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Frequently Asked Questions
 
  1. I just received a traffic ticket. What are my options? Do I have to go to court?
  2. How do I go about “waiving” a traffic offense?
  3. How will my driver’s license be affected if I waive, if I plead/guilty responsible in court, or if I am found guilty/responsible in court?
  4. How will my automobile insurance be affected if I waive, if I plead/guilty responsible in court, or if I am found guilty/responsible in court?
  5. Are there deferral programs, such as driving school, in which I can participate in exchange for a reduction of the charge?
  6. What is a “PJC?”
  7. I missed my court date. What should I do?
  8. I received the ticket outside my home county. May I handle the ticket in my home county, or will I have to travel to the county where I received the ticket?
  9. Because of a traffic violation, my driver’s license has been revoked. I still need to commute to and from work. Is there anything I can do?
  10. I don’t have a lawyer. What can I do?
Q.I just received a traffic ticket. What are my options? Do I have to go to court?
A.You may appear in court to challenge your ticket or to plead guilty/responsible to the charges. Certain traffic offenses may be handled without going to court by paying the fine and court costs prior to the court date set out on your citation. These offenses are commonly referred to as “waivable” offenses (because the person is waiving his or her right to appear in court), and the process of handling these offense without going to court is known as “waiving” the offense. You should consult an attorney about your legal rights and options.  (Last updated on  01/14/2011 )
 
Q.How do I go about “waiving” a traffic offense?
A.As explained above, certain traffic offenses may be handled without going to court by paying the fine and court costs prior to the court date. The North Carolina Conference of Chief District Court Judges has identified the traffic offenses that may be waived, and the Chief District Court Judges have also set standard fine amounts for these offenses. The officer who issued you the traffic citation should have indicated on the back of the citation whether your offense is one that may be waived and, if so, what the fine and court costs are. If you have been charged with an offense that may be waived, you have four options, as explained on the back of your citation: (1) pay online using a credit card at www.payNCticket.org; (2) pay in person using cash, a cashier’s check, or a certified check at the clerk’s office of the county in which you were charged; (3) pay in person using cash, a cashier’s check, or a certified check at the magistrates’ office of the county in which you were charged; or (4) pay by mail by sending a cashier’s check or certified check to the clerk’s office of the county in which you were charged. Please note that if you dispose of the offense in this manner without appearing in court, you will be treated the same as if you were found guilty/responsible in court. This may affect you driver’s license and your automobile insurance. You should therefore seek the advice of an attorney if you have any questions about your legal rights and options. (Last updated on  01/14/2011 )
 
Q.How will my driver’s license be affected if I waive, if I plead/guilty responsible in court, or if I am found guilty/responsible in court?
A.The North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles (or the Division of Motor Vehicles in your home state if you are licensed elsewhere) may assess points against your license for the conviction. The accumulation of points may eventually result in the revocation of your license. Also, a conviction for certain offenses, such as driving while impaired, requires the Division of Motor Vehicles to revoke the license. If you have questions about the effect on your license, you should consult an attorney or contact your Division of Motor Vehicles. The customer service number for the North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles is (919) 715-7000. (Last updated on  01/14/2011 )
 
Q.How will my automobile insurance be affected if I waive, if I plead/guilty responsible in court, or if I am found guilty/responsible in court?
A.Conviction of a traffic violation may affect your automobile insurance rates. If you have questions about the insurance consequences of your charge, you should contact an attorney or your insurance agent. (Last updated on  01/14/2011 )
 
Q.Are there deferral programs, such as driving school, in which I can participate in exchange for a reduction of the charge?
A.Deferral and reduction options vary from district to district. You should consult an attorney or contact the District Attorney’s Office for the county in which you were charged. (Last updated on  01/14/2011 )
 
Q.What is a “PJC?”
A.A “PJC” is a “prayer for judgment continued.” This means that although the person charged has pled guilty/responsible, or has been found guilty/responsible, the court does not enter a final judgment of conviction in the case. However, there are certain offenses for which a court is prohibited from entering a PJC, and there are certain circumstances in which a PJC will be treated like a conviction, so you should consult an attorney about your legal rights and options. (Last updated on  01/14/2011 )
 
Q.I missed my court date. What should I do?
A.Failing to appear on your court date may result in additional costs, the revocation of your driver’s license, and (for certain offenses) the issuance of an order for your arrest. If you were released on bond, your bond may be forfeited and you may be charged with a criminal offense for failing to appear. You should contact the clerk’s office of the county in which you were charged about the local procedure for having your case rescheduled. You may also want to consult an attorney about the consequences of your failure to appear.  (Last updated on  01/14/2011 )
 
Q.I received the ticket outside my home county. May I handle the ticket in my home county, or will I have to travel to the county where I received the ticket?
A.If you want to challenge the ticket in court, or if the offense is one for which a court appearance is required, you will need to appear in court at the location specified on your citation. For certain offenses, an attorney may represent you without the need for you to appear personally in court. Also, as explained above, you may dispose of waivable offenses without appearing in court by paying online at www.payNCticket.org, or by mailing a cashier’s check or certified check to the clerk’s office of the county in which you were charged.  (Last updated on  01/14/2011 )
 
Q.Because of a traffic violation, my driver’s license has been revoked. I still need to commute to and from work. Is there anything I can do?
A.In certain circumstances, the court may grant you a limited driving privilege. This will allow you to drive under limited circumstances, such as commuting to and from work. You should consult an attorney about whether you may be eligible for a limited driving privilege.  (Last updated on  01/14/2011 )
 
Q.I don’t have a lawyer. What can I do?
A.You can access the NC Find-a-Lawyer Lawyer Referral Service online, or by telephone at (800) 662-7660, for a referral to an attorney in your area (or in the area where the citation was issued). You can find more information on this service here. For certain more serious offenses, you may be entitled to an attorney at State expense if you are unable to afford an attorney.  (Last updated on  01/14/2011 )
 
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