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Old 11-19-2014, 10:24 AM   #1
longhaul747 OP
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Can you fight a seat belt ticket?

Yesterday my wife was heading to work and as she pulled out of the street we live in a nice WA State Patrolman was kind enough to let her into traffic. Of coarse he lit her up a block later and pulled her over for not wearing her seat belt. My wife is 5'0" and finds it better (and safer) to place the shoulder belt below her armpit. As the officer approached the window he said I thought you were not wearing your seat belt. After running her license and checking her paperwork he gave her a ticket for not wearing her seat belt anyway. When my wife informed him that she was in fact wearing her seat belt he only stated that it looked like she was not and under the law it must be properly worn. So we get it and unfortunately under this silly and vague law the ticket is valid.

My question is anyone have any idea if this ticket can be fought? The good news is its a traffic citation so it goes on your driving record but it is not reported to insurance companies. So other then being out $124 its not the end of the world. However my wife takes nothing from know one and wants to fight it in court. Unfortunately my research shows seat belt tickets being a safety thing are almost impossible to get out of. Especially under how vague the law is written. It seems a few have gotten out of them by simply stating the traffic stop was in violation of there rights under the Constitution of the United States. However you are at the sole discretion of the judge and since this has already been debated in court I think odds are against you. I don't plan to fight it this way.

In my opinion and its neither here nor there but a warning would suffice. However not all officers of the law are so kind. My wife has been pulled over before and her seat belt use was never questioned. The law is so vague even the cops can't get it right.
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Old 11-19-2014, 10:43 AM   #2
soyanarchisto
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I thought the seat belt ticket was a secondary offense. In other words, they have to pull you over for something else (e.g. broken tail light) in order to bust you for that. Maybe I am thinking of something else.
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Old 11-19-2014, 10:49 AM   #3
longhaul747 OP
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Originally Posted by soyanarchisto View Post
I thought the seat belt ticket was a secondary offense. In other words, they have to pull you over for something else (e.g. broken tail light) in order to bust you for that. Maybe I am thinking of something else.
I think it used to be but they changed it a few years ago. However when they changed it technically they are violating your rights as a citizen. However this has been hotly debated in several high courts. Basically driving a car is a privilege and not a right. So its not subject to the rules of the constitution. I personally disagree with this and don't see how it would not remain a violation of rights but the high courts shot it down so my opinion means little.
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Old 11-19-2014, 10:50 AM   #4
walterj
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Win or lose I fight every single ticket. Sometimes it's about getting it dropped to something insurance companies don't care about and sometimes it's just to be an asshole. If they are taking my money for silly shit like not feeding the meter then I'm wasting their time.

In this case - the officer would clearly be lying if he said she wasn't wearing it. Make him lie. Then say "well you told me I wasn't wearing it properly" so how could I have not been wearing it?

At the very least it will give her some entertainment for the money.
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Old 11-19-2014, 11:19 AM   #5
larryboy
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Quote:
Originally Posted by longhaul747 View Post
When my wife informed him that she was in fact wearing her seat belt he only stated that it looked like she was not and under the law it must be properly worn.

He has her nailed to the wall, stated his probable cause and according to Washington law it must be properly worn. Pay the ticket.
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Old 11-19-2014, 11:32 AM   #6
MRBLACK947
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What kind of car is your wife driving that doesn't have an adjustable upper pivot point on the seat belt? If it is adjustable is she aware of that?

Even at 5' if you bottom the seat belt adjust out on most if not all cars you will not have to put the seat belt under your armpit. Especially on cars with seats you can change the seat base height on (power seats and some manual seats).


I've gotten in other peoples cars and on more then one occasion had the driver ask me what I was doing. I'm like, I'm adjusting the seat belt. They're like, oh, I didn't know you could do that.
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Old 11-19-2014, 12:06 PM   #7
Mr. Fisherman
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You can shadow box the hell out of that ticket. Then pay it when you are tired.
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Old 11-19-2014, 12:29 PM   #8
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Adult booster seat

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Old 11-19-2014, 01:29 PM   #9
enumclaw
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I would fight it just because. A judge is likely to be much more reasonable than the guy that pulled her over. Besides, it's not going to make it any worse, so what have you got to lose?
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Old 11-19-2014, 02:27 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by enumclaw View Post
I would fight it just because. A judge is likely to be much more reasonable than the guy that pulled her over. Besides, it's not going to make it any worse, so what have you got to lose?
Basically this. I dont know WA law but if it clearly states the seat belt must be worn properly then the ticket itself is solid. However around here pleading not guilty to a ticket almost guarantees you a plea bargain for the bottom dollar ticket, no points on license and just pay court surcharge. Its pretty ridiculous actually. Plus theres the possibility the officer doesnt show up, albeit rare.
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Old 11-19-2014, 02:56 PM   #11
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"It seems a few have gotten out of them by simply stating the traffic stop was in violation of there rights under the Constitution of the United States."

Don't do that -- judges hate that sort of stuff. Fight it that actually was wearing it and for safety had it under her arm. If he asks what she would do different, say she'll get a booster sheet for the future (a lot of judges like seeing somebody learn something). It can't hurt you to fight - it's not going up unless your wife goes nuts and gets held in contempt and it almost certainly will be reduced.
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Old 11-19-2014, 02:58 PM   #12
woodsrider-boyd
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Give Jeanne Mucklestone a call, she will tell you what your chances are of her getting your wife out of it. She is not cheap but she knows the traffic courts.

https://www.mucklestone.com/index.php

And going before the judge to plead your case? Good luck with that. Waste of time, every time, in my experience. -Ed
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Old 11-19-2014, 06:45 PM   #13
Watercat
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^ ^ ^ ^ Do this . . . . . Real legal advice is worth 100,000X what you'll get here . . . . . . . . Maybe,

You got wallet, it's a no brainer.
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Watercat screwed with this post 11-19-2014 at 06:53 PM
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Old 11-19-2014, 07:12 PM   #14
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bull shit law for tax collection of those that get caught... I am a believer in belts just think it is BS law... I now vow to go to court and require the cop to come to court too... sure I will lose but at least the tax collector with a badge is leaving everyone else alone for an hour or two... think of it as a public service I am doing for the rest of you
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Old 11-19-2014, 07:20 PM   #15
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Laws are always vague that's why we have judges and lawyers to interpret them. They are espicially vague when you are the one in violation! Google how to fight a ticket there is good info there and if you are in Western Washington look up a lawyer by the name of Sama he will do the court thing for you at a very reasonable price (or for that matter any traffic lawyer). And wear your damn seat belt correctly!!!! I hate sending fire and medical out for stupid people.
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