NC Traffic Tickets: 3 Harmful Consequences

January 5, 2017 – Published by Robinson Law Firm

If you drive long enough, it’s just a matter of time before you’re stopped by an officer and issued that dreaded traffic ticket. Your encounter with the officer will only last a few minutes before you’ll be allowed to continue on your way. During this interaction, the officer will advise that you can pay off the ticket or if you choose to go to court he will speak to the prosecutor on your behalf because you were polite and cooperative.  Immediately you begin to consider whether you should pay off the ticket or go to court and let the officer and prosecutor help. You convince yourself that the process is simple and that the officer and prosecutor will assist you if it gets confusing.  After all, the officer said he would speak to the prosecutor on your behalf. Beware! The mindset you have been lulled into could result in a number of negative consequences. If you are convicted of the charge you could face the suspension of your driver’s license, the assignment of motor points that could suspend your driver’s license, and your insurance premiums could skyrocket.

A Conviction Could Suspend Your Drivers License.

A conviction for a single traffic ticket (example: speeding more than 15 mph over the posted limit if driving at a speed higher than 55 mph; speeding over 75 mph), even with a clean record, can result in the suspension of your driver’s license. And, in combination with a prior conviction (example: two convictions for speeding over 55 mph; a conviction for speeding over 55 mph and careless and reckless driving; two convictions for careless and reckless driving) in the same twelve-month period can result in the suspension of your driver’s license.  A conviction for a more serious motor vehicle violation (example: death by vehicle; assault with a vehicle; willful/prearranged racing), even with a clean record, can result in the suspension of your driver’s license.  Suspensions can range from 30 days to a permanent revocation of your driver’s license. 

A Conviction Results In Motor Vehicle Points.

All drivers, with the exception of provisional licensees (a person under the age of 18), hold their license subject to a 12-point system. Provisional licensees do not operate under this system and can have their license suspended after convictions for two tickets.  If you accumulate as many as 12 points within a three-year period, your license can be suspended. The first suspension is 60 days; the second suspension is 6 months; and the third 12 months. If you accumulate 7 points, you could be required to attend a DMV driver improvement clinic. Motor vehicle points are assigned based on the offense committed, and range from 1 pt. (littering) to 5 points (passing a stopped school bus). The assignment of points is significantly greater than the range noted if the violation occurred while operating a commercial vehicle. Motor vehicle points are not assigned for vehicle equipment and registration violations. You should be aware that convictions for traffic violations occurring outside North Carolina also result in the assignment of motor vehicle points if reported back to North Carolina.

A Conviction Results In Insurance Points.

Insurance points are assigned based on convictions for moving violations that appear on your DMV drivers history and “at-fault accidents.” Motor vehicle points and insurance points are not numerically the same (example: a conviction for careless and reckless driving results in 5 motor vehicle points, but only 4 insurance points).  State law created insurance points to give drivers a financial incentive to practice safe driving habits.  Insurance points cause significant increases in the insurance premiums you pay to operate a vehicle.  The points range from 1 (30% increase) to 12 (340% increase). 

Insurance points are also assigned if you are “at fault” in causing an accident. If you caused the accident, you may be issued a traffic ticket.  Thereafter, your insurance may pay the other driver’s claims for damages. In this situation, the prosecutor will often dismiss your traffic ticket.  Despite this dismissal, you will still be assigned insurance points because you were considered “at-fault.” In addition to insurance points, your insurance carrier may determine that you are a “high-risk driver” because of prior traffic convictions or “at-fault” accidents, and increase your insurance premium even further.

There are two exceptions to the assignment of insurance points. No points are assigned if you were able to convince the court to grant a “prayer for judgment continued” (PJC), provided no other driver on the insurance policy has had a PJC within the same 3-year experience period. This PJC exception does not apply if the offense occurred in a work or school zone. The second exception is if you are convicted of speeding 10 mph or less over the posted speed limit and you have clean record in the 3-year experience period. Again, this exception does not apply if the speeding offense occurred in a work or school zone.

How The Robinson Law Firm Can Help You.

What you should recognize by now is that the traffic ticket you received is not as simple as you initially thought or were led to believe. The consequences of a conviction could be the suspension of your driver’s license, assignment of unneeded motor vehicle points, or the assignment of insurance points that could cost you thousands in increased insurance premiums. The prosecutor and officer are legally and ethically prohibited from giving you any advice as to the proper resolution of your traffic ticket. 

The proper resolution of your traffic ticket should include an examination of your driving history, as well as the driving history of other drivers who are insured on your policy. It should also include an examination of whether you were properly charged and whether you are guilty of the violation alleged. The ultimate goal is a dismissal of the charge or a resolution that will not appear on your DMV drivers history. If the resolution does not appear on your driver’s history, you will not be assigned any motor vehicle or insurance points and therefore, there will be no effect on your driver’s license or insurance premiums.

The Robinson Law Firm has over 30 years experience helping drivers avoid the loss of their driver’s license and the payment of increased insurance premiums. 

If you received a traffic ticket, contact The Robinson Law Firm immediately to get the help you need and deserve to determine the best way to resolve your ticket to avoid adverse consequences. All consultations are free of charge.

Call The Robinson Law Firm – (252) 758-4100.

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