Traffic Tickets in North Carolina
Traffic tickets are never fun, no matter what state you're in. When you get a ticket in North Carolina, the statute or code number of your violation is listed on your citation, and so are the directions for responding to the ticket. You either pay the fine associated with the ticket or appear in court–the choice is yours. Either way, you must take action. If you don't, you risk having your driver's license suspended, or other, worse consequences.
Moving vs. Non-Moving Violations
There are two different types of violations: moving and non-moving. They're easy to remember: if your vehicle was moving at the time of the violation, you committed a "moving violation". And if your car was not in motion, your violation was non-moving.
Some examples of moving violations include:
- Driving while intoxicated (DWI)
- Running a red light
Non-moving violations can include:
- Parking illegally (in a handicapped zone, etc.)
- Leaving a vehicle unattended and running
- Having expired license plates/no license plates
Drivers License Suspension/Revocation
Your drivers license can be suspended or revoked for a number of reasons pertaining to North Carolina traffic tickets. One of the ways you could end up with suspended/revoked driving privileges is by accruing too many points within a set amount of time.
Each North Carolina traffic violation is assigned a point value. When you get a traffic ticket and are convicted of a violation, the corresponding number of points is added to your driving record, in addition to any fines you may have to pay. If you accumulate 12 points within 3 years, you could have your drivers license suspended. This suspension could last anywhere from 60 days to 12 months, depending on the circumstances. However, once your license is reinstated, your driving record will no longer have any points on it.
This same principle applies to having your license revoked (revocation typically happens after more serious violations). There are some violations that qualify for immediate loss of driving privileges, even if you only commit them once, such as:
- Driving while intoxicated (DWI)
- Driving more than 15 MPH over the speed limit, if you are driving faster than 55 MPH
- Prearranged racing with another motorist
In addition to having your driving privileges revoked for committing certain violations, you can have your privileges suspended for not paying your traffic ticket fines or for failing to appear in court. Your driving privileges will remain revoked until the DMV is notified that you have complied with the citation.
In order to get your driving privileges reinstated, you must do the following:
- Visit a driver license office and pay the restoration fee to the DMV (the fee can be higher if the revocation was a result of a DWI conviction)
- You may have to pay a service fee when your license is restored if your license was not surrendered to the court or mailed to the DMV before the effective date of the suspension/revocation
- Re-apply for your drivers license
- Take the required tests, if any
When You Are Found Guilty
If you are found guilty of the violation for which you were ticketed, penalties are most often involved. Some of the possible penalties for these types of convictions are:
- North Carolina traffic fines/fees
- Points on your driving record
- Suspension/revocation of your drivers license
- Increased insurance premiums
How to Prevent North Carolina Traffic Tickets
It's not the end of the world if you are convicted of a traffic violation, whether you got a speeding ticket in North Carolina or an illegal parking citation. There are actions you can take to improve your situation and to prevent yourself from getting tickets in the future. The best thing you can do to avoid North Carolina traffic tickets is to be a safe, responsible driver.
In addition, the passage of time helps. In North Carolina, points generally stay on your record for 3 years. If you remain ticket-free during this time, points should go away. Of course, you can always take a North Carolina defensive driving course to reduce points on your driving record faster, and to potentially lower your insurance rate. This is helpful if your premium increased after a violation or multiple violations.