Infractions & Requesting a Hearing
What is an Infraction?
Infractions are citations (tickets) received from local law enforcement agencies for offenses such as speeding, failure to have liability insurance, photo enforcements, parking violations, and seat belt violations. Infractions are considered non-criminal offenses where jail time may not be ordered. (Ch. 1.16 Civil Infractions | Pierce County Code)
Pay Infraction Fee(s) or Request to Make Payments
If you cannot afford to pay your fine in full and want to request a payment plan, contact the Pierce County District Court online through Live Chat, by email at [email protected], or by phone at (253)798-7487. Payment plans and/or payment alternatives (Work Crew or Day Reporting) may be available upon request.
Fines are due in full within 30 days unless a payment plan is approved. A one-time administrative fee of $10 is added to all payment plans. You may pay online at www.pcdistrictcourtpay.com, by phone at (253) 590-4452, in-person, or by mail. Failure to pay any fine may result in your case being sent to a collection agency and garnishment of your wages/assets, in addition to the following:
- Traffic Fines - may result in the loss of your driver’s license/privilege.
- Non-Traffic Infractions - are considered a crime and will be treated accordingly.
- Parking/Photo Fines - Washington Department of Licensing may refuse to renew your vehicle registration until any penalties imposed have been satisfied.
Regulations Regarding Infractions
A defendant has 30 days to pay the infraction or request a hearing. If the defendant fails to respond, the Court will assess a late penalty fee and notify the Department of Licensing (DOL). If the defendant does not pay the penalty in full or arrange for a payment plan, DOL may suspend the driver's license. Infractions that are not paid are sent to a collection agency where additional fees will be assessed. (Ch. 1.16 Civil Infractions | Pierce County Code)
Request a Hearing for a Traffic Infraction
If you agree that you committed the violation but would like to explain the circumstances and ask for a reduction of the penalty amount, mark the box on the ticket requesting a mitigation hearing. This hearing is to explain the circumstances, not to argue that you did not commit the violation. Pierce County District Court will notify the Department of Licensing that you committed the violation and the infraction will appear on your driving record. Mitigation hearings cannot be appealed.
If you believe you did not commit the violation, mark the box on the ticket requesting a contested hearing. You may subpoena the officer to appear for your contested hearing, but you must do so at least 7 days before the scheduled hearing. It is the responsibility of the defendant to serve the officer and show proof of service to the Court by using this form. If the officer is not subpoenaed, the Court will accept the officer's written declaration as evidence in your case. A defendant may appeal the judgment entered after a contested hearing.
HEARING BY MAIL
If you prefer to submit your statement in writing, you must complete a Hearing by Mail form. A judicial officer will review your statement and a court order will be mailed to you within 4-6 weeks with the decision. If a penalty is imposed, you will be given a date that the amount owed is due. If you fail to pay the total amount due, a late fee will be added, the case will be referred to a collection agency and the Department of Licensing will be notified. Hearings by Mail cannot be appealed.
To receive a hearing date, you must contact us online through Live Chat, email your request to [email protected], or mail a copy of your ticket to the Pierce County District Court within 30 days of the violation date. The court will mail you a notice with a hearing date.
Pierce County District Court
930 Tacoma Ave S, Rm 239
Tacoma, WA 98402
Requesting Penalty Reductions
Pierce County District Court has adopted monetary reduction policies on certain infractions. You may be eligible for a reduction of the original penalty without requesting a hearing. For additional information contact us online through Live Chat, email us at [email protected], or call (253) 798-7487. Reduction policies have been adopted for the following traffic infraction violations:
- Defective Equipment Violations
- Driving without Mandatory Insurance
- Expired Vehicle License / Missing License Plate / No Registration Certificate in Vehicle
- License Not in Immediate Possession
- No Motorcycle Endorsement
- No Valid Operator's License with Valid ID
- Operate Off-Road Vehicle without a Valid Permit
- Parked in a Disabled Parking Zone / Fail to Display Permit
- Private Carrier - Fail to Display Valid Medical Certificate
Rescheduling a Traffic Infraction Hearing
If you cannot appear at your scheduled hearing, you must contact the Pierce County District Court prior to your hearing date either online through Live Chat, by email at [email protected], by phone at (253) 798-7487, or by mail. All written/emailed requests must be postmarked on or before the original court date.
If you do not reschedule in a timely manner, a fee will be added to your penalty and the Court will notify the Department of Licensing (DOL) of your failure to appear. DOL may suspend your license until you have paid the total amount due. The Court may also refer the ticket to a collection agency. If your ticket is referred for collection, it is your responsibility to pay all collection costs in addition to all court-imposed penalties.