What should I do if I am stopped for a traffic ticket in North Carolina?
Pull over in a safe manner as soon as is reasonably possible. Put your vehicle in park, and turn off your engine and radio. Turn on your overhead light if it is dark outside, keep your hands visible (i.e. on the wheel), and roll down your window. It is usually best to wait to take out your driver's license and insurance once requested by the officer. Any actions, such as reaching into your wallet, center console, or glove compartment may be considered aggressive movements by the officer. It is also important to always have your registration and insurance cards stored together in a place where you can easily find them in your glove box. If you fumble through your glove box looking for your registration and insurance cards it's a clue used by the police in court to say that you are possibly driving while impaired. Though in reality most people have a pretty messy glove box and don't store these things in a super accessible part of the glove box.
Although being stopped by a police officer can be a frustrating and stressful experience, remain calm and friendly. Your attitude is extremely important during this process and can influence the ultimate resolution. Do not make excuses or argue with the officer. While you may be upset at being pulled over it's always important to be respectful.
If the officer asks you if you know why you were stopped, do not admit guilt. It is very possible that you are being recorded with video and/or audio and this evidence can later be used in court. Politely let the officer know that you are not sure why you were stopped.
If the officer claims that you committed a traffic violation, ask if he/she would consider issuing a warning rather than a traffic ticket. If the officer decides to issue you a traffic ticket, you should contact a traffic ticket attorney while the details are still fresh in your mind.
Do I need a lawyer for a Wake County North Carolina traffic ticket?
You should always seek legal advice from an attorney when it comes to handling a North Carolina traffic ticket. A driver should not step into court without understanding their options and the consequences of a conviction. In North Carolina, it is typically not required that you retain the services of a traffic lawyer unless your traffic ticket rises to the level of a criminal offense (i.e. Excessive Speeding). Regardless, legal representation even on a petty traffic offense can make a world of difference depending on the specific circumstances surrounding your case and could be the difference between higher insurance premiums or possibly losing your license.
Receiving a traffic ticket and appearing in court can be a stressful ordeal. An experienced North Carolina traffic ticket attorney can help guide you through the process and often achieve the best result possible. An attorney may be able to reduce or completely eliminate the negative effects on your driver's license.
Do I have to attend court in Raleigh?
In North Carolina, your traffic ticket should indicate whether a court appearance is required (generally it is). However, typically, with certain exceptions, you only have to appear if a conviction of the offense may result in possible jail time or automatic license suspension. Regardless, it is important to understand that simply mailing in payment for your moving violation is a plea of guilty, which will result in a conviction unless otherwise indicated. A conviction may even affect current or future employment consequences. Except under very rare circumstances, DO NOT mail in payment for your ticket.
It may be possible for an attorney to appear in court for you on your behalf. An attorney may be able to resolve the matter without you attending court. In addition, it may be possible to have the court date changed with the judge's permission. You should speak with an experienced traffic attorney to discuss the options available to you.
Will a North Carolina traffic ticket affect my auto insurance rates?
Your insurance rates could increase after receiving a conviction for a North Carolina traffic ticket. Typically, your insurance rates will not increase if your traffic ticket is dismissed, you are found not guilty. Increases in your insurance premium depend on the nature of the traffic violation and your specific insurance policy and are generally governed by rules for North Carolina insurance points. Speak with a North Carolina traffic ticket attorney or contact your insurance provider to find out the potential consequences for your auto insurance.
Will my North Carolina driver's license be suspended?
Traffic tickets may result in the suspension of your driver's license depending on the speed of offense on the conviction and the number of DMV points on your record. Additionally, the length of suspension may be longer if the driver has been suspended previously. In certain cases, three violations may result in a revocation of your license, depending again on the nature of the violations. It is important to note that driving on a suspended or revoked license (DWLR) is a criminal charge carrying with it serious potential consequences.
Can I attend traffic safety school?
If you have a fairly clean driving record, you may have the option of taking traffic school as a way to get the speed on your ticket reduced. Regardless, traffic school requires spending time and money that many drivers would like to avoid. It may be possible to avoid traffic school altogether by attending court with an experienced traffic ticket attorney. Our office can help you find the proper school if it is needed.
What happens if I do not pay my traffic ticket or court fines?
The worst decision you can make is to simply ignore or refuse to pay a North Carolina traffic ticket. If you fail to pay the required fines and court costs associated with your traffic ticket you may have your license suspended.
What happens if I just don't show up to court?
If you don't show up to court your case will be marked as a failure to appear and within a few months your license will be suspended. You could even be arrested for driving on a suspended license if you ignore the ticket.
What should I do if I missed my court date?
If you are required to appear in court and you miss your court date, there are several possibilities. Depending on the type of case, including certain traffic violations, a warrant may be entered. If a warrant is entered, it should be quashed and recalled immediately before it is executed. A lawyer can file a motion for a new court date to avoid the suspension and get you back on the court calendar. Failing to appear in court can cause a driver's license suspension. In addition, a "failure to appear" on your driving record must be removed before your driver's license can be renewed. Speak to a North Carolina traffic ticket lawyer if you missed your court date to discuss your available options.
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