Frequently Asked Questions About Traffic Tickets
The Raleigh traffic ticket attorneys of Kurtz & Blum, PLLC, can assist you if you have received a ticket in Wake County or surrounding areas, including from the North Carolina State Highway Patrol. Get an honest assessment of your case for free today by calling (919) 832-7700.
Below are some of the frequently asked questions (FAQs) our traffic offense attorneys receive, along with general answers based on North Carolina law and our years of experience. Each driver’s case is unique, so you will need to contact us for answers specific to your situation.
What many people overlook with traffic tickets is their compounding effect. By simply paying a ticket, you have one strike on your record. For most traffic offenses, this puts points on your driving record, which allows your insurer to increase your rates. So, now the ticket has cost much more than the fine.
If you get another ticket within three years, the ticket penalty and insurance costs will rise again — steeply.
On top of the fine, you could lose your driver’s license for a single ticket. Sometimes police officers will tell people they can pay their ticket through the mail. But if that ticket was for 15 mph or more over the speed limit, the next thing in the mail will be notice from the DMV that your driver’s license has been suspended for 60 days.
Once one ticket is handled incorrectly, driver’s license problems tend to snowball. It can be complicated and expensive to try to resolve the issues once they get out of control. We know this well as we frequently have to fix mistakes committed by less diligent lawyers.
However, an experienced local traffic offense attorney who does the homework and checks your driving record carefully will know how to handle a particular ticket under a particular set of circumstances.
There are times when some traffic tickets can be dismissed, but much depends on the charge and the prosecutor. Like anyone else, prosecutors have their individual approaches and policies, so hiring a respected lawyer who knows the local landscape can be helpful.
There are some traffic ticket charges a defense attorney can typically get dismissed under the proper circumstances. For example, if you are charged with failing to reduce speed to avoid an accident, we can usually get those charges dismissed if we can show the prosecutor proof that your auto liability insurance carrier is taking care of the damage.
Conversely, the Wake County District Attorney’s Office has a policy to not dismiss speeding tickets and only to reduce them to “improper equipment” under limited, rigid circumstances. A plea to improper equipment can be beneficial as it helps to avoid driver’s license points.That does not mean that dismissals are never achievable. However, we need a pretty good reason for it to become an option.
At Kurtz & Blum, our attorneys have the both the legal and the local knowledge to put forward creative ideas for handling tickets to minimize or entirely avoid the potential insurance and DMV consequences.
Can’t I get a PJC — Prayer for Judgment Continued — for my traffic ticket, and isn’t that just as good as a dismissal?
A prayer for judgment continued, or what is often referred to as a PJC, means that although a person pleads or is found guilty, the court does not enter the conviction. When used appropriately, this can spare a defendant from paying fines and from receiving driver’s license points and insurance points.
However, the law surrounding PJCs is complicated and frequently misunderstood. Sometimes we have clients who think they would benefit from a PJC when, once we look at their driving record, we realize that it would actually hurt them.
The first thing you need to know is that PJCs are of limited use. You are allowed two PJCs within five years for avoiding points on a standard class C driver’s license. If you have a commercial driver’s license, or CDL, a PJC on a speeding case provides no benefit.
A driver is allowed only one PJC every three years per insurance policy for the purposes of keeping tickets from affecting car insurance rates. We have had clients who expected a PJC to keep their insurance rates from going up only to find out that someone else on their insurance policy had already used one within the previous three years.
A good traffic ticket lawyer will check your record and know when it will help to ask for a PJC and when it won’t. Before we resort to using a prayer for judgment, we always look to see whether there are other options available. Since the PJC option is limited, you need to protect them like any other precious resource.
We highly recommend you do not continue to drive if your driver’s license has been suspended or revoked. If you are caught, the penalty for driving while your license is suspended includes a one-year revocation of your driver’s license added to the previous period. If your license had been suspended for 60 days, the initial penalty for having too many points on your driver’s license, one year is a bad trade-up.
Also, if a police officer runs your license plate and the car is registered to you, the officer will be notified that you do not have a valid license. You will then be pulled over and charged.
If your driver’s license is currently suspended or revoked, you should contact Kurtz & Blum about the possibility of having your driving privileges restored. We may be able to fix the problem with your license so that you can get it back, or help you obtain limited driving privileges during your suspension.
A limited driving privilege is a judgment of the court that a driver whose license has been suspended should be allowed to drive for certain specific purposes. These may include:
- Employment (to and from work, and for job duties)
- Education (to and from school)
- Maintenance of one’s household (to a grocery store, doctor, etc.)
- Court-ordered treatment or assessment
- Community service ordered by the court
- To seek medical care in case of an emergency
Obtaining limited driving privileges can be very complicated. Not every driver is eligible. Our knowledgeable attorneys can assess your eligibility and, if limited driving privileges are available, take the steps necessary to get you back on the road.