The heavy consequences and steep fines in North Carolina for speeding ticket convictions make fighting these tickets appealing. Most drivers fight their North Carolina speeding tickets to avoid points on their driver’s license, insurance points, an increase in car insurance costs for the next three years, the potential loss of their license, and/or expensive fines. If all these reasons weren’t enough, in some cases, drivers who are ticketed for traveling speeds of more than 15 miles per hour over the posted limit face a misdemeanor charge on their permanent record. It is not hard to see that you have nothing to lose when you fight a speeding ticket in North Carolina and everything to gain.
Below are 10 tips to beat a speeding ticket in North Carolina.
- Understand the Law It is important that individuals who are preparing to fight a speeding ticket in North Carolina fully understand the law and how it applies to their situation. That way, they can properly defend themselves before a judge in court. It’s also important to understand the potential consequences, including penalties, that will be applied to your driving record, your driving license, and your car insurance if you are convicted, so there aren’t any surprises down the road. The ideal way to approach these situations is with an experienced ticket attorney who already knows the laws and can explain them, apply them, and use them to optimize the outcome of your case.
- Revisit the Location Familiarize yourself with the location where you received the ticket. Locate the speed limit sign, if there was one, noting how far away from it you were and what the limit was. Determine if it just suddenly changed or if there is no speed limit posted on the road. If there is no speed limit sign posted, the North Carolina Department of Transportation sets a default speed limit of 35 miles per hour within towns and city limits and 55 miles per hour outside of towns and city limits on any roadway where a speed limit is not posted.
- Scrutinize Your Ticket Look over your ticket with an analytical eye for discrepancies or incorrectly recorded information, such as the date, time, location, etc. Any error can be used in your defense. Check your personal information as well, including your name and address. Also, confirm that the correct location is written on the ticket. Finally, double-check the details of the citation for erroneously recorded information, including the speed you were going and the posted speed of the road. Note if there are any fields not filled in, such as the officer’s name or a missing signature from the officer. Officers do in fact forget to sign tickets more often than one might think, which is a great defense for getting out of a speeding ticket. In fact, any missing procedural information that would otherwise be necessary for a conviction by the prosecution can be grounds for dismissal. An error does not automatically get a ticket thrown out, but it could potentially help your case. An experienced lawyer is trained to find errors on speeding tickets and would serve you well in this case.
- Request Proof Ask the citing police department for any evidence they have, such as the radar gun reading and maintenance records for the device that was used to clock your speed.
- Ask the Officer Try communicating with the officer who wrote your ticket and requesting that they work with you to reduce your change. Be polite and respectful. Being argumentative or confrontational is not a good way to get the officer to be cooperative. Be honest and explain the reason you were speeding. If there was an emergency, explain the details. If you were just not paying attention or made a mistake, it’s okay to admit it and offer an apology. If you are experiencing financial difficulties, and are unable to pay the ticket, let them know. They may be willing to reduce your fine. Finally, be prepared in case the officer denies your request, and remain courteous and respectful.
- Consider a Plea Bargain Consider taking a plea bargain, which is an opportunity to reduce your charges in exchange for paying a higher fine. This is much easier when done with the guidance and representation of a Wilmington Speeding Ticket Attorney. Because communication and negotiation with the prosecutor are vital in plea bargaining, it is strongly recommended that you seek legal representation.
- Ask for a Prayer of Judgement Ask the judge for a prayer of judgment (POJ), North Carolina’s “get out of your ticket free” card. This is a one-time pass that prevents a judgment against you, a conviction, a sentence, or points on your driver’s license.
- Consider Hiring an Attorney Strongly consider hiring a speeding ticket attorney. Call and speak to a ticket lawyer about how they can help you in your case.
- Go to Court You must show up for court. Be respectful, dress appropriately, arrive on time, and prepare ahead.
- Ask for a Reduced Ticket Similar to plea bargaining, ask the judge about a reduced ticket if you cannot get it canceled altogether. If it is your first offense, you may be able to lower the penalties with the help of a lawyer.
FAQs About North Carolina Speeding Ticket Laws
How Do I Request a Prayer for Judgement in North Carolina?
To ask a judge for a POJ, you must first enter a guilty plea to the charges against you. You can then request a POJ from the judge, though be prepared for your request to be denied. At that point, you remain guilty of the charges. A judge might deny a request for a POJ based on past records, diving history, or other factors.
Under What Conditions Does a Judge Grant a POJ?
There are typically some conditions you must meet as an alternative to a judgment against you when granted a POJ, such as taking a driving course or doing community service, so be prepared to accept these conditions. Make sure you completely understand what is required of you, and then follow through with the terms.
Can I Use a Malfunctioning Equipment Defense to Get My Speeding Ticket Dismissed?
Yes. Request equipment and maintenance records for the device the officer used to record your speed. Look for any potential circumstances that could point to an equipment malfunction. An attorney knows how to ask, what to ask for, and how to read these documents if you have trouble on your own.
Should I Pay My North Carolina Speeding Ticket?
If you plan on contesting your speeding ticket, the one thing you should not do is pay your speeding ticket because it is an admission of guilt and closes your case, so you no longer have the option to fight your ticket. However, if you don’t plan to fight your ticket, or if it is a minimal charge, paying a ticket is the only alternative to contesting it.
Hiring an Attorney to Help You Fight Your Speeding Ticket
If you are considering fighting your North Carolina speeding ticket, you will find you are much more confident with the legal guidance of a qualified attorney. Contact Christina Rivenbark & Associates today to schedule a consultation and discuss the details of your speeding ticket case.