***bump and an update***
So you were out for a fun ride south of the border and got caught going a little over the limit? Or maybe a lot? Now you have a ticket and are wondering what to do about it.
For a typical violation you will be given the option to dispute the ticket or pay the fine. For a more serious violation you may be give a mandatory court date where you must appear before a judge. The simplest thing to do if there is no mandatory court date is to pay the fine for the ticket. Or, if you wish you can dispute it.
In WA state you have up to 15 days to dispute the ticket or to pay it. If you do not pay it or dispute it your license will be suspended within WA state. This means that you are not legally allowed to operate a motor vehicle within WA state. There will also be an additional charge of $52 added to the original ticket if you fail to respond - pay or dispute - within the 15 day period.
Again, to be very clear, you have 15 days to dispute or pay the ticket.
If you do neither and decide to ignore the ticket the consequences increas. Besides the additional $52 charge levied by the state the ticket will be sent to a collection agency where they will add their own fee, typically around $80, to the price of the ticket. Once the ticket goes to collections, the ONLY way to pay the ticket is through the collection agency. WA state will no longer accept your payment once the ticket goes to collections. And remember, your license is suspended within the State of Washington. Your license suspension will last for a period of one year or until you pay for the ticket.
If you decide to ignore the ticket and get pulled over by law enforcement again within the one year suspension period the chances are VERY high that you will be handcuffed on the side of the road by an officer of the law, read your rights and searched. If you are lucky and have no outstanding warrants for your arrest, the officer may choose to turn you loose and let you ride back home to Canada. But, the officer can require you to have your vehicle towed back to Canada and/or cart you off to jail. The officer WILL issue you with another ticket for driving with a suspended license, and this will result in having a MANDATORY court appearance in the very near future.
At the MANDATORY court appearance it is up to the judge to decide what's going to happen. You may simply have to pay a fine, or you could spend the night/weeeknd in jail. You should be prepared for jail time if it comes to this point, but hopefully the judge will be lenient and only give you a fine. If you do not attend the court date listed on your ticket a warrant for your arrest will be issued. I don't think it's necessary to explain what happens if you ignore the court date and get pulled over one more time.
My experience a couple of weekends ago included getting hand cuffed, but fortunately did not involve a trip to jail. However, I now have a mandatory court date. This was becuase I ignored a speeding ticket I received in WA state last year.
Fine for the original ticket: $146
Service fee by WA state: $52
Collection agency fee: $90
Fee to pay the ticket over the phone: $9
Taking a day off work to go to court: $1000
Total: $1302 for a ticket that orginally would have cost me $146 if I'd paid it right away