A Seattle law firm that helps people craft written traffic violation challenges may be breaking new ground for handling a specific type of legal issue via the internet in Washington state.
The service is called eTicketbuster and it essentially takes care of the entire rebuttal process for red light, sign, speeding and other moving violations.
Clients complete an online form and upload a copy of their traffic ticket into an online lockbox. Then they send the original ticket to the court with “contested hearing” checked off and use eTicketbuster’s address.
The payment system is interesting. Clients deposit one half of their ticket amount into a trust account, plus a $6.50 processing fee. If eTicketbuster successfully contests the ticket, the client pays one half of the ticket amount. If the law firm is unsuccessful, the client receives a 100 percent refund of the trust account deposit.
For example: you receive a $100 speeding ticket. You then submit your info to eTicketbuster and deposit $50 into the trust account. If the infraction is dismissed, that $50 goes to eTicketbuster. If the court does not reduce your fine, you get that $50 back. If your fine is reduced, you pay 50 percent of the amount reduced by the court.
eTicketbuster touts this as a ”win-win” scenario that lets people avoid spending hundreds of dollars for an attorney or several hours off from their daily lives to represent themselves. As Brier Dudley of the Seattle Times notes in his blog post, there are similar online ticket services are offered in California, but the lawyers with eTicketbuster aren’t aware of any in Washington, where there are an average of more than 2,600 non-criminal traffic infraction tickets issued every day, costing citizens more than $140 million in 2011.
I played around with the site’s functionality and it’s pretty seamless. The online form asks you a series of questions to make sure eTicketmaster is the right choice for you. For example, if you say “yes” to more complicated cases like an accident or DUI, the company recommends you email them to find a more experienced attorney. But once you meet their simple requirements, you’ll make an account and then send the required documents over.
There’s an extensive FAQ section on the site for more details.
Reach staff reporter Taylor Soper at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @Taylor_Soper