Call Us Before You Pay any Fine
Paying a Fine Is an Admission of Guilt. Contact a Traffic Attorney First.
Before you pay the fine for your moving violation, schedule a free consultation with a traffic ticket attorney to discuss your options by calling (980) 237-4579. Our defense attorneys have decades of legal experience helping clients avoid fines, jail time, and points on their drivers’ license.
Everyone makes mistakes while driving. Although it may be years before you get your first ticket, moving violations unfortunately occur. Because tickets seem normal, you might not think it is a big deal. You may try to fight the ticket on your own, or worse, simply pay the fine. However, paying a ticket is akin to pleading guilty to a criminal charge, which leads to driving record points and other consequences, such as increased rates.
Let Us Deal with the Hassle of Traffic Court
Fighting a traffic violation on your own is a hassle, particularly when you do not know the court process well. Instead of pleading guilty or trying to fight the system on your own, call a traffic lawyer. This could be your best chance of getting out of a moving violation or minimizing the consequences.
Our Charlotte criminal lawyers know that receiving a moving violation is inconvenient. Dealing with a ticket is the last thing you want to do when you have so many other things on your plate, like school, work, and taking care of your kids. However, no matter how inconvenient it is, you should not give up too quickly by pleading guilty. We have more than 35 years of combined experience and are here to help. Let us represent you in court and fight for the best possible outcome.
North Carolina’s Motor Vehicle Code
North Carolina’s rules of the road and traffic violations are outlined in North Carolina General Statutes (NCGS) Chapter 20. It covers almost everything related to your vehicle, including registration, licensing, emissions, insurance, vehicle safety, and operational rules. It also defines moving violations that are punishable by fines and points on your driving record, and when they are crimes, punishable by fines, points, incarceration, and probation.
North Carolina Traffic Violation Penalties
Moving violations are part of the criminal justice system. The penalties can be severe, depending on the circumstances.
Fines and Fees
Infractions are typically punished with fines, fees, and points on your driving record. You cannot be jailed for an infraction. The fines and fees can range from hundreds to thousands of dollars. Do not be fooled if you look up the ticket online and see a relatively low fine. Once you add in fees and court costs, the price of a traffic violation can be much more than you expect.
Driving Record Points
Whenever you are convicted of a traffic violation a certain number of points are placed on your record. The number of points is based on the specific violation:
- Speeding in a School Zone: three points
- Speeding in Excess of 55 mph: three points
- Other Speeding: two points
- Hit and Run, Property Damage Only: four points
- Reckless Driving: four points
- Failure to Yield to Pedestrian, Bicycle, Scooter, Motorcycle: four points
- Failure to Yield to Right of Way: three points
- Running a Stop Sign: three points
- Running a Red Light: three points
Driver’s License Suspension
A few points on your record may not have any serious consequences. However, if you are convicted of multiple moving violations, these points add up.
If you accumulate:
- Twelve points within three years, your driver’s license is suspended.
- Eight points within three years after your license was reinstated from a suspension or revocation, then your license will be suspended again.
- First suspension is 60 days; second suspension is six months, and third suspension is one year.
There are also many moving violations that lead to an automatic license suspension, such as driving more than 15 mph over the speed limit at a speed that is more than 55 mph or when you are speeding and driving recklessly at the same time.
To fight a driver’s license suspension, contact a traffic ticket lawyer in Charlotte, NC right away. You have a limited time to appeal a suspension. You should also speak with your lawyer about applying for a hardship license, which you may be able to do after some time passes.
Some moving violations are charged as misdemeanors or felonies. In addition to the penalties above, you may also face incarceration if you are convicted. The term of incarceration you face for a misdemeanor depends on whether it is a first or subsequent offense.
For first-time offenses, you may be jailed:
- Class A1 Misdemeanor: One to 60 days
- Class 1 Misdemeanor: One to 45 days
- Class 2 Misdemeanor: One to 30 days
- Class 3 Misdemeanor: One to ten days
North Carolina utilizes a more complex sentencing grid for felonies. The court will look at the class of the felony charge as well as your criminal history to determine the minimum and maximum term of imprisonment. When charged with a misdemeanor or felony traffic violation, contact Randall & Stump, Criminal Defense Attorneys immediately.
Common Traffic Violations in Charlotte
You can be ticketed for all sorts of violations, some of which are minor and others that are more serious crimes.
Some common traffic violations in Charlotte, NC include:
- Speeding Tickets (NCGS 20-141): You can be ticketed if you drive faster than the posted speed limit, faster than the lawful speed limit for an unmarked area, or faster than is reasonable and prudent for current conditions. You may be ticketed for going one mph over the relevant limit. However, the faster you are driving over the speed limit, the greater the fine you face.
- Hit and Run (NCGS 20-166): North Carolina law requires that you stop after an accident. If you fail to stop, contact the police, provide information, and/or aid, then you can be charged with a crime. A hit and run can be charged as either a misdemeanor or felony, depending on the circumstances.
- Running a Stop Light/Stop Sign (NCGS 20-158): You are required to obey all traffic signals and signs while on the road, including stoplights, stop signs, and yield signs. If you run through a red light or roll through a stop sign, you can be ticketed.
- Failing to Yield to the Right of Way (NCGS 20-158 & 160.1): A rule of the road people often forget or fail to abide by is when and how to yield to the right of way. In other words, who gets to go first, or who must stop and wait for another vehicle to pass. If an officer witnesses you fail to yield when you should have, you can be ticketed.
- Reckless Driving (NCGS 20-140): If an officer witnesses you carelessly driving in willful or wanton disregard for the rights or safety of other people, then you can be fined for reckless driving. This can include driving significantly faster than the speed limit, swerving between lanes, tailgating, and other dangerous maneuvers. A reckless driving ticket is typically charged as a misdemeanor.
- Driving on a Suspended/Revoked License (NCGS 20-28): You are only allowed to drive when you have a valid driver’s license, whether it was issued in North Carolina or another state. If your driver’s license was suspended or revoked for any reason, you cannot drive. If you are caught driving, you can be charged with a misdemeanor and have the duration of your license suspension or revocation extended.
- Texting While Driving (NCGS 20-137.3 – 137.4A): In North Carolina, it is unlawful for anyone under the age of 18 years old or for school bus drivers to use a mobile phone while driving. For juveniles, this is an infraction. For bus drivers, it is a misdemeanor. It is also illegal for anyone to use a mobile phone to text, email, or write, read, or send other electronic messages while driving. Texting while driving is an infraction, except for school bus drivers, who will face a misdemeanor.
We Handle all Kinds of Moving Violations:
Randall & Stump, Criminal Defense Attorneys Are Ready to Help
Your feelings after being ticketed for a moving violation may range from annoyance to fear. You may see the ticket as an expensive inconvenience. If you are charged with a misdemeanor or felony traffic violation, you may have a legitimate fear of a conviction and incarceration. In either situation, Randall & Stump, Criminal Defense Attorneys is here to help.
We evaluate your situation and advise you on the next best steps. We may feel there is a good chance of having the ticket thrown out. If so, we will discuss what this process looks like. If there is a strong case against you, we will explain the best way to defend your case in traffic court. We are here to offer an honest appraisal of your case, including the worst and best-case scenarios. Our goal will always be to exonerate you in court. However, we may also prepare to mitigate the consequences of a conviction.
If you received a moving violation, you could benefit from working with an experienced and tenacious traffic lawyer. Contact Randall & Stump, Criminal Defense Attorneys through our online form or call (980) 237-4579 to set up a free, confidential consultation.