Pleading to Improper Equipment Reduction in Speeding Cases in Wake County, NC Court
We hope that you find this information helpful; however, it is for informational purposes only and nothing herein is a substitute for seeking competent legal representation. No statement herein is intended to be legal advice or intended to create an attorney-client relationship.
What is an "Improper Equipment Reduction" and why would I want to "plead" to that?Short answer, to save money! The full legal explanation of plea bargaining is outside the scope of this article. Suffice to say that it has been our general observation that folks charged with speeding offenses generally don't necessarily want to plead "not guilty" and have a trial, rather they want to minimize the consequences of the citation and any resulting conviction upon the rate they pay for auto insurance premiums. In short, in a speeding case, a plea to "Improper Equipment" is about reducing the financial consequences of being charged and convicted with speeding in Wake County, NC. We have been careful to tailor the explanation here to Wake County, NC. Although Improper Equipment pleas are available in many counties in NC, the procedures, practices and even the cost of obtaining such a reduction varies from county to county across the state. This article will focus on "How to Obtain an Improper Equipment reduction in Wake County, NC."
So, it sounds like an "Improper Equipment Reduction" is what I want, am I eligible to get one?Again, every case is different and the resolution will be subject to the particular facts associated with the case. However, the Wake County District Attorney has been kind enough to outline a set of policies that govern availability of an Improper Equipment reduction in a speeding case in Wake County.
The first step in analyzing if you are eligible for the Improper Equipment reduction is to eliminate certain charges for which the remedy is specifically unavailable. According to the May 14, 2015 Memorandum from the Wake County District Attorney authorizing Improper Equipment Reductions, the reduction is specifically NOT AVAILABLE in the following circumstances:
1. In cases where the charged speed is "in excess of 85 mph" or "more than 20 miles per hour over the posted speed limit;"
2. In cases where the speeding charge occurs "...in a work zone or a school zone;"
3. In cases where the defendant has received an "Improper Equipment within three years;"
4. In cases where the defendant has "more than one other moving violation with a period of 3 years;"
5. In cases where the defendant has "more than 3 moving violations within a period of 10 years."
If the rules above don't disqualify you from the remedy of an Improper Equipment reduction, continue to the next section to see the required steps.
So, according to the Memorandum, I am eligible for the Improper Equipment Reduction,...What's next?For defendants NOT disqualified by the section above, the following steps are REQUIRED to secure the remedy of an Improper Equipment Reduction in Wake County, NC:
1. The defendant must provide to the Court a "CERTIFIED" driving record (also called a "Motor Vehicle Record") from the NC Division of Motor Vehicles. This document is available by an in person request or by mail from the NC DMV for a fee; and
2. The defendant MUST resolve the case not later than the 3rd setting and the matter must be resolved in Disposition Court (also known as "Courtroom 101"); and
3. The defendant must, if under the age of 21, "...complete a 4 hour driving course at an approved driving school prior to the resolution of the pending charge;" and
4. The defendant must pay "...all statutory costs and fees...in addition to an additional $25 fine. (Pursuant to 7A-304(a)(4b), there is a $50 fee in addition to court costs and a fine.)"