A speeding ticket may seem like a minor frustration at first, and many drivers issued speeding tickets in North Carolina simply pay their fines and forget about their tickets. But unfortunately, many people who take this approach to handling speeding and parking tickets later discover that these seemingly minor incidents have profound impacts on various aspects of their lives.
In North Carolina, drivers face an “absolute” speed limit law, meaning that if a driver exceeds the speed limit by just 1 mph, they are guilty of speeding and subject to a ticket. The immediate penalties for speeding tickets in North Carolina include fines of $100 to $1,000, jail time of up to 60 days for severe offenses, and up to three demerit points on the defendant’s driver’s license.
In addition to these penalties, the defendant can also face civil liability if they caused an accident and injured anyone while speeding. Additionally, the defendant’s auto insurance carrier will see the record of their speeding ticket and demerit points on their license. Depending on the terms of the defendant’s policy, this could result in more expensive insurance premiums and/or dropped coverage.
Parking tickets are typically issued when a driver parks illegally or if they remain in a paid parking spot longer than the time for which they paid. In addition, if a driver parks in a dangerous location or an illegally parked vehicle disrupts traffic flow, local authorities could have the vehicle towed. However, when it comes to the penalties for parking offenses, they usually include ticket fines and impounding fees.
Speeding is more complex when it comes to potential penalties in North Carolina. The state enforces several statutes that can all come into play in a speeding case. For example, if the posted speed limit is lower than 55 mph and a driver exceeds the limit by 15 mph or more, they could face a reckless driving charge. As an example, if the speed limit is 25 mph and a defendant was driving at 40 mph or faster, this constitutes reckless driving. There are also special penalties for speeding with a young child in the car, in a school zone, or while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Penalties for speeding offenses effectively compound with subsequent offenses. For example, speeding can lead to up to three demerit points on a driver’s license. If the driver accumulates 12 points, they could face a one-year license suspension. Points drop off a driver’s record after three years in North Carolina, so many speeding offenses in a short time can very quickly result in driver’s license suspension.
Any driver facing a parking or speeding ticket must know their options for resolving these issues. While some assume that paying the fine and moving on is the best option, paying the fine means admitting guilt for the offense. In turn, admitting guilt means accepting the associated penalties, even those not assigned by the court. An experienced speeding ticket attorney can help you determine the best strategy when you are facing speeding or parking tickets in North Carolina. If you have concerns about your insurance rate increasing in response to a speeding ticket, your attorney can review your insurance policy and help you understand these concerns in more detail.
An experienced attorney can help clients determine the best possible solutions to their parking and speeding ticket cases. For example, if a driver faces adverse penalties from their insurance company in response to a ticket, their attorney can correspond with the insurer on the client’s behalf, resolving these issues. It’s also possible to take legal action against an insurer that fails to uphold its legal obligations or increases a policyholder’s premium rates without prior justification or procedure.
Insurance carriers set premium rates for policyholders based on their perception of each policyholder’s risk level. A “high-risk” policyholder will be more expensive to cover than a “low-risk” policyholder; therefore, a high-risk policyholder willpay a higher premium rate. For example, when an insurance company learns that a policyholder has been found guilty of a speeding offense, it may increase their perception of the policyholder’s risk level, causing them to charge a higher premium rate.
In North Carolina, drivers cited for parking, speeding, and other traffic violations typically receive demerit points on their driving records. These points expire every three years. However, if a driver accumulates 12 points, they face suspension of their driver’s license. If a driver has their license suspended, their insurance carrier will be notified, and the suspension is likely to affect the driver’s auto insurance coverage.
North Carolina law typically requires drivers issued speeding tickets to appear for court hearings, even if those drivers plan to accept responsibility and pay their speeding fines. If you live outside of North Carolina and do not wish to stay or return for a court date, it’s possible to hire a local attorney who can represent you in your traffic court hearing, preventing some penalties from following you home.
If you have any reason to think your speeding ticket is unfair or that the officer who issued it did not assess your speed correctly, an experienced lawyer can help you fight your speeding ticket in court. The best way to approach any type of court proceeding related to a traffic violation is to secure legal counsel you can trust to guide you through it.
Christina Rivenbark & Associates has years of experience helping clients handle speeding and parking ticket cases. If you have any concerns about your auto insurance increasing after a speeding ticket, consult an attorney as soon as possible to discuss your legal options. Contact us today to schedule a consultation with our team and learn more about the legal services we offer.