If you have received a traffic ticket in North Carolina, you likely have a number of questions. The answer to those questions is not always clear because traffic laws can be confusing. Below are the most commonly asked questions about traffic violations in North Carolina. Regardless of how armed you are with these answers, it is recommended that you seek advice from an experienced and knowledgeable attorney before taking any action that can negatively affect you. In most cases, the attorneys at Hopper Cummings can help you manage your ticket without you ever having to appear in court.
Do I have to go to court?
Generally, yes. Most traffic tickets in North Carolina will require an appearance in court on the court date set on your citation. If you do not wish to appear in court, some tickets can be paid online. Please note that paying the ticket online or otherwise is pleading guilty and subjecting you to the potentially costly consequences of the violation. A better course of action is to hire an attorney to appear in court on your behalf. The majority of traffic tickets in North Carolina are waivable offenses which means an attorney can appear on your behalf. If you have questions about what your options are for your court date, contact an attorney for guidance and advice.
What If I missed my court date?
In serious instances, where a length of time has elapsed since your missed court date, a suspension of your license will occur due to your failure to appear (FTA). If you just recently missed the court date, you might be able to avoid the consequences of an FTA by contacting Hopper Cummings to reschedule (or by contacting the clerk of court and attempting to reschedule) the hearing as soon as possible. If a greater time period has elapsed since your court date, and an FTA was entered against you, you will be charged a fee for the FTA in addition to the court fees assessed for your citation. Currently the FTA fee in North Carolina is $200. If you have received a failure to appear notice you should seek the guidance of an experienced attorney immediately. A knowledgeable attorney can provide you with guidance as to your best options, and in some situations, may be able to have the FTA and the associated fee stricken or remitted.
Will I go to jail for DWLR?
Determining if you will go to jail for driving on a revoked license depends on your driving record and the reason why your license was revoked originally. If your license has been reinstated it can be possible to have a DWLR charge reduced or dismissed. A DWLR can be a serious charge that needs to be handled delicately. Each county has different procedures for how they are handled based on the circumstances of each case. These charges are best handled by an experienced attorney who is knowledgeable in the procedures of each local court.
What if I am from a different state and received a NC traffic ticket? Or received a ticket from a different state?
Most states are part of the Drivers License Compact that can result in your home state being notified of a ticket you received in another state. Depending on the severity of the traffic violation you were charged with, it could also have an effect on your home state license and insurance rates. For example, being found guilty of an out-of-state offense that is revocable in North Carolina can lead to a revocation of your North Carolina drivers license. Alternatively, if you choose to ignore the out of state ticket and fail to appear your license can be blocked on the National Driver Registry (NDR) and leave you unable to renew your license in your home state.
What is a prayer for judgment?
A prayer for judgment (PJC) is a special type of disposition that results in the court suspending or delaying the sentence for a traffic violation. Being granted a prayer for judgment does not result in a dismissal of the charges, however, the penalties associated with the charges do not affect your license or insurance. Not every traffic ticket is eligible for a PJC and for those granted a PJC, insurance companies only accept them once every three (3) years. The DMV only permits two Prayers for Judgement to be granted every five (5) years. Knowing when to request a PJC can be tricky, and best determined by an experienced attorney.
Will my insurance increase?
Naturally, this is the most common question asked after receiving a traffic ticket and the answer is not simple. The effect a traffic ticket will have on insurance premiums depends on the nature of the offense, the driving record of the individual, and how the ticket is handled. Even small traffic violations have the potential to raise insurance rates 40% which can result in substantial costs over a period of time. Trying to decipher the points systems used by the DMV and insurance companies can be complicated, especially when there are prior traffic convictions to consider. Again, hiring an experienced traffic ticket attorney will likely minimize the impact that a traffic violation has on your record and wallet.
Should I hire an attorney?
If you have received a traffic ticket in North Carolina or another state, your best course of action is to hire a local attorney as soon as possible. The sooner you seek legal representation, the more options you will have to favorably resolve your ticket.
At Hopper Cummings, our attorneys understand the importance of driving privileges and we are committed to providing our clients with experienced, efficient legal representation in all Chatham County traffic offenses. Within the limits of the law, we strive to have charges dismissed or reduced in order to minimize the points on your license and the impact on your insurance rates. If you have received a traffic citation and need assistance, we are happy to discuss any questions or concerns you may have about your case, contact us today by completing our online intake form or calling 919-553-4115.
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Robert Cummings represented a family member in a moving violation. He was responsive to all of my questions and very professional in explaining how the system worked and what needed to be done to help resolve the ticket with the best possible outcome. I would recommend his office and their services.
Robert and his team were amazing ... was successfully able to move the court date forward and have the ticket resolved and diligently e-mailed us all the confirmations as well. Thank you to his team and we would highly recommend them.
Robert understands traffic law and he is a very effective advocate for his clients. I have referred several clients to Robert and he always does a great job.
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Robert does a great job managing a large traffic law caseload yet representing each client zealously. He understands the local procedure for a large traffic caseload and navigates that system with ease.
Robert Cummings is an excellent attorney with a high level of integrity and compassion.