You’re driving down the highway and it happens. You get that sinking feeling when you see blue lights behind you and you realize that you are being stopped by a law enforcement officer for speeding. You produce your license and registration and you try to explain your side of the story. It didn’t work and you are handed a ticket.
The officer tells you that you can pay off the ticket and at the bottom of the ticket it indicates the fine and the court costs. Seems simple enough. And it will avoid you having to wait in long lines at the courthouse to speak to an Assistant District Attorney in hopes of getting a favorable result on your case.
Don’t pay off the ticket. If you do, you are admitting guilt and getting convicted of the speed. Oftentimes this will have a detrimental affect on your license, and in most cases will result in not only an insurance increase, but a possible suspension of your driver’s license! Some officers may tell you that you can go to a driving school to earn something called a PJC, which is a Prayer for Judgment continued. This is available to NC drivers. It does not count as a conviction so there are no DMV and insurance points. That is also problematic, as many people take the driving class and they get another ticket within a certain number of months or years, or someone else on the insurance policy already used that available PJC and you could end up with a license suspension. Two PJCs are available every five years, per insurance policy, to North Carolina drivers.
I have seen many people waste a PJC on a first offense where it made more sense to take a speed reduction. Or, a person thought they had a PJC available but a spouse or child on the insurance policy already used the one that was available. The best thing you can do is speak to an experienced traffic attorney that will review your driving record and resolve your case with the least detrimental effect. Every case if different and individual attention to resolving that ticket it critical.
So before you pay off that ticket, consult an attorney. We’re here to help.