Lower Kittitas County District Court

Infractions

The information contained here is intended to address frequently asked questions. It is not comprehensive and should not be construed as legal advice. Those in need of legal advice should consult an attorney.

If you received a green copy of a ticket from a police officer or a white ticket with "INFRACTION" printed in the top margin, it is a non-criminal offense that cannot be punished by a jail sentence. You must however, respond within fifteen (15) days from the date issued. A mailed response must be postmarked no later than midnight on the day the response is due.

How do I respond to a notice of infraction?

To respond, you must check one of the boxes on the green or white copy you received and return the form to the court listed on the front. View the options listed on your notice of infraction. You must respond within fifteen (15) days from the date issued. A mailed response must be postmarked no later than midnight on the day the response is due at the court.

Payment by mail must be by check or money order (do not send cash) and must have the defendant's full name and citation number on the face of the check or money order. Checks or money orders must be made payable to the Lower Kittitas County District Court.

What happens if I do not respond to a notice of infraction or if I fail to appear for a scheduled infraction hearing?

If your failure to respond or appear is for traffic infraction, this will happen:

  • The court will find that you committed the infraction.
  • You may lose your driver's license or privilege to drive.
  • Your penalty will be increased.
  • Also, if you don't pay, your case may be sent to a collection agency.

If your failure to respond or appear is for a non-traffic infraction, this will happen:

  • The court will find that you committed the infraction.
  • Your penalty may be increased.
  • Also, if you don't pay, your case may be sent to a collection agency.

May I pay by telephone with a credit card?

Yes, you may use your credit card to pay a penalty by telephone if you are paying within 15 days of the date that the ticket was issued to you or within 60 days of when a time payment plan was issued to you. To make a payment by telephone, call 877-793-8935 (fees will apply). You will need to have your complete case number available including the issuing agency (the three letters following the number) and the dollar amount owing. If you are late in making a payment, your case may have been referred to our collection agency. You can find out your case(s)' collection status by calling our office at 509-962-7511. If your case has been referred to a collection company, court staff will direct you on how to make payment.

May I pay online with a credit card?

Yes, you may use your credit card to make a payment online at http://www.lowerkittitastix.com (fees will apply) if you are paying within 15 days of the date that the ticket was issued to you or within 60 days of when a time payment plan was issued to you. You will need to have your complete case number available including the issuing agency (the three letters following the number) and the dollar amount owing. If you are late in making a payment, your case may have been referred to our collection agency. You can find out your case(s)' collection status by calling our office at 509-962-7511. If your case has been referred to a collection company, court staff will direct you on how to make payment.

May I have a time payment agreement?

This depends on whether the status of your case still qualifies for a time payment agreement. You may find this out by calling our office at 509-962-7511.

If your case qualifies for time payments, upon your request the clerk will either mail you a time payment agreement or will allow you to print your own by clicking on the attached link below. If you print your own, the clerk will need to give you a set-up deadline and the balance owing to write on your application prior to submission.

The court has two methods for monitoring payments; 1) the court will give you a deadline date to pay the account in full to be paid directly to the court or 2) if you are unable to pay the full balance directly to the court by the deadline, then you will need to apply for an extended time payment plan with Court Payment Management Services (CPMS).To apply for the extended time payment plan option, you will need to contact CPMS at 1-877-748-4936 to speak with a representative to discuss your minimum payment amount, payment due date, and other requirements of the payment plan. Upon mailing CPMS your completed application, payment plan agreement, set up fee, and first minimum payment, you should later confirm that you have a valid contract by speaking to a CPMS representative to ensure proper court notification.

If you do not comply with either the court or CPMS payment requirements, then in most instances, your case will be referred to collection. If the case is traffic related then your failure to pay will be reported to the Department of Licensing, a $52 late fee may be added to the balance owing, and your driving privilege may be suspended.

CPMS Time Payment Application

How can I keep a traffic infraction off my driving record?

A traffic infraction can be kept off of your Department of Licensing driving record if the court allows a deferred finding.

The Lower Kittitas County District Court does, in appropriate cases, defer findings in traffic infraction cases. If you would like the court to consider a deferred finding in your case, you may make your request at the time of your hearing or complete a form to request a deferred finding by mail. If you qualify for a deferred finding, the court will prepare a deferred finding order and mail the form to you for your signature. A deferred finding request by mail must be received by the court no later than seven (7) days prior to the date set for your hearing.

