How does ESSB 5226 of the 2021 Washington Legislative Session affect the District and Municipal Courts?
Effective January 1, 2023, Engrossed Substitute Senate Bill 5226 made many changes to Infraction Traffic citations as well as how Failures to Respond, Appear, Pay, and Comply are handled. The changes are each identified below.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
- Court Changes Needed – Court Profile Maintenance Screen and Collections Profile
- Failure to Respond, Appear, Pay, and Comply handling at DOL
- Accumulation of Traffic Tickets and Safe Driving Course at DOL
- JIS FTA Screen Changes
- JIS FTA Auto-selection Process Changes
- JABS ADR Screen Changes
- Uniform Infraction/Citation Form Changes
- Infraction Penalty Increase – Law Table Updates for Accounting Changes
- Infraction Accounting Splits Impacted – New DCXT Entries Made
- BIT Changes - CLJ Production Universe
- BIT Changes - Accounting Universe
Court Changes Needed – Court Profile Maintenance Screen and Collections Profile
Due to both this bill and Court Rule changes allowing a violator 30 days to respond to infractions and 33 days to respond to infractions that are mailed to the violator, all courts of limited jurisdiction must update their Auto FTR Selection for Infractions field of the Court Profile Maintenance (CPFM) screen to at least 30 days. This number of days field determines when an infraction is eligible for FTA Eligibility on the Eligibility Report or for FTA Selection if using the FTA Automatic Selection Process.
NOTE: While reviewing/modifying the Court Profile Maintenance (CPFM) screen, please make sure the entry in the “Remit Overpayments” field reads $0.00 effective January 2, 2022 due to ESSB 5531 – Revised Uniform Unclaimed Property Act from the 2022 Washington Legislative Session.
Because new RCW 46.63.190(4) states that unpaid monetary obligations cannot be sent to collections sooner than 90 days from the date of the infraction, courts should review their collection profiles to make sure their Collection Type Options settings for Infraction Traffic, Infraction Non-Traffic, and Parking Infractions is set up to adhere to this new number of days. The collection process is set up individually at each court using the Collection Profile Options screens. Courts should review both the Case Type Options (CTO) selection criteria for each of these three case types and their Collection Notice Text (CTX) to make sure it complies with the 90 days from issuance language. Courts may need to modify their Court Notice Profile (CNP) to see if the number of Grace Days needs modified.
Additionally, since each court determines their Parking Delinquency Days to determine the number of days prior to the Automated Parking Delinquency process running on Parking/Photo Enforced citations, please review your courts settings in the Parking Delinquency Days table.
Failure to Respond, Appear, Pay, and Comply handling at DOL
Due to the Thurston County Superior Court ruling in Pierce v. DOL the Washington State Department of Licensing (DOL) had not been generating license suspensions for the issuance of FTA’s on Infractions from JIS as they were unable to determine the reason for the FTA and if it was issued due to failure to pay or not. (See eService Answer – Impacts to FTAs due to Pierce v. DOL for the specific details of the ruling.) Once changes are implemented on January 1, 2023, DOL will once again begin processing suspension actions based on authorized reasons for the issuance of the FTAs. However, DOL is changing the title of the section of the Abstract of Driving Record (ADR) that indicates an FTA has been issued to make the section a more generic title; rather than being titled “Failure to Appear” it will now be titled “Unresolved Traffic Citations”. Each case submitted to DOL with a reason code for the FTA that allows suspensions will be listed in the Unresolved Traffic Citation section, along with the reason provided for the FTA. Only cases with an FTA reason of Fail to Appear, Fail to Respond, and Fail to Comply (Criminal Cases Only) will be eligible for suspension actions. FTAs issues with a reason of Fail to Pay will not appear in the new Unresolved Traffic Citations section and will not result in any suspension actions.
Accumulation of Traffic Tickets and Safe Driving Course at DOL
DOL will also begin tracking when a person has an Accumulation of Traffic Tickets (AT) due to this bill. When an individual is suspended for AT the action will show in the “Withdrawals” section of the ADR. These individuals must take a Safe Driving Course prior to being able to reinstate their driving privileges. Someone that has this requirement will list the Safe Driving Course as a reinstatement requirement showing in “Reinstatement Requirements” section of their ADR.
JIS FTA Screen Changes
In order for courts to indicate the reason for the issuance of the FTA, changes had to be made in JIS to indicate the reason. The following screen changes will be implemented on January 1, 2023.
- Moved the FTA status up to the case line followed by the new FTA reason description.
- The Party fields have been moved to the left.
- Removed one of the blank lines after the case line.
- Reason descriptions have been added to the order line.
- The Notify DOL (Y/N): and messages have been moved to the right.
- Adjudication reasons have been moved.
- Reason descriptions will display for user to choose when manually preparing an FTA.
NOTE: Effective January 1, 2023, any new FTA’s Ordered on a case will require a reason code to be added. FTA’s Ordered or Issued prior to January 1, 2023 will not be updated to add a reason code. If a court wants to add a reason code so DOL can take suspension action, the court will need to Adjudicate the old FTA and add a new one using the reason codes.
When the FTA is Ordered, the docket entry will include the reason for the FTA.
JIS FTA Auto-selection Process Changes
The FTA Auto Selection Process had to be updated in order to automatically select the cases that are eligible and include a reason for the issuance. In order to include the reason code, different selection criteria had to be defined. The selection criteria is described in both the Initiate FTA Auto Selection Process manual page as well as in the FTA Process manual page section Order FTAs: Auto-Select.
