Speeding tickets and traffic violations in North Carolina can be resolved in various ways. Every traffic citation is different, and what’s worse is that every county handles North Carolina traffic violations differently. Generally hiring a North Carolina traffic attorney will get you the best outcome for your speeding ticket. A North Carolina traffic lawyer will also know the local rules for the county that you received your ticket.
Your traffic ticket isn’t likely to be dismissed unless your ticket was for a “fixable issue.” Fixable issues include tickets for: driving without insurance, no operator’s license, or driving without registration. All of these citations are things that can be fixed. For example you can update the registration on your car before going to court. Similarly, if your North Carolina traffic ticket is for “no operators license” most counties in NC will dismiss the traffic violation if you show up to court with a new driver's license.
Another reason a traffic violation is likely to get dismissed is if it is part of a plea arrangement. For example, if you have multiple citations that all have court for the same day, some of the charges will likely get dismissed because others won’t. Don’t count on a dismissal just because you don’t think you were speeding. Trust us it won’t work!
Improper Equipment is one of the most common resolutions to a North Carolina speeding ticket. Improper Equipment is a non-moving violation and it will not affect your car insurance or your North Carolina DMV Points. Fortunately, Improper Equipment shows up on your driving record rather than the original charge. Since Improper Equipment does not cause car insurance rates to increase or add points to your driving record, typically outside of a dismissal, this is the best outcome for your traffic ticket. A person who is lucky enough to have their ticket reduced to Improper Equipment is only assigned the cost of court and a fine.
Every county has different rules for when an assistant district attorney can offer Improper Equipment. The District Attorney’s Office in Rowan County determines who is eligible for an Improper Equipment for a Rowan County speeding ticket based upon the driving history of the driver and how fast the person was driving.
A prayer for judgment continued means a person is technically pleading guilty except the judgment is continued indefinitely. This means that although you plead guilty to a traffic violation you will not be assessed the normal penalties.
For example, if you plead guilty for a speeding ticket, you will generally get hit with points on your license and your insurance. However, if you plead guilty to a speeding ticket and use a PJC you will not be punished with points on your license or your insurance. Similarly, if you plead guilty to a speeding ticket in a work-zone or a school-zone and use a PJC you will not be hit with the hefty fine associated with those traffic violations.
Only a judge can grant a prayer for judgment continued. A prayer for judgment continued is not a right; a judge’s decision to grant or decline your PJC is totally within his or her discretion. Using a prayer for judgment for a North Carolina speeding ticket should never be a first resort. For a more detailed discussion please visit our article on prayer for judgment continued.
A reduction to 9 over or 5 over is sometimes the best option. The court fees for this reduction are less than for an Improper Equipment.
As it relates to insurance points (points that cause your insurance to increase), if you have not had a “moving violation” in the past three (3) years — or been in an at-fault accident of $1,800 or less on the insurance policy in the last three years — a reduction to a speed of 10 mph or less over the original charge will not result in insurance points being assessed against you. Remember an Improper Equipment is not a moving violation.
You will be assessed DMV points for speeding less than 10 over the limit. If you are convicted of speeding in a 55 mph zone or higher, you will be punished with 3 DMV points. If the speed is lower than 55mph, then you will only receive 2 DMV points. For most people, getting DMV points isn’t really a big deal. DMV points are only to track that you do not reach 12 points in a three year span. If you receive 12 points within three years your license will be suspended. Your license will also be suspended if you receive 8 points within three years following a DMV license suspension or revocation.
Some tickets can be paid for without going to court. It is almost never a good idea to pay a ticket without going to court. When you pay off a ticket and don’t go to court you are essentially pleading guilty to the ticket as charged. The amount of DMV points and insurance points would depend on your individual ticket. In some instances this will suspend your license.
See our article on the NC DMV point system if you’re interested in learning how most tickets will affect your insurance points. Finally, please visit our blog for a more detailed discussion on why it's such a terribly bad idea to pay off a North Carolina speeding ticket. If you’re dead set on paying a ticket off without going to court at least consult with a North Carolina traffic lawyer first.
Other not so common resolutions for a North Carolina speeding ticket include: 14 over the limit reduction, unsafe movement, failure to reduce speed, and exceeding safe speed. Generally these are used when a person either has a very serious speeding ticket or other traffic violation. The most common reason a North Carolina traffic ticket is reduced to exceeding a safe speed is when a reduction of 9 over would suspend their driver’s license.
The best way to ensure you get the best resolution is to hire an experienced North Carolina speeding ticket attorney. Aside from Improper Equipment and getting your ticket dismissed there is no “one size fits all” resolution. A North Carolina traffic lawyer will evaluate the strength of your case. Additionally a traffic lawyer will analyze your driving record to determine the best way to move forward. If you would like a free consultation with a North Carolina speeding ticket attorney, don’t hesitate to contact Stowe Law Firm.