Traffic Infractions or tickets are issued by local law enforcement agencies for minor, noncriminal offenses. They are treated as civil cases, and the judge may impose a penalty, but may not commit you to jail.
What To Do If You Have Been Issued An Infraction
You should read the entire ticket. On the back page, you will notice there are three options to choose from. It is important that you respond with one of those three options within fifteen (15) days of the date the infraction was issued, or an additional penalty of $52 will be added. An infraction is not a crime, but failure to respond could result in the suspension of your driving privileges. Once you have checked the chosen option, mail or return the ticket to the Battle Ground Municipal Court office. Please verify your mailing address is written correctly on the back of the ticket.
Three Options Provided To You:
1. Pay the Ticket
If you choose to pay your ticket, you may make your payment in person at the court office during business hours or mail the ticket with an enclosed your check or money order. Please write your ticket number on the check and make the check payable to Battle Ground Court. If your check is returned for any reason by your bank, your case will be reopened, a $40 returned check fee will be added, and your driving privileges may be suspended.
2. Admit You Committed The Infraction With An Explanation
If you check option two (2) on your ticket, you admit you committed the violation and you will be scheduled for a mitigation hearing. A mitigation hearing is an informal proceeding where the judge listens to your explanation of the circumstances surrounding the commission of your infraction.
The court will send you notice of a hearing date by mail. Mitigation hearings are held on Thursdays, with a check in time of 2:00 p.m. At the hearing, the judge may or may not adjust the penalty, depending on the explanation and your record. You may bring an attorney at your own expense. You may ask witnesses to attend, but cannot require them to do so. If the judge does not dismiss the infraction, the moving violation(s) will appear on your driving record. You will be required to pay the penalty at the end of your hearing or sign a Penalty Payment Agreement which promises that you will make monthly payments of a specified amount.
3. Challenge the Infraction and Request a Court Date
If you believe you did not commit the infraction, you may select option three (3) to request a contested hearing. Contested hearings are held at 3:00 p.m. on Thursdays at the Battle Ground Municipal Court. At the hearing, the judge will read the sworn statement of the officer, unless you have requested the officer to be present.
If you wish to have witnesses appear and testify at the hearing, you will be responsible for having those witnesses present, and obtain and process any subpoenas yourself. After hearing the testimony and reviewing the evidence, the judge will enter a decision in the case.
If the judge finds you did not commit the infraction, it will be dismissed. If the judge finds you did commit the infraction, the penalty may be the same or reduced. Any penalties will be due following the hearing.
You may, at your own expense, have an attorney appear and represent you at the hearing. Since the infraction is not a criminal matter, you are not entitled to a court-appointed attorney.
Appealing The Judge's Ruling
If you are found to have committed the infraction at your contested hearing, you have the right to appeal the judge's decision in the Superior Court of Clark County. The notice of appeal must be filed in the Battle Ground Municipal Court within 30 days of the judgement. There will be various appeal costs, including a $200 filing fee, which must be paid when you file your appeal. If you appeal, your case will be reviewed by the Superior Court for errors in matters of law, but there will be no new trial.
Penalty for Non-Payment of Ticket
If you do not pay your ticket, the court will add a $52 penalty and notify the Department of Licensing, which may result in the suspension of your driving privileges. In addition, the court refers all cases that are past due to a collection agency. Once the case has gone to collections, you may no longer pay at the court office. Sending the case to a collection agency adds substantial fees and interest, so you are urged to be prompt in your payment.
Contact the Court
The goal of the Battle Ground Municipal Court is to be helpful and responsive to the public. Please call our office at (360) 342-5150 if you have any further questions.