North Carolina Traffic Ticket Dismissal
So you received a traffic ticket that you don’t think you deserve. The good news is, if you can fight it successfully, you’re not stuck with it. However, keep in mind that there is some risk involved if you decide to fight your citation. If you don’t reach a plea agreement before your first hearing, you could lose your chance to plea bargain for a reduced charge once the date for your trial is set. So if you’re not completely confident that you can dismiss your ticket, you may want to go with another option.
If you know you were wrongly ticketed, the process to dismiss a traffic ticket in North Carolina is as follows:
- Inform the court: The only way to enter a not guilty plea is by going to your court and doing so in person on the hearing date listed on on your citation.
- Consider hiring an attorney: A traffic ticket lawyer can offer you the best legal advice when it comes to dismissing your ticket. And if you’re not able to dismiss your citation, a lawyer can help you reach a plea bargain agreement for lesser charges.
- Build your case: Gather all the facts from the incident, call witnesses if applicable, and organize your argument so you’re prepared to present your case in court.
- Plead your case: Present your case to the presiding judge. The judge will make a decision and tell you the verdict.
If You are Found Guilty
If the judge rules that you are guilty of the traffic offense, you will have to pay the North Carolina traffic fines associated with your ticket, on top of the court fees you paid. In addition, you will have points added to your driving record, and if you reach 12 points within a 3-year period, your drivers license could be suspended. A North Carolina suspended license means finding alternative transportation and paying to have your license reinstated.
Luckily, when you do reinstate your drivers license, your record will be free of points. If you’re not at the point of suspension, you may be eligible for a driver improvement clinic, which removes 3 points from your driving record. This is a good option to have, since added points on your record could cause your car insurance rate to increase.
If You are Found Not Guilty
If you are successful in dismissing your traffic ticket in North Carolina, you won’t have to deal with ticket fines or any other penalties. However, no matter what the verdict is, you should check your driving record to ensure that it’s accurate. Mistakes can be made, and you don’t want the violation to appear if you were not convicted of the violation. You also don’t want the wrong number of points applied to your driving record, even if you were found guilty.
A Note on Plea Bargains
On your trial date, before your case is called, you have the chance to negotiate a plea deal with the assistant district attorney. Each case is different, but you may be able to have your moving violation exchanged for a guilty plea to a non-moving violation. This way you can prevent points from being added to your driving record and avoid a higher auto insurance premium. The assistant district attorney may also give you a reduced charge if you carry out conditional demands, such as a driver improvement course or a set number of community service hours.
There is a myriad of options when it comes to North Carolina traffic tickets. But no matter what you decide to do, the most important thing is that you correct your bad driving behaviors and drive safely in the future.