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AGLO 1982 No. 12 - May 20, 1982
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Ken Eikenberry | 1981-1992 | Attorney General of Washington

MOTOR VEHICLES ‑- COURTS ‑- PENALTY FOR FAILURE TO RESPOND TO TRAFFIC INFRACTION NOTICE

Identification of the maximum penalties for failure to respond to a notice of a traffic infraction, including local parking violations, under 1982 amendatory legislation.

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                                                                   May 20, 1982

Honorable Phil Talmadge
St. Sen., 34th District
4006 53rd S.W.
Seattle, WA 98116                                                                                                               Cite as:  AGLO 1982 No. 12

Dear Sir:

            By recent letter you made reference to the enactment, by the recent legislature, of two separate amendments to RCW 46.63.110 and then you requested our opinion on the following questions:

            "1. What monetary penalty is now assessed for a failure to respond to a traffic infraction?

            "2. What monetary penalty is now assessed for failure to respond to a notice of parking violations?

            "3. In light of the recent two changes to RCW 46.63.110, is any portion of any monetary penalty assessed subject to assessments imposed by RCW 43.101.210 or 46.81.030?"

            We answer your questions in the manner set forth in our analysis.

                                                                     ANALYSIS

            Question (1):

            Neither of the two amendments to RCW 46.63.110 to which you have referred are yet in effect.  The first amendment, which is contained in § 1, chapter 12, Laws of 1982, 1st Ex. Sess. (SB 4492) will take effect on July 10, 1982, or ninety days after adjournment of the legislative session at which it was enacted, in accordance with Wash. Const., Art. 2, § 41 (Amendment 26).  And the second  [[Orig. Op. Page 2]] amendment, as set forth in chapter 14, Laws of 1982, 1st Ex. Sess., (SHB 268) will not take effect until July 1, 1984 as specified in § 7 of that act.  Thus, in responding to your question we must deal with three separate time periods.

            (a)Current Law:

            RCW 46.63.110 presently reads, in material part, as follows:

            ". . .

            "(3) There shall be a penalty of twenty-five dollars for failure to respond to a notice of traffic infraction except where the infraction relates to overtime parking as defined by local law, ordinance, regulation, or resolution or failure to pay a monetary penalty imposed pursuant to this chapter.  The monetary penalty for failure to respond to a notice of a traffic infraction relating to overtime parking as defined by local law, ordinance, regulation, or resolution shall be set by the local legislative body which originally enacted the local law, ordinance, regulation, or resolution creating the parking offense.  The local court, whether a municipal, police, or district court may impose the monetary penalty set by the local legislative body.  Such locally set monetary penalty is not subject to the assessments required by RCW 46.81.030 and 43.101.210 and related court rules.

            ". . ."

            Thus, under current law, the monetary penalty for failure to respond to a traffic infraction is $25 except where the infraction relates to overtime parking as defined by local law.  In that latter case, the monetary penalty, in turn, is also fixed by local law.

            (b)Law As Of July 10, 1982:

            Section 1, chapter 12, Laws of 1982, 1st Ex. Sess., supra, amends RCW 46.63.110, supra, (as of July 10, 1982) to read as follows:

            ". . .

            "(3) There shall be a penalty of twenty-five dollars for  [[Orig. Op. Page 3]] failure to respond to a notice of traffic infraction except where the infraction relates to ((overtime)) parking as defined by local law, ordinance, regulation, or resolution or failure to pay a monetary penalty imposed pursuant to this chapter.  ((The monetary penalty for failure to respond to a notice of a traffic infraction relating to overtime parking as defined by local law, ordinance, regulation, or resolution creating the parking offenses.))A local legislative body may set a monetary penalty not to exceed twenty-five dollars for failure to respond to a notice of traffic infraction relating to parking as defined by local law, ordinance, regulation, or resolution, the local court, whether a municipal, police, or district court ((may)), shall impose the monetary penalty set by the local legislative body.  ((Such locally set)) Any monetary penaltyimposed under this subsection is not subject to thestatutory assessments applicable to traffic offenses, including but not limited to the assessments required by RCW 46.81.030 ((and)), 43.101.320 ((and related court rules)), 2.56.100, 3.62.080, and 13.40.260.

