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Intermediate Licenses: Why it's Important to Fight any Teen Traffic Ticket

If you have a teenager learning to drive, there's a lot to consider. You want your teen to be safe. You want your teen to drive safely. And you want to keep the cost of insuring your teen down.

On top of these considerations, you must also be concerned with the possibility that your teen's license will be suspended. Today, society places a heavy burden on teens (and their parents) to avoid a traffic ticket on their driving record at all costs.

The odds that your teen will receive one or more traffic ticket are high. Teens are just learning the rules of the road. They are easily distracted. Occasionally, they break the rules because they're immature or don't fully understand the consequences of a traffic ticket and higher insurance premiums. Also, Intermediate Licenses can be violated in a variety of ways, which can also lead to traffic tickets. (link to website page on Intermediate Licenses, what teens can and cannot do)

RCW 46.20.267 governs Intermediate License restrictions.

If a person issued an intermediate license is convicted of or found to have committed a traffic offense described in chapter 46.61 RCW. RCW or violated restrictions placed on an intermediate license under RCW 46.20.075.

     (1) On the first such conviction or finding the department shall mail the parent or guardian of the person a letter warning the person of the provisions of this section;

     (2) On the second such conviction or finding, the department shall suspend the person's intermediate driver's license for a period of six months or until the person reaches eighteen years of age, whichever occurs first, and mail the parent or guardian of the person a notification of the suspension;

     (3) On the third such conviction or finding, the department shall suspend the person's intermediate driver's license until the person reaches eighteen years of age, and mail the parent or guardian of the person a notification of the suspension.

     For the purposes of this section, a single ticket for one or more traffic offenses constitutes a single traffic offense.


As you can see, the consequences of receiving more than one traffic ticket are dire.

If your teen is found to have committed a second traffic infraction, they're facing a 6 month suspension. That means, for six months, your teenager legally cannot drive. On a third conviction, your teen will not be able to drive at all until they reach 18.

Many parents assume that after their teen receives their first traffic ticket, lesson learned.  However, because of the danger of later suspension, it can be harmful not to fight your child's first ticket. Moreover, statistically, teens have a greater chance of speeding or being involved in a traffic collision. In a recent study, teens reported seeing speeding by their peers more frequently than substance use. In the same study, most teens agreed that "more than ten miles per hour over posted limits" was their definition of speeding, and half of all teens reporting stated that they drive that fast on occasion.
(source: http://www.teendriversource.org/stats/teen/detail/57)

Further, teen car accidents often happen because of  different reaction time or immaturity on the part of younger drivers. Teens have the reaction time of a 70 year-old when distracted while driving. (source: http://www.teendriversource.org/stats/teen/detail/67)

Thus, just because you've admonished your son or daughter after their first traffic ticket doesn't ensure that they won't make a future mistake. It is important to have conversations with them about safety and consequences; however, it is equally important to fight their first traffic ticket. And it is vital to fight any second or third teen traffic tickets. You do not want the burden of carrying high risk insurance for your teen. Further, if you have a teen who cannot drive until they are 18, it can impact your entire family's freedom. You need to hire an attorney who understands Intermediate License violations and will protect your teen's right to drive.

Attorney Michael D. Sheehan has over a decade's experience in fighting teen traffic tickets. He can advise both teens and their parents with regard to the best course of action when fighting a teen traffic ticket and/or Intermediate License Violation. Call him today to fight your teen traffic ticket.


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