The essential features of the deferred findings program in the Lower District Court are as follows:

  • The court defers the entry of a finding of "committed" for a period of one year. This means that the infraction does not appear on a Department of Licensing driving record.
  • A "deferred finding" infraction is dismissed at the end of the one-year period if the defendant:
    • Does not commit any traffic infractions or criminal traffic offenses during this one-year period;
    • Pays an administrative fee (court costs) of $175, and;
    • Completes a traffic safety course lasting at least four hours.
  • Should the defendant fail to comply with the conditions of the court's order, the court will find the infraction committed and will impose the entire penalty stated on the Notice of Infraction. Any administrative fee paid (or owed) will not be applied as a credit towards the penalty imposed by the court.
  • If any traffic infractions or criminal traffic offenses are pending at the end of the one-year period, the court will defer the review until the traffic infraction or criminal traffic offense has been resolved. Any traffic infraction or criminal traffic offense charged within one year from the date of the deferred finding order will be deemed committed unless the charge is resolved by an unconditional dismissal, a "not guilty" verdict, or a finding of "not committed*."
    • *"Committed" is defined as including any traffic infraction or criminal traffic offense resolved by a stay of proceedings, a stipulated order of continuance, or any other agreement which consists of a continuance with conditions, even if the ultimate disposition of the traffic infraction is a dismissal, amendment of charge, or finding of "not committed."
  • A defendant is entitled to only one deferral of infraction for a moving traffic violation in a seven-year period and one deferral of infraction for a non-moving traffic violation in a seven-year period. Commercial drivers (those who have a CDL) are not eligible for deferred findings.

May I have a hearing by mail?

Yes, you may have a mitigation or contested hearing by mail. At the time you request a mitigation or contested hearing and up until 7 days PRIOR to the scheduled hearing date, you have the option of a mitigation or contested hearing by mail. If you decided to proceed with a hearing by mail, you will not be required to appear in court although you will receive a hearing notice. The court must receive your written statements at least 7 days PRIOR to the scheduled hearing date.

Mitigation Hearing by Mail form
Contested Hearing by Mail form

The court will review your statement and reports submitted by the citing officer and render a decision. That decision will be mailed to you. In the case of a mitigation hearing, the infraction is found committed, a monetary penalty will be determined, and if you have committed a traffic infraction, the finding will be reported to the Department of Licensing. In the case of a contested hearing, if the court finds that the infraction has been committed it will impose a monetary penalty and, if you have committed a traffic infraction, the finding will be reported to the Department of Licensing. The penalty will be based on the facts of the case and your driving record. You must agree to pay the court-ordered penalty within the specified time ordered by the judge. You will be notified by mail of the judge's decision. There is NO right to appeal the judge's decision.

If the court does not receive your statement and you fail to appear for the hearing, the infraction will automatically be found committed and (for a traffic infraction) a $52 default penalty will be added. Your failure to appear or pay the fine and assessed penalty will be reported to the Department of Licensing (DOL), and your license may be suspended by the Department of Licensing. In addition, your unpaid fine and penalty will be sent to a collection agency where you will also be charged collection fees.

May I have an electronic hearing or email hearing?

Yes, you may have a mitigation or contested hearing by email. At the time you request a mitigation or contested hearing and up until 7 days PRIOR to the scheduled hearing date, you have the option of a mitigation or contested hearing by email. If you decided to proceed with a hearing by email, you will not be required to appear in court although you will receive a hearing notice.

Electronic Mitigation/Contested Hearing

The court will review your statement and reports submitted by the citing officer and render a decision. That decision will be emailed to you. In the case of a mitigation hearing, the infraction is found committed, a monetary penalty will be determined, and if you have committed a traffic infraction, the finding will be reported to the Department of Licensing. In the case of a contested hearing, if the court finds that the infraction has been committed it will impose a monetary penalty and, if you have committed a traffic infraction, the finding will be reported to the Department of Licensing. The penalty will be based on the facts of the case and your driving record. You must agree to pay the court-ordered penalty within the specified time ordered by the judge. You will be notified by email of the judge's decision. There is NO right to appeal the judge's decision.

If the court does not receive your statement and you fail to appear for the hearing, the infraction will automatically be found committed and (for a traffic infraction) a $52 default penalty will be added. Your failure to appear or pay the fine and assessed penalty will be reported to the Department of Licensing (DOL), and your license may be suspended by the Department of Licensing. In addition, your unpaid fine and penalty will be sent to a collection agency where you will also be charged collection fees.

May I still have a hearing if I failed to respond within 15 days or if I failed to appear at a scheduled hearing?

Usually, the answer to this question is "no." In most cases, if you failed to respond to a notice of infraction within 15 days or you failed to appear at a scheduled hearing, your only option is to pay the penalty imposed by the court. However, there are occasionally reasons compelling enough for the court to excuse your failure to respond to a notice of infraction or appear for a hearing.

If you did not respond to a notice of infraction within 15 days, or you did respond but did not appear for your court hearing, you may ask the court to set aside its "committed" judgment for good cause and set your case for a hearing. To ask the court to set aside the judgment in your case, you must use the court's form captioned Request to Vacate Infraction Judgment & Set Case for Hearing. This form must be mailed or otherwise delivered to the Lower Kittitas County District Court. A judge will review your request, and you will be notified by mail of the judge's decision. If the judge determines that your failure to respond or appear for a scheduled hearing should be excused, you will be notified of the date and time for your court hearing.

Forms to Download