Traffic ticket refunds

Last update July 26, 2010

On June 30, 2010, through our city and county government partners, DOL became aware that the state’s Model Traffic Ordinance (MTO) had not been updated to reflect the limited number new traffic laws created since 2004. The MTO is a traffic law rulebook that cities and counties can adopt to easily be consistent with state traffic laws. DOL is responsible for updating these set of rules as new laws emerge.

This issue does not affect citations issued by the Washington State Patrol, other state police agencies and a limited number of city and county governments. It also does not affect any cell phone-related tickets issued on or after July 1, 2010, or those for any other affected laws after July 19, 2010, when all updates to the MTO were completed.

Individuals who received a citation for a cell phone-related violation issued between June, 2008 and  July 1, 2010, or another of the affected violations since July 2007, may be eligible for a refund of their fine. Because circumstances and local ordinances in each city and county vary, each jurisdiction will develop their own process for identifying invalid citations and issuing refunds when appropriate.

DOL will reimburse local jurisdictions for the amount of each fine refunded. The agency will again be in touch with cities and counties this week to ensure that local governments are aware and understand this issue, the type of citations affected and DOL’s reimbursement plans. Claims must be submitted within three years of the date the fine was paid.

If you believe you may be eligible for a refund of a fine paid for a cell phone or other citation you received (see below), contact the court that it was issued out of. The court is listed on the citation.

Jurisdictions not affected:
The agency is still compliling a list of cities not affected. For the most up-to-date information, contact the court that your citation was issued out of.

Washington State Patrol and other state police agencies (regardless where issued)
Battle Ground
Lakewood Municipal Court
Mercer Island
Mill Creek
Adams County
Yakima County District Court*
Snohomish County
Thurston County
Lewis County District Court
Mason County
Skagit County
Cowlitz County District Court
Walla Walla County District Court
Spokane County District Court
Spokane Municipal prior to 1/1/2009
Whatcom County District Court
Grant County

*= specific conditions apply

Affected traffic laws:
Most of these traffic laws are rarely-cited offenses. Click on the RCW for specific information.

  • RCW 46.09.050:  Off Road Vehicles exempted from ORV use permits and tags.
  • RCW 46.09.115:  ORV—Authorized and prohibited uses.
  • RCW 46.09.117:  ORV—Operation by persons under thirteen.
  • RCW 46.37.395:  Equipment—Compression brakes (Jake brakes).
  • RCW 46.37.670:  Equipment—Signal preemption devices—Prohibited—Exceptions.
  • RCW 46.37.671:  Equipment—Signal preemption device—Possession.
  • RCW 46.37.672:  Equipment—Signal preemption device—Use, sale, purchase.
  • RCW 46.37.673:  Equipment—Signal preemption device—Accident—Property damage or less than substantial bodily harm
  • RCW 46.37.674:  Equipment—Signal preemption device—Accident—Substantial bodily harm.
  • RCW 46.37.675:  Equipment—Signal preemption device—Accident—Death.
  • RCW 46.37.680:  Equipment—Sound system attachment.
  • RCW 46.44.013:  Appurtenances on recreational vehicles.
  • RCW 46.61.212:  Approaching stationary emergency vehicles, tow trucks, and police vehicles.
  • RCW 46.61.667:  Using a wireless communications device while driving.
  • RCW 46.61.668:  Sending, reading, or writing a text message while driving.
  • RCW 46.61.723:  Medium-speed electric vehicles.
  • RCW 46.61.735:  Ferry queues—Violations—Exemptions.
  • RCW 46.63.073:  Rental vehicles

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