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CalAttorney2, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 10244
Experience:  Civil litigation attorney for individuals and businesses.
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I just got a ticket a potential litte which was a cigarette.

Customer Question

Hi, I just got a ticket for throwing a potential litte which was a cigarette butt. The police officer charged me $1025. I'm going to a court whenever they assign me to show up. My question is that I picked up the cigarette butt after getting the ticket because I felt so bad for doing that. Would this fact help me to reduce the fine?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  CalAttorney2 replied 2 years ago.

Dear Customer,

While it is nice that you retrieved your litter, picking up the butt will likely not affect your fine. (The fine really is $1,025.00 under RCW 70.93, and outside of WA state this can even be prosecuted as a misdemeanor).

You can always ask the judge for leniency, but the fine is based on throwing the object from the vehicle, not what you do afterwards.

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I read an article saying that the police officer has to bring the cigarette butt to me in order to charge me $1,025.00. Is that correct?
Expert:  CalAttorney2 replied 2 years ago.

No, but the officer does need to witness you throw the object from the vehicle in order to warrant the higher penalty (there is a lesser fee of approx. $500 that can be attached to a citation if the officer does not witness the act).

But it does not require the officer to locate, retrieve, and store the butt as evidence.

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
What if the cigarette wasn't litte?
Expert:  CalAttorney2 replied 2 years ago.

The fine is still $1,025.00. Take some comfort in knowing that you did not cause a fire - if you had started a wildfire with the lit (or smoldering) butt, you would likely be facing substantially greater financial liability (you would be responsible for the cost of fighting the fire, any damage caused by the fire), plus substantially steeper penalties.