction provides three options for a response: (1) payment; (2) mitigation hearing; or (3) contested hearing. If you request either a mitigation hearing or a contested hearing, you will be given a court date. (If you fail to file a timely response, but submit this form within the 15 day period, we will consider the form to be your response and decide the case without assigning a court date.)

You may request either a hearing to mitigate (explain the circumstances) OR a hearing to contest your traffic infraction by mail. Please note: Except in the case of a deferred finding, your case cannot be dismissed if you request a mitigation hearing. Note also: Normally, if a finding of committed is entered at a contested hearing, the penalty will not be reduced.

Mitigation/Contested Hearing by Mail

Instead of appearing in court on the date and time scheduled on your hearing notice, you have been given the option of a mitigation or contested "hearing" by mail. You must complete the Defendant's Statement and Declaration below and submit it to the court prior to the scheduled hearing as noted on your hearing notice. An actual hearing will not take place as you have requested this be handled through the mail. Please note: If there is more than one violation set forth on the notice of infraction and you contest one, or some, but not all of them, you should request a contested infraction hearing and clearly identify in your statement those violations that you admit. Note also: if you were charged with No Proof of Insurance under RCW 46.30.020, AND you have proof that you were properly insured on the date and at the time of the violation, please include a copy of that proof along with your declaration. If you fail to file this declaration and statement prior to the hearing date, the infraction will be found committed, a $52 default penalty will be added, and the finding will be reported to the Department of Licensing. Unpaid fines may also result in a referral to a collection agency and suspension of your privilege to drive.

The court will review your declaration and the police officer's sworn statement and render a decision. Any finding will be reported to the Department of Licensing. Any penalty imposed will be based on the facts of the case and your driving record. You agree to pay the court-ordered penalty within the specified time ordered by the Judge. There is no right to appeal. Because payment cannot be made immediately, if a penalty is imposed there will also be added a "time pay fee" of $10.00. You will be notified by mail of the Judge's decision.

Optional: Petition for Deferred Finding

You may also use the trial by mail process to petition for a deferred finding. A deferred finding may be granted, in the discretion of the court, if you are legally eligible. If you petition for a deferred finding, that request will be determined first by the court. If the petition is denied, the court will then proceed to either a mitigation hearing or contested hearing according to your request. No further hearing will be conducted if the deferred finding is granted. Because the deferred finding may not be granted, be sure to complete the statement whether or not you petition for a deferred finding.

The Court must receive your declaration PRIOR to the scheduled hearing date.

If, after reading this information, you wish to proceed with an infraction hearing by mail, select "I AGREE" and fill out the online form.
If, on the other hand, you decide you wish to personally appear at a hearing, simply appear at the court on the date and time scheduled on your hearing notice.

Declarations, which are not received prior to the scheduled hearing date, will not be considered.

If the court does not receive your declaration by the hearing date, or payment in full, a $52 default penalty will be added and the finding of "committed" will be reported to the Department of Licensing. Unpaid fines may also result in a referral to a collection agency and suspension of your privilege to drive.

By selecting "I Agree" below you state that you understand the above rules and requirements and want to submit your information online.

 

Skagit County District Court
600 S. Third, PO Box 340
Mount Vernon, WA 98273-0340