We’ve all been there. You’re running late for a meeting or appointment and driving a little too quickly. Or, like me a few years ago, you’re certain the speed limit in 55 MPH, but it’s actually 45 MPH. Then, you see the flashing blue lights behind you and your stomach drops. The cop writes you a speeding ticket.
Some people decide to simply pay off the ticket instead of hiring an attorney. This is a HUGE mistake and can lead to increased insurance rates and a suspended driver’s license. Insurance points and DMV points are different entirely, and drivers and their attorneys need to understand both point systems before resolving a ticket.
Here are the best options for resolving your speeding ticket:
Your best option is a reduction to an improper equipment. Improper equipments are non-moving violations and do not result in DMV points or insurance points. Technically, an improper equipment means you do not have a working speedometer. In practice, however, many district attorney’s offices across the state use them as a sort of “get out of jail free card” for people with clean records.
North Carolina bans improper equipments for people speeding more than 25 miles over the limit. Many local district attorney’s offices also have their own requirements as far as speed and prior traffic offenses. Some, for example, will require no traffic offenses in the three years prior to the speeding ticket. Some offices may also require a driving class before offering an improper equipment.
Another option is to have your speeding charge reduced to speeding ten miles or less over the speed limit. The prosecutor usually just reduces these to 9 miles over the speed limit to be safe, and calls these “9 overs.” If your ticket was not in a school zone and you do not have any moving traffic violations in the three years prior to your ticket, you will not receive insurance points.
You will, however, receive three points on your DMV record if your reduced speed is still more than 55 MPH. After three years, the points usually come off your record.
A prayer for judgment (also known as a “PJC”) is another “get out of jail free card.” With a PJC, essentially you admit responsibility, but the court does not ever enter judgment in your case. Therefore, you do not technically have a conviction on your record. Instead, your record will say “PJC.”
As far as DMV points, you can have two PJCs in five years without getting DMV points. If you had a third PJC within five years, the DMV would count that as a conviction and add points to your record.
For insurance purposes, you can have one PJC per household insurance policy in a three-year period. If your spouse, for example, receives a PJC, you cannot receive one within the following three years. If you do, your insurance could count both PJCs as convictions and assess points for both traffic offenses.
PJCs can also be used for other violations, such as failing to stop at a stop sign or red light.
Please note that you cannot receive a PJC in certain situations, including the following: you have a commercial driver’s license, you were driving a commercial vehicle, you were speeding more than 25 miles over the speed limit, or your charge is passing a stopped school bus.
If You Have an Out of State License
If you have an out of state license, but received a ticket in North Carolina, be careful. Your state may not recognize the outcome you received in North Carolina. For example, if you get a PJC here, but your state does not have PJCs, your state may count it as a conviction for the original speed.
Why should you hire an attorney?
An attorney will examine your driving record, evaluate your best option, and advocate for that option with the district attorney’s office. If you do not hire an attorney, you will have to go to court and wait to talk to a prosecutor yourself about the case. An attorney could save you a lot of time and money in the long run.
Call us for a free consultation.