By E. Drew Nelson, Attorney
Blue lights flashing in your rear window. For many people this serves as a startling reality that they are about to receive a speeding ticket. After the initial shock of getting a speeding ticket, many people are left confused about what they need to do next. When the officer gives you a ticket he or she will typically advise you of your court date and whether you need to appear in court or if you have the option to pay the fine before the court date. Traffic Court or Administrative Court is where you must go to talk to a District Attorney about your case and see what options you have. As with most hearings, there are typically several hundred people on the docket and you could wait in court for most of the day before your case is called by the District Attorney.
While it is possible to just go to court without consulting an attorney and simply plead guilty, pay your fines and go on with your life, this could lead to many unintended consequences. Many people are unaware that a basic speeding ticket in North Carolina may come with up to 3 driver’s license and insurance points. License points and insurance points are two totally separate things. If you plead (or are found) guilty of speeding, this traffic conviction will cause your insurance rates to skyrocket and, depending on prior convictions, could affect the status of your license. In addition, you’ll be responsible for paying court costs (typically around $200) plus any fines assessed by the Court. Depending on your speed those fines can be several hundreds of dollars.
Consulting an attorney before your court date may enable you to save money or spare you the assessment of driver’s license or insurance points. For most routine traffic matters an attorney may represent you in court without the need for you to personally appear. In many circumstances your prior driving record may qualify you for a reduction in the charged speed or the ability to enter certain pleas such as improper equipment that will limit the assessment of driver’s license or insurance points. For example if you are eligible for a reduction to improper equipment there will be no driver’s license or insurance points assessed. In certain instances being convicted of the charged violation can result in your license being revoked.
It is vitally important to talk to an attorney who is experienced in Traffic Court so that you may achieve the best possible outcome. The attorneys at Brinkley Walser Stoner are knowledgeable about all the possible scenarios for your traffic matters and would be happy to discuss your case with you and represent you in navigating Traffic Court.