What is a PJC?

If you’ve ever asked what is a prayer for judgement continued, or more simply what is a PJC then this article is for you. A PJC is the acronym for Prayer for Judgement Continued. Some people refer to it as a “get out of jail free card” because it’s somewhat a free pass. For many, knowing when to use a Prayer for Judgement Continued is complicated. If used correctly a PJC can prevent increased insurance rates, points on your driving record, and driver’s license suspensions. If you read our recent post about the top five questions about traffic violations you probably have an idea about how complex PJC’s can be.

Exactly What is a Prayer For Judgement Continued?

A prayer for judgement continued means a person is technically pleading guilty except the judgement 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. Only a judge can grant a Prayer for Judgement Continued. A prayer for judgement continued is not a right; a judge’s decision to grant or decline your PJC is totally within his or her discretion.

When Should I Use a PJC?

You shouldn’t attempt to use a prayer for judgement without speaking to an experienced traffic ticket attorney first. Generally the best thing to do when charged with a traffic violation is to attempt to get it dismissed. The next best thing is to see if the district attorney is willing to reduce your traffic violation to a nonmoving violation such as, improper equipment.

There are three main instances when you should consider a Prayer For Judgement Continued:

  1. avoiding DMV points or insurance points,
  2. preventing license suspensions or revocations, or
  3. avoiding hefty fines.

Generally a good time to use a prayer for judgement would be for any conviction for speeding over 80 mph when the speed limit is 70 mph or higher. It would be a good idea to use a PJC in that scenario because that conviction carries 3 DMV points (points on your NC driver’s license) and 4 insurance points (points that cause your insurance to rise).

Another good time to use a prayer for judgement is for any charge for driving while license revoked (DWLR) if you are unable to get it reduced or dismissed. The reason it would be a good idea to use a PJC for a DWLR charge is because a conviction for DWLR would suspend your license for an additional year.

The last type of common scenario to use a PJC would be to avoid a serious fine. For example speeding in a work-zone or school-zone has a penalty of a $250.00 fine in addition to court costs. A PJC in this scenario would mean that you wouldn’t have to pay a hefty fine just the court costs.

Are There Any Limitations When I Can Use A PJC?

There are four scenarios where you are always ineligible to use a Prayer for Judgement Continued:

  1. driving while intoxicated,
  2. passing a stopped school bus,
  3. speeding over 25 miles over the speed limit, and
  4. any conviction if the driver possess a commercial driving license.

An individual may use one PJC every three years per household for insurance point purposes and two Prayer for Judgements every five years for DMV points. This means that if you, your spouse, your children, or parents are all on the insurance plan you all have to use your PJC’s responsibly.

Some states don’t recognize Prayer for Judgements. Be sure to consult with an attorney to decide if your state will accept a North Carolina Prayer for Judgement.

Can I Use a PJC for Charges Other Than Traffic Violations?

Generally, you can use a Prayer for Judgement for certain misdemeanors. There are a few benefits to using a PJC for a misdemeanor but generally it’s not a great idea. A PJC is not a conviction but it will show up on background checks. Since a Prayer for Judgement isn’t a conviction it won’t render you ineligible for some jobs and other opportunities. For example, when completing job applications a person who used a PJC wouldn’t have to include it as a conviction. Of course, it’s usually better to fully disclose upfront but, you weren’t technically convicted of a crime.

Since it is not a conviction you cannot get it expunged. For the purposes of determining your criminal record level, district attorneys will often count a PJC as a conviction. If you are planning on enlisting in the military it’s a bad idea to ask a judge for a PJC. This is a bad idea regardless if it’s for either a traffic violation or a misdemeanor. Prayer for judgements are not convictions or final judgements the military may view the PJC as an unresolved legal matter. Any unresolved legal matters, even for traffic tickets, may block a person from enlisting in the military.

Is a Prayer for Judgement Continued Right for My Case?

Every situation is different! The nature of the charge, the county of the charge, and your driving record are all important considerations. Stowe Law Firm, PLLC can certainly help you determine if you should use a Prayer for Judgement. If you have any questions about Prayer for Judgements or if a PJC is right for you contact us now for a free consultation. If you need help immediately you can always call us at 704-856-9502.

Categories: Traffic Violations

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Ryan Stowe is the principal attorney at Stowe Law Firm, PLLC. Mr. Stowe is proud to be practicing in his hometown of Salisbury, NC, and is a first generation Rowan County attorney. Mr. Stowe takes pride in being a criminal defense attorney. He focuse…

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