           ". . ."

            Insofar as this question is concerned, it will be seen that the basic monetary penalty remains the same, i.e., $25, for failure to respond to a notice of traffic infraction.  From and after the effective date of this amendment, however, there will likewise be a $25 ceiling on the monetary penalty which may be fixed by a local legislative body for failure to respond to a notice of traffic infraction relating to parking ". . . as defined by local law, ordinance, regulation, or resolution . . ."

            (c)Law After July 1, 1984:

            Although RCW 46.63.110 is also amended by § 4, chapter 14, Laws of 1982, 1st Ex. Sess. (SHB 268), as of July 1, 1984, that amendment does not actually modify subsection (3) thereof at all.  Instead, only subsection (5) of the statute, which involves the procedures for enforcement of any of the various monetary penalties authorized by RCW 46.63.110, as amended by this act.  Subsection (3) is merely set forth, as part of the act, for the purposes of compliance with Article II, § 37 of our State constitution which provides that:

            "No act shall ever be revised or amended by mere  [[Orig. Op. Page 4]] reference to its title, but the act revised or the section amended shall be set forth at full length."

            Thus, in fact, the only amendment to RCW 46.63.110(3) which was passed by the 1982 legislature is that which is contained in § 1, chapter 12, supra.  Accordingly, our answer to your question as it relates to the period commencing on July 10, 1982 will continue to apply (in the absence of further legislation) on and after July 1, 1984.

            Question (2):

            For ease of understanding we will also subdivide our response to this question.

            (a)Current Law:

            The monetary penalty now assessed for failure to respond to a notice of a parking infraction is also $25, under current law, unless the infraction relates to overtime parking as defined by local law, ordinance, regulation or resolution.  In that case, the monetary penalty is as fixed by that local law.

            (b)Law On And After July 10, 1982:

            Under § 1, chapter 12, Laws of 1982, 1st Ex. Sess., as above noted, the maximum monetary penalty which may be imposed by local governmental body for failure to respond to a notice of a traffic infraction relating to parking (overtime or otherwise) will, on and after July 10, 1982, likewise be $25.  The penalty could, however, be less if the local ordinance so provides.

            (c)Law On And After July 1, 1984:

            No further change, as above explained.

           Question(3):

            Your third question, repeated for ease of reference, asks:

            "In light of the recent two changes to RCW 46.63.110, is any portion of any monetary penalty assessed subject to assessments imposed by RCW 43.101.210 or 46.81.030?"

            In posing this question, you have referred to AGO 1982 No. 5, issued on April 12, 1982, in which, on the basis of existing law,  [[Orig. Op. Page 5]] we conclude that:

            "The $25 penalty imposed by § 5(3), chapter 19, Laws of 1981, for failure to respond to a notice of traffic infraction is not subject to the assessments imposed by RCW 43.101.210 or § 7(6), chapter 330, Laws of 1981, but it is subject to the traffic education assessment imposed by RCW 46.81.030."

            This, of course, will remain the situation until July 10, 1982.  After that date, however, in accordance with the further amendment to RCW 46.63.110(3) which is also contained in § 1, chapter 12,supra, the law will be as follows:

            ". . . Any monetary penalty imposed under this subsection is not subject to the statutory assessments applicable to traffic offenses, including but not limited to the assessments required by RCW 46.81.030, 43.101.210, 2.56.100, 3.62.080, and 13.40.260."

            The basic impact of this change on our current opinion involves the penalty assessment for traffic education imposed by RCW 46.81.030.  The $25 penalty imposed by RCW 46.63.110(3) for failure to respond to a notice of traffic infraction is now subject to that traffic education assessment.  As of July 10, 1982, however, that no longer will be the case.

            We trust that the foregoing will be of assistance to you.

Very truly yours,

KENNETH O. EIKENBERRY
Attorney General

PHILIP H. AUSTIN
Deputy Attorney General

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