Traffic Violation Information
If you believe that you or someone close to you may have a Traffic matter and may require legal counsel, please fill out the contact form. Below are some important information regarding a Traffic Violations or Speeding Ticket issue.
Law enforcement officers have gotten vigorous in issuing traffic citations or tickets. These include Speeding, Speeding in Work Zone, Speeding in a School Zone, Improper Turn, Passing a Red Light, Passing a Stop Sign, Improper Passing, Reckless Driving, High Occupancy Vehicle Lane Violations, Unsafe Movement, and Improper Equipment.I have a Speeding charge more than 25 miles over the limit. Can I get a Prayer for Judgment Continued ("PJC")?
The officer said that if I go to Traffic School and get a Prayer for Judgment Continued (PJC), my traffic ticket won't go on my insurance. Is that true? top
Not necessarily. After giving you one or more traffic tickets, the officer may then gratuitously give possibly faulty advice about how you should handle the ticket that he just gave you. The Officer may encourage you to go to the Driving School (Defensive Driving School) to get a Prayer for Judgment Continued (PJC), telling you that your insurance and/or drivers license won't be affected.
The officer has to give me correct advice, so should I just follow his advice? top
No. The officer who just gave you a citation is not your attorney. He may not be knowledgeable about Traffic law. He is obligated to act as a police officer not as your lawyer, even if he means well. Your best interests will be served by an experienced Traffic attorney who is knowledgeable about Traffic law, Traffic courts and the insurance system AND who is legally obligated to fight for you. Many people unwittingly follow the officer's advice and find out months later that their insurance premiums are skyrocketing, or even that their driver's license is now revoked or suspended.
Wouldn't it be easier and/or cheaper to just mail in a check and pay it? top
Probably not. When you mail in your traffic ticket, it is a guilty plea that frequently cannot be reversed, even if you say that you were relying upon the officer's advice. You may lose your driver’s license and/or have an increase in your insurance, depending on your record. And it is not unheard of that payments that have been mailed in end up lost in a busy traffic court clerk's office, resulting in a revocation/suspension of your driver's license.
Wouldn't it be cheaper to just go to court by myself? top
Probably not. After already having spent time in traffic getting to court, then looking for parking, often people spend hours in a crowded courtroom waiting to be heard. When their traffic case is finally called, they are then on their own, going head to head with a prosecutor, who is an experienced lawyer whose intention is most often to get a conviction. And the prosecutor can NOT, will NOT and should NOT give you advice as to how your traffic conviction will affect your driver’s license or insurance. An experienced traffic lawyer knows how to present your case in the most favorable light, when to present it and to whom it should be presented.
The officer said he would tell the judge that I was cooperative and help me out when we go to Traffic court. top
You are probably better served by having an experienced lawyer in your corner than the officer who just gave you the ticket, a lawyer who is legally & ethically bound to advocate for your interests.
But it's just a traffic ticket, right? top
Not necessarily. Some traffic tickets are Misdemeanors and your guilty plea constitutes a criminal conviction, which becomes a public record for future employers, colleagues, customers, busy-bodies, etc to see.
I was charged with Passing a Stopped School Bus. What can I do? top
The law currently prohibits the granting of a Prayer for Judgment Continued ("PJC") in these types of cases. It also defines this as a Class 1 Misdemeanor, making it a criminal offense, in addition to the steep North Carolina DMV Driver License points and Insurance increases. Therefore, it is advisable to be prepared to go to trial on these cases advocate for the most advantageous result. And to reject the officer's gratuitous entreaty to "go the Driving School" for a PJC that the law will not recognize!
I have a Commercial Drivers License. Can I get a Prayer for Judgment Continued ("PJC")? top
No! The law will not recognize the PJC and your conviction will stand as it is. Don't you're your livelihood on a self-inflicted and useless PJC. Therefore, it is advisable to be prepared to go to trial on these cases advocate for the most advantageous result. And to reject the officer's gratuitous entreaty to "go the "Driving School" for a PJC that the law will not recognize!
I have a Speeding charge more than 25 miles over the limit. Can I get a Prayer for Judgment Continued ("PJC")? top
No! The law will not recognize the PJC and your conviction will stand as it is. Don't risk your livelihood on a self-inflicted and useless PJC. Therefore, it is advisable to be prepared to go to trial on these cases to advocate for the most advantageous result and to reject the officer's gratuitous entreaty to go the "Driving School" for a PJC that the law will not recognize!
