What happens when I receive a traffic ticket?
When you receive a traffic citation, it means a law enforcement officer has issued you a summons for violating a traffic law. This could be for a traffic infraction (speeding, failing to stop or yield, or failing to wear a seat belt) or a traffic related misdemeanor (driving under the influence or reckless driving). The traffic ticket contains a court date for you to appear before an assistant district attorney or a magistrate. Missing your court date will result in you receiving a “failure to appear.” You will then receive a letter from the North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles (“NCDMV”) informing you that if you do not resolve this matter within 60 days, the NCDMV will revoke your license.
The average American will receive seven traffic tickets throughout his or her life. That is roughly one ticket every 10 years. Some people, if able, will choose to pay the fine and avoid the inconvenience of going to court. But is that really the best decision for you?
- When you pay the traffic fine you choose to plead guilty to the charge, which could negatively affect your license, your driving record, and your insurance for years to come.
What happens when my license is suspended or revoked?
Will I receive points on my license?
How many points you receive on a driver’s license depends on what charges you are pleading guilty to and what charges you have plead guilty to in the past.
- A driver’s license may be suspended if you accumulate 12 points within a three year period, and may further be suspended if you accumulate eight points following a reinstatement period.
- Once a driver’s privilege is reinstated, all previous points are canceled.
- A driver may be requested to attend a driver improvement clinic if the driver accumulates seven points on the 12 point scale (or four points on the eight point scale). This course is offered once every five years and upon completion of this course, the NCDMV will deduct three points from the driver’s driving record.
Below is a list of the Schedule of Points Value under North Carolina General Statue § 20-16.
If you have a Commercial Driver’s License (“CDL”), then the driver license points
increase for the commercial driver. Having points on your license could affect your job and the ability to obtain employment. Below are the schedule points for drivers who have a CDL under North Carolina General Statue § 20-16
What will happen to my insurance?
A traffic violation can result in DMV points, as well as insurance points that will increase your insurance rates as they accumulate. The list below shows how insurance rates will increase based on the numbers of points one has:
1 point: 30% increase
2 points: 45% increase
3 points: 60% increase
4 points: 80% increase
5 points: 105% increase
6 points: 130% increase
7 points: 160% increase
8 points: 195% increase
9 points: 225% increase
10 points: 260% increase
11 points: 300% increase
12 points: 340% increase
Below is a list of traffic violations and the North Carolina insurance points associated with them:
Littering while driving: 1 insurance point
Speeding (10 mph or less over limit when speed limit is less than 55): 2 DMV points; 1 insurance point
Speeding (10 mph or less over limit when speed limit is greater than 55): 2 insurance points
Speeding in a school zone: generally; insurance points depend on speed
Speeding over 55 mph: insurance points depend on speed
Speeding (80 mph or higher when limit is 70 mph or higher): 4 insurance points
Speeding (75 mph or higher when limit is less than 70 mph): 4 insurance points
Lack of liability car insurance: 3 DMV points
Failing to stop for siren: 1 insurance point
Running a red light: 3 DMV points; 1 insurance point
Running a stop sign: 3 DMV points; 1 insurance point
Driving on the wrong side of the road: 2 insurance points
Following too closely behind another car: 2 insurance points
Reckless driving: 4 insurance points
Aggressive driving: 8 insurance points
Passing a stopped school bus: 4 insurance points
Driving while revoked or suspended: 8 insurance points
Should I hire an attorney?
You are not required to have an attorney represent you at your hearing. However, if you have any questions about your traffic ticket or the ramifications it may cause, please call Weaver, Bennett & Bland to set up a free consultation with one of our traffic law attorneys.