Options to Responding to an Infraction
Infractions are usually traffic, parking, or other offenses such as wildlife and fisheries offenses, which are civil cases.
When you receive a ticket for an infraction, you must respond within 15 days of the date that the ticket was issued, or 18 days from the date it was mailed. Although an infraction is not a crime, failure to respond may result in suspension of your driving privileges, an additional assessment of $52 for failure to respond, and your case may be referred to a collection agency. Following are the options for responding to a ticket
Check 1 of 3 boxes located at the bottom right portion of the ticket:
- Pay the Fine: You are paying the fine as stated and understand that, if it is a traffic infraction, it will go on your Washington State driving record. You may pay by check or money order in US funds to Blaine Municipal Court - NO post-dated checks will be accepted. You may also pay with a credit card online at or by phone at 800-701-8560. There is a 7% processing fee for credit card payments.
- Mitigation Hearing: You acknowledge that you committed the infraction but request a mitigation hearing for a reduction in the penalty. If a traffic infraction is found committed, it will go on your Washington State driving record. The Blaine Municipal Court does not offer traffic school for traffic violations. Please contact the court clerk if you have any questions.
- Contested Hearing: You wish to dispute the ticket and promise to appear in person before the judge. The court clerk will send you an appearance date by mail.
Confirm that your address on the ticket is correct and sign the ticket. You can mail or bring the ticket to Blaine Municipal Court at:
Blaine, WA 98230
Remember, you must respond within 15 days from the date that the ticket was issued or 18 days from the date it was mailed.
May I Have an Attorney at my Contested Hearing?
You may, at your own expense, have an attorney appear and represent you at your hearing. If an attorney will be representing you, the attorney is required to provide sufficient notice by filing a notice of appearance with the court and the prosecuting attorney prior to the hearing date, in accordance with local and state court rules.
Do I Have a Right to Appeal?
If the judge finds that you committed the violation at your contested hearing, you have the right to appeal to the Superior Court of Whatcom County. You are required to file the notice of appeal in both Blaine Municipal Court and Whatcom Superior Court within 30 days of the judgment. Non-refundable costs of $220 for Superior Court filing fee and $40 processing fee will need to be paid at the time that the notice of appeal is filed with the Blaine Municipal Court.
If you appeal, the superior court will review the record that was made to the Municipal Court, but there will not be a new hearing. The court clerk's office will provide you with the forms and information about the appellate process. Remember, court clerks or staff are not allowed to give legal advice. If you have questions about appeals, you should consult legal counsel.
What Are the Rules for Appearing in Court?Suitable attire is required and hats are to be removed upon entering the courtroom. Smoking, food, or drink are not allowed. The court does not provide child care. Weapons are prohibited. Electronic devices must be turned off as they interfere with the recording system.
Upon arrival, find your name on the listing posted on the door of the courtroom. When your name is called, come forward as instructed by the judge.
Will a Traffic Infraction Appear on my Driving Record?
If you pay the penalty, mitigate, or if the judge finds that you have committed a traffic infraction at your contested hearing, the state law requires that the infraction be reported to the Washington State Department of Licensing. By law, the infraction will then appear on your Washington state driving record.
What if I Do Not Pay My Ticket or Appear for a Hearing?
Failure to respond within 15 days of the date that the ticket was issued, or 18 days from the date it was mailed shall result in an order that the infraction was committed. If you had requested a hearing and did not appear, or if you did not pay the fine, a $52 penalty is added to the amount shown on your ticket. Your driving privileges may then be suspended in Washington state following a notice to pay the full amount, including the fine and the penalty. The account may be assigned to a collection agency.
What if I am Unable to Pay the Entire Penalty by the Date Set by the Court?
The court expects you to pay your fine within 15 days of receiving the ticket, or on the day of your mitigation or contested hearing. The Blaine Municipal Court accepts cash, checks, or money orders in U.S. funds. The court also accepts credit cards through a 3rd party processor website, or by telephone at 800-701-8560.
If you are unable to pay the entire amount, you may be able to set-up a time payment agreement with Signal Management Services (PDF). This is a contract that allows you to make installment payments. The contract must be strictly adhered to and failure to comply with the contract may result in late fees, suspension of your driving privileges, and assignment of the account to a collection agency. You will be required to mail the application and 1st payment directly to Signal.
For More Information
If you have questions, you can contact the court at 360- 332-8310, or by email.