Seattle, WA asked in Criminal Law and Traffic Tickets for Washington

Q: How do I get my case dismissed?

I got a ticket for dws. I wasnt driving. Car wasnt running. And no keys in the ignition. Parked in a parking lot at a gas station. Wasnt even my car. So I went to court on the date the ticket told me to. Which was 2 weeks from the date I got the ticket. I wasnt on the docket. I asked the court clerks. And they put me on the docket anyways. I went in front of the judge and they had no police report or probable cause. Apparently the deputy never uploaded the ticket into the system and he had since been put on administrative leave. So the judge set a new court date for 2 more weeks later. I went to that court date. And still no police report. Or probable cause. Nothing. Even after they tried to obtain the info between hearings. So the judge the gives me another court date for 7 weeks later. To give them more time to get the paperwork they need. Now isn't that illegal? And dont they need to throw it out of court or dismiss charges? How can they keep making me go to court. With no evidence

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1 Lawyer Answer
James Laukkonen
James Laukkonen
  • Criminal Law Lawyer
  • Olympia, WA
  • Licensed in Washington

A: There are a couple items that jump out at me here. The first is that driving while your license is suspended is not just a ticket. It is a criminal offense. It isn't a very serious offense, but it is still a criminal charge. I know the form that they wrote it up on looks just like a traffic ticket, but it is a criminal citation. That means that the state has 90 days from the date of your arraignment to bring your case to trial. If you were arraigned at the first hearing (if you entered a plea of "not guilty"), then your 90 days are running. The rule is not absolute, there are a bunch of things that can waive the rule or extend it. Without any sort of report, the prosecutor is going to have a very hard time proving the charge. You might have some defenses to the charge (or might not - I haven't read the report that apparently might not exist). Without probable cause though, about all that the judge can do is set new court dates with no conditions. It is not automatically dismissed due to the missing report, but that missing report could result in it being dismissed eventually. If you do not have an attorney, you should really get one to protect your rights and make sure the court does the right thing. If you cannot afford an attorney, you might be eligible for one at no cost to you through the court. Some courts require probable cause before they will appoint an attorney.

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