North Carolina Drivers License Points System
|Traffic Violation Conviction||POINT VALUE|
|Passing a stopped school bus loading or unloading children||5|
|Hit and run, property damage only||4|
|Following too closely||4|
|Driving on wrong side of road||4|
|Failure to yield right-of-way to pedestrian pursuant to GS 20-158(b)(2)b.||4|
|Failure to yield right-of-way to bicycle motor scooter, or motorcycle||4|
|Running through stop sign||3|
|Speeding more than 55 mph||3|
|Speeding through a school zone||3|
|Failure to yield right of way||3|
|No driver's license or license expired more than one year||3|
|Running through red light||3|
|Failure to stop for siren||3|
|Speeding through safety zone||3|
|Failure to report accident where such report is required||3|
|No liability insurance||3|
|All other moving violations||2|
|Littering involving a motor vehicle||1|
Schedule of point values for conviction of violations while operating a commercial motor vehicle:
|Passing a stopped school bus loading or unloading children||8|
|Rail-highway crossing violation||6|
|Careless and Reckless driving in violation of G.S. 20-140(f)||6|
|Speeding in violation of G. S. 20-141(j3)||6|
|Hit and run, property damage only||5|
|Following too closely||5|
|Driving on wrong side of road||5|
|Failure to yield right-of-way to pedestrian pursuant to GS 20-158(b)(2)b.||5|
|Failure to yield right-of-way to bicycle motor scooter, or motorcycle||5|
|Running through stop sign||4|
|Speeding more than 55 mph||4|
|Speeding through a school zone||4|
|Failure to yield right of way||4|
|No driver's license or license expired more than one year||4|
|Running through red light||4|
|Failure to stop for siren||4|
|Speeding through safety zone||4|
|Failure to report accident where such report is required||4|
|Possessing alcoholic beverage in the passenger area of a commercial motor vehicle||3|
|All other moving violations||3|
|Littering involving a motor vehicle||1|
No points shall be assessed for convictions of the following offenses:
- Over loads
- Over length
- Over width
- Over height
- Illegal parking
- Carrying concealed weapon
- Improper plates
- Improper registration
- Improper muffler
- Improper display of license plates or dealer's tags
- Unlawful display of emblems and insignia
- Failure to display current inspection certificate
Any person who commits an offense for which points may be assessed for violations while operating a commercial motor vehicle may be assessed double the amount of any fine or penalty authorized by statute.
Table of Insurance Points (North Carolina Insurance Points System)
- Manslaughter (or negligent homicide) resulting from the operation of a motor vehicle. (Felony)
- Prearranged highway racing or knowingly lending a motor vehicle to be used in a prearranged race.(Felony)
- Failure to stop and render aid when involved in an accident resulting in bodily injury or death (hit-and-run driving) (Felony)
- Impaired driving, including driving a vehicle while under the influence of an impairing substance; driving a vehicle with an alcohol concentration of 0.08% or more; and driving a commercial vehicle with an alcohol concentration of 0.04% or more (a revocation pursuant to G.S. ¤20-16.5 is not a conviction). (Misdemeanor)
- Transportation of intoxicating liquors for the purpose of sale. (Misdemeanor)
- Highway racing (not prearranged) or knowingly lending a motor vehicle to be used in the race.
- Speeding to Elude
- Operating a motor vehicle during a period of revocation or suspension of either the driver's license or vehicle registration. (Misdemeanor)
- Failure to stop and report when involved in a motor vehicle accident resulting in property damage only (hit-and-run). (Misdemeanor)
- Reckless driving. (Misdemeanor)
- Passing a stopped school bus. Speeding in excess of 75 miles per hour (mph) when posted limit is less that 70 mph. (Misdemeanor)
- Speeding in excess of 80 mph when limit is 70 mph or greater
- Driving by a person under 21 after consuming alcohol or drugs
- Illegal passing
- Speeding more than 10 mph over the limit, if total speed was in excess of 55 mph but less than 76 mph.
- Speeding 10 miles or less in excess of limit in speed zone of 55 or greater*
- Following too closely.
- Driving on the wrong side of the road.
- Speeding 10 mph or less in excess of a speed limit of less than 55 mph*
- Any other moving violation.
Insurance Surcharge Table
|Number Of Insurance Points||INCREASE|
Effective for offenses committed on or after December 1, 2011, a person convicted of impaired driving must be sentenced at Level One punishment (mandating a 30 day minimum in jail, maximum of 2 years in jail) of there was a child under chronological age 18 OR an adult with the mental development of a child under age 18 OR a person with a physical disability that prevented them from exiting the vehicle on their own.
Stopping patterns at vehicle checkpoints.
Effective December 1, 2011, the law now requires law enforcement agencies to designate in advance a pattern for stopping vehicles at checkpoints AND also prohibits law enforcement from basing a stopping pattern on a particular vehicle
Effective December 1, 2011, the onerous "Laura's Law" could even increase punishment for a second-time DWI offense by establishing an "Aggravated Level One" punishment. This law mandates 12 months in prison if there are three or more Grossly Aggravating factors. Some of the more onerous applications that would require one year in jail would be if the defendant had a prior conviction from six years ago, never resolved their DWI related suspension and had a child in the car OR had two prior convictions from 6 years ago and never resolved their DWI related suspension. The defendant who receives this sentence of imprisonment must be released four months before the end of the maximum and be placed on post-release supervision. They must abstain from alcohol during this period and it must be verified by 24/7 monitoring system.
"Laura's Law" also provides for a permanent license revocation for this defendant and requires an ignition interlock if the person's license is restored.
Effective for offenses committed on or after January 1, 2012 a new statute provides for a civil revocation of a limited learner's permit or provisional license of a person under age 18 if the person is charged with a "criminal moving violation" as defined in that statute. An example of this could be a Speeding more than 15 miles over the limit or in excess of 80 MPH. This new statute appears to require the officer to arrest the young motorist and bring them before the magistrate who may immediately revoke their privilege.
As an attorney with over twenty years of criminal defense experience and as a Certified Specialist in State Criminal Law, these are questions that I will look at in determining strategies to represent you in court. Depending on your case, there may be other ways to get a case handled. Call me or fill out the contact form for an individualized assessment of your case.
THE COURT SYSTEM IS VERY COMPLICATED AND THE LAW CHANGES DAILY. I CAN ANSWER THESE AND OTHER QUESTIONS ABOUT CRIMINAL LAW. I HAVE OVER 25 YEARS OF CRIMINAL DEFENSE EXPERIENCE AND HAVE BEEN CERTIFIED BY THE NORTH CAROLINA STATE BAR AS A SPECIALIST IN STATE CRIMINAL LAW.