Getting a Speeding Ticket in NC – The Choices You Have
When you get a traffic ticket in North Carolina, you have 3 options:
- Pay the ticket fine and any associated fees (Plead Guilty)
- Attend a court hearing to try and get the ticket dismissed (Plead Not Guilty)
- Negotiate a plea bargain for a reduced charge
No matter what you choose, it is important to respond to the citation within 30 days to avoid further penalties. The statute or code number of your violation is listed on your citation, and so are the directions for responding to the ticket. If you lose the physical copy of your ticket, you can use the North Carolina traffic ticket lookup system and search for it by county. From here, you will see the different options available for paying your ticket – should you choose to do so with no contest.
How to Get a Speeding Ticket Dismissed in North Carolina
If you’d like to attempt to get your traffic ticket dismissed or reduced, you may be able to do it online. You’ll have to check with the county where you were cited to see if they offer the service, and if your violation is eligible. You also have the option of appearing in person. 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 win your case and dismiss your traffic ticket, you may want to go with another option.
If you know you were wrongly ticketed, the process to dismiss an NC traffic ticket is as follows:
- Inform the court: If you are planning to enter a “not guilty” plea, you must let the court know before the date 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.
- Prepare 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 decide to challenge your ticket in court, you will be subject to additional court costs. These costs are typically:
- General Court of Justice fee
- Facilities fee
- Misdemeanant confinement fund fee
If You Are Found Not Guilty
If you are successful in dismissing your traffic ticket, you won’t have to pay the ticket fines or deal with any other penalties. However, you should still 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. This could result in the wrong number of points appearing on your driving record – which could lead to license suspension or revocation.
If You Are Found Guilty
If you are found guilty of the violation for which you were ticketed, you will have to pay the associated court fees as well as be subject to some or all of the following penalties:
- Paying the ticket fines and associated fees
- Points added to your driving record
- Suspension/revocation of your driver’s license
- Increased insurance premiums
Another Option: Negotiate a Plea Bargain for a Reduced Charge
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 completing a driver improvement course or a set number of community service hours.