By: South Sound Law Group

What Is the Difference Between Moving and Non-Moving Violations?


The key is in the name of each. A moving violation involves an infraction committed by a driver while a vehicle is in motion, while a non-moving violation is an infraction committed by a driver while the vehicle is not in motion. Besides that, moving violations have more severe consequences than non-moving violations. 

What Constitutes a Moving Violation?

Pretty much anything that’s not legal that’s done while someone is driving a vehicle. That includes everything from more serious allegations of driving while under the influence (DUI) or with open bottles, speeding, using electronic devices while driving, driving without working head- or taillights, not having children adequately secured in the vehicle, hit-and-runs, and driving on the wrong side of the road, to less dangerous but still chargeable offenses such as prohibited turns, violating license restrictions, or disobeying road signs.

The list is long, and many drivers haven’t thought about it since they took driver’s ed. For a refresher, the Washington State Legislature website has a thorough list. It never hurts to review and remind ourselves what the laws of the road are since ignorance of the law excuses no one.

Moving violations can each create higher-risk situations for drivers, passengers, other vehicles on the roads, and pedestrians. That’s why tickets for these types of violations tend to cause increases in personal auto insurance rates—these drivers are considered riskier to insure.

When someone receives a moving violation ticket, they have 15 days to respond to the court. Failure to respond, or if there are multiple moving violations in a short period, the person’s driver’s license could be suspended.   

What Are Non-Moving Violations?

Basically, these are violations that happen when vehicles are not in motion. That includes parking tickets, equipment violations, or paperwork issues involving auto insurance, driver’s licenses, or vehicle registrations.

Non-moving violations are considered lesser infractions, but in Washington State, they are still added to your driving record and will remain there for three years. These types of violations don’t tend to cause increases in car insurance rates because, for the most part, they don’t indicate that someone’s a higher-risk driver. However, being ticketed for not having car insurance could cause a subsequent insurance policy to be higher than it would have been before being ticketed.

As with moving violation tickets, people who receive a non-moving violation ticket have 15 days to respond. While their license won’t be suspended if they don’t respond, the ticket and accompanying fine could be sent to collections. That, in turn, could increase the cost of the fine and hurt credit ratings.

Let Us Advise You

Traffic violations can be frustrating and confusing. Call us at 253-465-2722 to gain insight and support from one of our experienced lawyers.