A new exception has been added to the FTA Automatic Selection Exception Report to indicate when a case appears to be eligible for an FTA but no reason could be determined by the Auto-Select Process. In those cases, the court will need to go to the FTA screen to order the FTA and include the proper reason for issuance.
Note: The auto-select process still only works for Infraction Traffic cases. Criminal Cases still must be ordered on the FTA screen.
JABS ADR Screen Changes
DOL will be changing the section of the ADR that was previously titled “Failure to Appear” to read “Unresolved Traffic Citations” effective January 1, 2023. Only an ADR that contains an FTA with a Reason Code that they will take suspension actions on will appear in this section moving forward; an FTA for reason Fail to Pay will not appear on the ADR. Additionally, the reason code will now display along with the case details for each charge with an active FTA.
AOC is making the same changes to the ADR that will display in JABS when doing a Person Search – ADR Search or looking at the ADR Tab that displays for a person.
Uniform Infraction/Citation Form Changes
A number of changes were made to the Notice of Infraction authorized by the Uniform Infraction/Citation Committee (UICC) due to the language changes in statute made by ESSB 5226. Additional requested changes were also incorporated into the updates, in order to make the violator copy of the tickets easier for the violator to know the specific details that are most important for them, including their rights and the courts contact details. Examples of the top of the violator copies are provided below.
Notice of Infraction:
For all of the details regarding the changes made to both forms, please see the email from Judge Ringus, Chair of the UICC, located at the bottom of the eService Answer – Criminal Citation and Notice of Infraction Forms Update. Samples of the new paper ticket formats can be found in Inside Courts on the Notice of Infraction/Criminal Citations Forms page. Samples of the new SECTOR ticket formats can be found attached to the bottom of this eService Answer.
The Washington State Patrol (WSP) will have the new format available for use on January 1, 2023 for all officers utilizing the SECTOR application. Law Enforcement Agencies have been advised that they will need to purchase new paper ticket books for use for anyone not utilizing SECTOR, also effective January 1, 2023; no grace period will be allowed to use up old ticket books.
These changes also impact Parking Infractions and Photo Enforced Infractions. Courts with local Parking Infraction forms and Photo Enforced Infraction forms generated by a vendor will need to resubmit their forms to AOC to get their forms re-approved to confirm that they match the updated language and changes required. For more information on the process of getting these forms approved by AOC, please review eService Answer – AOC Approval of Parking and Photo Enforcement Forms.
Infraction Penalty Increase – Law Table Updates for Accounting Changes
The bill increases the Legislative Assessment fee from $20 to $24 as well as an additional $2 as part of the JTR/JTX Cost Fee Code, which will increase most Infraction Traffic penalties by $6. Due to the, rounding rules defined in IRLJ 6.2, some fine penalty totals will be increasing by more than $6 and laws for RCW 46.61.212 and 46.61.527, in which the Legislative Assessment fee is not applied, will increase only by $2. All laws will be sent to WSP for loading into SECTOR in December 2022, so the updates will be available for officers to use effective January 1, 2023.
After December 13, 2022, your court may run a BIT report Laws, Statewide and Local Sorted by Law Number to get a list of law changes to statewide and local laws. (BIT > Public Folders > Court > CLJ Statewide Reports > Laws, Statewide and Local Sorted by Law Number) When running the report enter your Court Initials and use the date 12/31/2022 for the End Dated Laws (From field). The results will show traffic Infraction laws end dated 12/31/2022 and the new infraction law entry effective 1/1/2023 with the new penalty amount.
Infraction Accounting Splits Impacted – New DCXT Entries Made
A new Remittance Group was created for the DOL Technical Support sub-account for sending the additional fine portions to DOL. New BARS Codes were created for the new sub group, for the LGA cost fee code, and for the JTR/JTX cost fee code.
The County Department Cross Reference Codes (DCXT) report and DCXT Tables are also being updated to add the new BARS Codes and sub accounts where appropriate. If a court had a local city/county department code connected to one of the existing BARS Codes for the LGA or JTR/JTX codes, those local codes are automatically copied over to the updated entries on the DCXT Table. However, if a city or county treasurer would like a local code added to the DCXT table for the new DOL sub-account BARS Code, the court will need to add the local code themselves manually. Mini-demos are available, along with the instructions on searching and adding entries within the DCXT Tables manual page.
BIT Changes - CLJ Production Universe
The following FTA Reason Codes and descriptions have been added to the CLJ Universe in BIT:
- C - Failed to Comply
- A - Failed to Appear
- P - Failed to Pay
- R - Failed to Respond
The following existing BIT reports have been updated to include the new FTA Reason Codes:
- FTA Reports - FTAS Issued
- FTA Reports - FTAS Ordered
For each report the FTA Reason Code has been added as an optional prompt in the query, so the courts can limit the report results based on a specific reason, and the reports will now display a column that contains the FTA Reason Description.
BIT Changes - Accounting Universe
The following new Remit Group and BARS Codes added for the accounting changes are being added to the CLJ Accounting Universe.
- 98 - Driver Licensing Tech Support
- 386.89.26 - DOL Tech Supp
- 353.10.17 - Legislative Assessment
- 353.10.18 - JIS Trauma TBI
No reports have been added modified for the accounting changes at this time. For more information on the specific accounting changes made, see JIS Release Notes for January 1, 2023 - ESSB 5226 JIS Accounting Release Notes.