A traffic offense may not seem like a big deal to many people. Many pay the fine and shrug it off. However, even a traffic ticket for an offense like speeding can have far-reaching consequences. Some traffic offenses rise to a criminal level, and can even have jail time as a possible penalty.
Like any other alleged violation of the law, you have a right to an attorney. Your attorney can negotiate on your behalf and seek the best possible result for you.
Raleigh Traffic Lawyer
At Coolidge Law Firm, we have extensive experience representing Wake County residents, students and visitors on felonies, misdemeanors and infractions that occur behind the wheel. Whether charged with speeding, hit and run, DWI or death by vehicle, we can assist you in obtaining the best possible result given the circumstances of your case. We are both skilled at negotiating with prosecutors for reduced charges and arguing for your freedom in the courtroom.
Call an experienced Raleigh traffic offense lawyer today at (919) 239-8448. We represent clients throughout Wake County, including in Raleigh, Cary, Garner, Wake Forest, Apex, Fuquay-Varina, Knightdale and Zebulon.
Information on Wake County Driving Offenses
- Types of Driving Violations
- Points System for Driving Offenses and License Suspension
- Procedure in a Driving Accusation
Traffic offenses have a broad range of severity. They can be felonies, misdemeanors or minor infractions.
Some infractions are called “waivable” offenses. Waivable Offenses allow the person receiving the citation the option of simply paying the fine plus court costs, and not appearing in court, thereby “waiving” the right to trial. “Waivable” offenses include:
- Most speeding offenses
- Driving too slowly
- Running a red light or stop sign
- Failing to carry a license while driving
- Child restraint violations
- Driving while texting
- Possession of open container of an alcoholic beverage
- Lane violations
- Following too closely
- Improper turn
- Improper passing
- Failure to yield right of way
- Interfering with or failing to move for emergency vehicles
- Offenses relating to equipment
- Seat belt violations
Simply paying the ticket can seem like an easy option. However, paying a traffic ticket online or in court can be an admission of guilty and result in substantial the consequences that go beyond the fine. The infraction becomes part of your record. Your insurance may become more expensive. It may be harder to obtain jobs that rely heavily on driving. You also accumulate points, explained below, that can lead to you losing your license.
Non-waivable offenses include:
- Driving while license suspended, revoked or disqualified
- Driving with an open container after drinking
- Failure to stop at the scene of an accident (hit and run)
- Any DWI offense
- Careless and reckless driving
- Aggressive driving
- Speeding at more than 15 miles per hour above the posted limit while driving more than 55 mph
- Speeding at more than 80 mph
- Passing a stopped school bus
- Death by vehicle
Some of these charges carry a mandatory minimum license suspension period. Some may even carry jail time or probation as a penalty.
Convictions from moving violations will result in the North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles assessing driver’s license points against that driver. If 12 points accumulate within a three-year period, the NCDMV may suspend that driver’s license. If the division reinstates the license and the driver then accumulates eight points within the next three years, the NCDMV may suspend the license again.
Points vary based on the type of offense. For a single offense, they can range from one point for littering to five points for aggressive driving or passing a stopped school bus loading or unloading children.
Other circumstances may also result in the suspension of your license. If convicted of speeding more than 15 miles per hour above the posted limit, you lose your license for a minimum of 30 days. The NCDMV also can suspend your license for two or more convictions in a year of speeding while going more than 55 miles per hour. Even if you were just going 56 in a 55 mph zone twice, you could lose your license.
Other offenses that lead to suspension include:
- Willful racing (3 year suspension)
- Watching, betting on or loaning a car for prearranged racing (3 years)
- Speeding and reckless driving in the same incident (60 days)
- Two reckless driving convictions in a year (1 year)
- First DWI (1 year)
- Second DWI (4 years)
- Third or Subsequent DWI (Permanent)
- Misdemeanor Death by Vehicle (1 year)
- Felony Death by Vehicle (Permanent)
If an officer charges you with driving with a revoked/suspended license, you face the possibility of a misdemeanor conviction and a mandatory one-year suspension for the first offense.
If your license is suspended, you may have the option of obtaining limited driving privilege, which would allow you to travel to and from work and make other necessary trips. Your attorney can help you petition for this privilege.
For some accusations, including DWI, you will be arrested. For most moving violations, though, the officer will give you a citation. The citation will order you to be in court at a certain time on a certain date.
You must either appear at the hearing or, for a waivable offense, pay the fine or make arrangements beforehand. At the hearing, you can either plead guilty or responsible, or inform the court of your intent to fight the charges.
Despite what the Wake County Clerk of Court’s website might say, it is not advisable to simply show up to the hearing and hope to negotiate a reduction in the offense with the prosecutor. The prosecutor may not, under North Carolina ethics rules, advise you about your case or the consequences of a conviction. The prosecutor cannot give you legal advice and sometimes may even give you incorrect advice. And most importantly, DO NOT SIMPLY PAY YOUR TRAFFIC TICKET ONLINE.
An attorney from Coolidge Law Firm can represent you in court and negotiate with prosecutors to get your charges reduced or dismissed. We may also be able to seek a prayer for judgment continued (PJC), which means you plead guilty but the court does not issue judgment. PJCs should only be used in certain circumstances.
Finding the Best Traffic Ticket Attorney in Wake County
It is important to take every criminal charge seriously, including speeding tickets. An attorney can help you obtain the best results possible. For any driving violation, contact a skilled Raleigh traffic offense lawyer. We have successfully helped thousands of Wake County driver’s keep their records clean. At Coolidge Law Firm, we represent clients throughout Wake County, including Raleigh, Cary, Mooresville, Garner, Holly Springs, Wendell and Rolesville. Call us at (919) 239-8448 for a free consultation.