Frequently Asked Questions (FAQS)
How do I retain Mr. Sheehan to represent me in my traffic matter?
Please visit the section of this site entitled “Hire Mr. Sheehan.”
In which courts does Mr. Sheehan represent clients?
Mr. Sheehan regularly represents clients in all counties along the I-5 corridor (Clark, Cowlitz, King, Lewis, Pierce, Skagit, Snohomish, Thurston and Whatcom counties) plus Adams, Grant, Kitsap, and Kittitas Counties. If you’ve received a ticket in a different county, please call and Mr. Sheehan will refer you to an attorney who can help. Mr. Sheehan does not handle traffic matters in states other than Washington.
I’ve given Mr. Sheehan my paperwork and full payment. Do I need to do anything else?
No. Mr. Sheehan will take care of everything for you. He will let you know once he’s received your paperwork and payment and he will schedule your hearing with the Court. He will prepare your defense for the hearing and will contact you before the hearing if there is anything to discuss, as he prepares your defense. He will represent you at your court hearing and lastly, he will notify you of the outcome following the hearing.
Will I need to go to court?
Generally, no. That is one benefit from hiring an attorney. Washington State law permits an attorney to appear on your behalf at infraction (non-criminal) hearings. In most cases, you will not need to attend the hearing; thus, you will not need to take time off from work, school or other obligations. If Mr. Sheehan believes, after reviewing your ticket, that you should testify at your hearing, Mr. Sheehan will suggest that you attend the hearing.
I would like to tell you about the specifics of my case. How can I?
If you wish to tell Mr. Sheehan about your case, the best way is to put your statement in writing and send it to him before your court hearing. That way, he will have your information when he prepares your defense. Please include photos or diagrams if you think they are relevant.
I’ve hired Mr. Sheehan to be my lawyer and want an update on the status of my case. What should I do?
If you have a question, please call or e-mail Mr. Sheehan. If you reach voicemail, please leave a detailed message, including your full name, phone number and the specific nature of your question. Mr. Sheehan tries to promptly return all calls. Please remember, however, that he appears in courts for traffic hearings each day and, as a result, cannot always return your call immediately. Mr. Sheehan will get back to you as soon as his schedule permits. E-mail is a particularly effective way to communicate with Mr. Sheehan about your case.
How will I be informed of the result of my case?
Mr. Sheehan will send you an email and mail you a letter after your hearing to inform you of the judge’s decision. Unfortunately, given the large number of clients he represents, Mr. Sheehan cannot phone each client with the result following the hearing. If you have received our letter but still have questions about the judge’s decision, please call our office. We will be happy to speak with you.
When can I expect to be informed of the result of my case?
Generally, tickets are resolved 60-to-90 days after they are issued by the police. However, some cases take longer to resolve. Mr. Sheehan may postpone your hearing to improve your chances for success. For example, Mr. Sheehan may be permitted by law to request a different judge if he does not like the judge assigned to your case. If Mr. Sheehan requests a different judge, the Court may have to reschedule your hearing. If you have not heard from Mr. Sheehan, it is because your case has not yet been resolved.
Can Mr. Sheehan guarantee dismissal of my ticket?
No. Although Mr. Sheehan’s goal is to get your infraction(s) dismissed, each case is different. He deals with different courts, judges, prosecutors, facts, and legal issues in each case. Thus, while Mr. Sheehan tries very hard to get a dismissal in every case, he cannot guarantee it.
If Mr. Sheehan cannot get an immediate dismissal, he can often negotiate a favorable arrangement with the prosecutor and/or judge. Examples of such arrangements include amending (changing) the infraction so that it will not appear on your driving record (such as “Inattention to Driving”), periods of probation that lead to dismissal (such as “Deferred Findings” and “Stipulated Orders of Continuance”), or completing certain conditions that lead to dismissal (such as attending “Traffic Safety” classes).
Will Mr. Sheehan refund my attorney fee if my ticket is not dismissed?
No. The attorney fee is non-refundable once Mr. Sheehan has appeared in court on your behalf. However, Mr. Sheehan will refund your attorney fee should you no longer desire his services prior to your first court date.
What are my options if the Judge finds that I “committed” the infraction?
If a judge finds that you “committed” the infraction, you have the right to appeal the judge’s decision. You must file a “Notice of Appeal” with the judge’s court within 30 days following the hearing.
Does Mr. Sheehan handle appeals?
No. However, if you choose to pursue an appeal, Mr. Sheehan will help you find an attorney who specializes in such appeals.
Will my insurance rates go up if I fail to fight my speeding ticket?
Yes, in many instances. Contact your insurance agent to discuss exactly how much your insurance premiums will increase following a new traffic conviction. Generally speaking, the more traffic infractions you have on your driving record, the more you will pay for vehicle insurance.
I requested a “Mitigation Hearing” from the Court by mistake. Can I still fight my ticket?
Yes. Please contact Mr. Sheehan immediately. In most cases, he can convince the Court to change your hearing from a “Mitigation Hearing” (at which you must admit the infraction) to a “Contested Hearing” (at which you are permitted to fight the infraction).
What if my son or daughter is under 18 and has an Intermediate Driver's License?
In Washington State, the Department of Licensing will suspend the driving privilege of an Intermediate License holder if the holder commits two (2) traffic infractions before the age of 18. The suspension will last either six (6) months or until the driver turns 18, whichever occurs first. Mr. Sheehan can protect the driving privilege of Intermediate License holders by defeating their traffic infractions in court.
What if I received a ticket for “No Proof of Insurance?”
Mr. Sheehan has successfully defended many “No Proof of (Vehicle) Insurance” cases. If you had vehicle insurance at the time you were stopped but failed to provide proof to the police officer, please send us a legible copy of your insurance card. If you did not have vehicle insurance at the time of the stop but purchased it afterwards, please send us a legible copy of your insurance card.
What is SR-22?
SR-22 is an expensive type of auto insurance. Washington State requires many “high risk” drivers to purchase and carry SR-22 insurance, in order to maintain their driving privileges. For example, the state often requires a driver to purchase SR-22 insurance following a license suspension or revocation. License suspensions or revocations can result from, among other things, convictions for D.U.I. or Reckless Driving, from committing too many traffic violations, or from causing an accident while uninsured.
“High risk” drivers ordered to purchase SR-22 insurance may be required to carry SR-22 for three years. It could cost you thousands of dollars if you are ordered to purchase and carry SR-22 insurance. Call Mr. Sheehan. He can help you avoid the SR-22 requirement.
Is Reckless Driving a criminal or civil matter?
Reckless Driving is a criminal offense, meaning the penalties are much more severe than for traffic infractions. Reckless Driving is punishable by a maximum of one year in jail and a $5,000 fine. Furthermore, Washington State will suspend your license for 30 days and require you to purchase and carry SR-22 insurance (see above).
Does Mr. Sheehan handle Reckless Driving cases?
Yes. Mr. Sheehan has helped hundreds of clients avoid Reckless Driving convictions and penalties. Reckless Driving is a criminal offense, meaning the penalties are much more severe than for traffic infractions. Reckless Driving is punishable by a maximum of one year in jail and a $5,000 fine. Furthermore, Washington State will suspend your license for 30 days and require you to purchase and carry very expensive SR-22 insurance. If you have been charged with Reckless Driving, call Mr. Sheehan immediately to arrange a free consultation.