Q & A: Speeding Citations

I was stopped and the police officer wrote me a traffic ticket. What do I need to do about it. And what happens if I ignore it?

Traffic citations can have serious negative consequences for both your driver's license and insurance rates. You should have an attorney take the appropriate action to prevent you from getting stiff penalties or even loosing your license. Ignoring a ticket almost always results in the Department of Motor Vehicles revoking your license. And if you drive while you license is revoked you can go to jail for it. See the Johnson Law Firm's Question and Answer section on Driving While License Revoked. Speaking to an experienced attorney from the Johnson Law Firm can help you minimize, and often eliminate, the adverse effects of a traffic citation. The Johnson Law Firm strives to benefit its clients in the following ways:

1. A negotiated reduction of your present offence to minimize or eliminate the consequences of your driving record and insurance rates.
2. Outstanding service and results at reasonable fees.
3. The convenience of handling many simple traffic matters by telephone, mail, fax and e-mail.

Many cases can be handled without your presence in Court.

The police officer told me I could go to the Clerk of Court's Office and just pay this ticket off. Should I do this?

Absolutely not. The cost of traffic tickets goes far beyond the original fine. A significant consequence is possibility that your insurance premiums could increase from 25% to 400% after a traffic conviction. Many people just pay the ticket when a knowledgeable attorney in many cases is able to save their driving record and keep their insurance rates from increasing. Traffic violations will follow you for years and can also cause increased penalties for any future violations.

Can you tell me more about these penalties I may face?

Yes, penalties are assessed by using Points which increase your insurance rate. First, a charge of one extra mile per hour on a ticket can be the difference between a fine and the loss of your driver's license. The attorneys at the Johnson Law Firm may be able to save you from loosing your license. Keeping your license can save you from a lot of trouble, such as finding someone to carry you to your place of work as well as the many other places you go in your daily life. One insurance point is a 25% increase, two points a 45% increase, and three points a 65% increase. We have reproduced the chart below to show you the in crease in your rate.
Points Rate Increase Cost if Basic Rate is $300
1 25% $375
2 45% $435
3 65% $495
4 90% $570
5 120% $660
6 150% $750
7 180% $840
8 220% $960
9 260% $1,080
10 300% $1,200
11 350% $1,350
12 400% $1,500
These point come from the North Carolina Safe Driver Incentive Plan (SDIP). The SDIP was enacted by the General Assembly to reward safe drivers with the lowest possible insurance costs. Drivers who are convicted of moving traffic violations and/or cause accidents will be charged higher premiums in accordance with their driving records.

SDIP points are charged as follows for convictions and at-fault accidents occurring during the Experience Period (The three years immediately preceding the date of application of the preparation of the renewal):

12 Points:
Manslaughter or Negligent Homicide
Prearranged Highway Racing or Lending a Car for Prearranged Highway Racing
Hit-and-Run, Bodily Injury or Death
Driving Under the Influence
Driving with a Blood-Alcohol Level Greater than .08%
Driving While Impaired
Transporting Illegal Intoxicating Liquor for Sale

10 Points:
Highway Racing or Lending a Car for Highway Racing
Speeding to elude arrest

8 Points:
Driving During Revocation or Suspension of License or Registration

4 Points:

Reckless Driving
Hit-and-Run, Property Damage Only
Passing a Stopped School Bus
Speeding in Excess of 75 mph or 80 mph in a 70 mph zone
Driving after consuming alcohol, driver under 21

3 Points:
At-Fault Accident Resulting in Bodily Injury over $500 or Death; or Property Damage of $2,500 or More*

2 Points:
Illegal Passing
Speeding in Excess of 55 mph But less than 76 mph
Driving on Wrong Side of Road
At-Fault Accident Resulting in Property Damage in Excess of $1,500, but less than $2,500*

1 Point:
All Other Moving Violations or At-Fault Accidents Resulting in Property Damage of $1500 or less and bodily injury of $500 or less*

* Exceptions apply

Are there situations where I can get a citation for speeding and no Safe Driver Incentive Plan Points will be assessed against me?

Yes. No SDIP Points will be charged for:

Speeding 10 mph or less over the posted speed limit provided:
1. The violation did not occur in a school zone.
2. There is a clean driving record for the previous three years (a single Prayer for Judgment Continued (PJC) will not count as a prior conviction for the purpose of this exception.)

One PJC for each household every three years, provided there are no other PJC's incurred during that time. Only the higher of the accident or violation points will be charged when a person is convicted of a violation in conjunction with an accident.

If I lose my license in North Carolina, can this affect my license in other states. Can I simply go and get a license in another state. Or, if I have a license in another state and get a North Carolina ticket, must I worry about the North Carolina ticket?

Maybe. It depends on whether the state has joined the Non-Resident Violator Compact. North Carolina and most other states and parts of Canada have joined this pact. A license suspension or serious ticket in any member state is the same as a ticket or loss of license in ALL 44 member states. Nonmembers as of January 1996 are: Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Michigan, Montana, Oregon, Puerto Rico, Washington, and Wisconsin. If your license is suspended in North Carolina, you cannot obtain a license in any of the member states until your North Carolina license is restored. If you fail to pay a ticket in North Carolina, your driver's license in North Carolina will be suspended. It is unlikely that you will be able obtain or renew your license in your home state until you have resolved the ticket in North Carolina and had your driving privileges restored here. Most states also exchange information under the National Driver License Compact for serious violations such as DWI's and suspended license due to unpaid tickets in North Carolina. This means that these violations will be charged against your license in your home state. In some states, even less serious out-of-state traffic violations are charged against your license.

If I'm charged with a traffic offense what is the bottom line? What do I need to do?

Hire an attorney to represent you. You will have an experienced professional working hard to get you the most favorable result. An attorney from the Johnson Law Firm can possibly obtain a dismissal or a reduced penalty for you. No one in today's business world can afford to lose his or her license. No one should ever run the risk of driving while their license is revoked because they decided to ignore a traffic citation. The Johnson Law Firm has extensive experience in handling traffic cases in Bladen County. Our office is located at 302 West Broad Street Elizabethtown, North Carolina. Our telephone number is (910) 862-2252.

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