Dealing with a traffic ticket can be tricky, even minor infractions can increase your insurance rates dramatically, waste precious time, and potentially lead to the loss of driving privileges.
There are a few different ways to handle a simple speeding ticket in North Carolina, some more favorable than others.
Not all types of disposition are available for every speeding case. Several factors determine which of these six results is possible, such as the speed involved, your driving record, and even how polite you were to the charging officer.
Demand a trial.
Let’s start with the least desirable of the options, a trial. Our system allows for a person charged with speeding to demand a hearing.
In this situation, the prosecutor would present evidence, usually through the testimony of the charging officer. You would have a chance to cross-examine and question the officer under oath. Next, you would be able to put on evidence either by taking the stand or calling witnesses to the stand. At the conclusion, a District Court Judge would determine whether the state has proven beyond a reasonable doubt whether you were speeding.
“In all of my years, I have never seen a speeding trial result in a not guilty verdict Not to say it hasn’t happened; it is just extremely rare. Keep in mind that court dockets can have as many as 1,000 cases a day, and trials take up valuable court time and resources. Judges are generally very protective of the court’s time,” Hayes Ludlum explains.
Get the charge dismissed.
Almost as rare as not guilty verdicts are dismissal of speeding charges. On occasion, however, a set of facts allows for a successful argument for dismissal.
Have the speed reduced.
Often an attorney can negotiate a reduction of the speed in your case. For example, if you are charged with speeding 85 mph in a 70 mph zone, a lawyer may be able to negotiate with the prosecutor to reduce the speed to 79 mph in a 70 mph zone.
This simple reduction alone could save you a tremendous amount of money on insurance and even prevent you from losing your license.
Obtain a Prayer for Judgment.
In some cases, a simple reduction in speed could still result in insurance points or loss of license. In those instances, an attorney can request a judge to “continue judgment.” This is called a Prayer for Judgement Continued or PJC.
The effect of this is that the charge is not counted as a conviction, and therefore does not result in points, so long as you maintain a clean record going forward. Future convictions can undo this and result in points being assessed.
Have the charge reduced to an equipment violation.
By far, the best of all the reasonable options is to have your speeding charge reduced to an equipment violation. The result of this is that you will not incur insurance points regardless of any future convictions. There are limitations on how many of these reductions you are entitled to receive. In addition, not all charges are eligible.
Get a lawyer.
Unfortunately, you can’t just wave a magic wand and get a favorable outcome in a speeding case.
Every case is unique, and the possible outcomes all have their own set of intricacies. If the ultimate goal is to get the best result possible and avoid insurance points, then you must get an attorney to help you navigate through the process.