Ticket Deferral | What is Deferred Finding in Traffic Infraction Cases


Traffic Ticket Deferral

If the court allows the defendant to enter the deferred finding, the ticket will get dismissed after the specified period of time if the defendant pays a fee and does not get any other traffic violations during that period.

Sometimes deferral may seem like an easy choice for a driver facing a ticket. However, it is important that you understanding deferrals before you decide whether or not it is the right choice for you.


In Washington State, the opportunity for a deferral was created by the legislature. The statute allows for one deferral every seven years for a moving violation and one non-moving violation every seven years. So it is important that you use this opportunity wisely. We usually recommend that our clients not waste their deferrals on first tickets, or even their second or third.

The above mentioned statute gives judges the discretion whether to grant or deny the motion for deferral. This means that the judge may or may not grant your request for deferral. He or she is not required to grant deferrals even if it is the driver’s first one within the seven-year window.


In addition, each jurisdiction has its own criteria for offering deferred finding. For example, some judges grant all motions for deferral. Other judges may grant the motion only if the defendant does not have a bad driving record. But again, it is in the judge’s discretion.


Fees also vary by jurisdiction. Generally, they are between $150 and $200. The fee is for the court to monitor the driver’s record for any new law violations during the probation period.


The court places the driver on probation for a period. Probation periods also vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. In Snohomish County, for example, there is no probation period. In other jurisdiction, we have seen them as long as 24 months.

If the defendant ends up getting another moving violation during the probation period, three things happen. The deferred finding is revoked, the original ticket goes on his or her driving record, and the driver has to pay the fine of the original ticket in addition to the fee already paid for the deferral. So it is important that the driver does not commit any law violations during the probation period.

Commercial Drivers

Unfortunately, commercial drivers do not qualify for a deferral.