What Happens When You Get a Speeding Ticket & What To Do in NC

what to do when you get a speeding ticket in north carolina

A speeding ticket doesn’t seem like a big deal, does it? While it’s a hassle, it seems like almost every driver has gotten one at some point or another. However, depending on your speed and location, both the ticket itself and the long-term consequences can be quite serious. Our Raleigh speeding ticket lawyers are providing an in-depth look at what you can expect after getting a citation and what your options are.

What to Do When Getting a Speeding Ticket in North Carolina

Speeding tickets can be a frustrating and unexpected bump in the road of life. Whether you were caught going a few miles over the limit or got caught up in the flow of traffic, receiving a ticket can leave you feeling stressed and unsure of what to do next. That’s why our Raleigh traffic violation attorneys at the Coolidge Law Firm are reviewing what you should do when you are issued a speeding ticket in NC.

Know Your Rights

In North Carolina, you have the right to contest a speeding ticket in court, present evidence, and seek legal representation. You are presumed innocent until proven guilty, with the burden of proof on the prosecution. You also have the right to remain silent and avoid self-incrimination during interactions with law enforcement. Understanding these rights empowers you to make informed decisions and advocate effectively for yourself throughout the legal process.

Understand the Speeding Ticket

Before diving into the steps you need to take, it’s essential to understand the specifics of your speeding ticket. Take a close look at the citation to determine the details of the violation, including the speed at which you were allegedly traveling and the location where the incident occurred. Understanding these details will better prepare you for the next steps in the process.

Assess Your Options

Upon receiving a speeding ticket in North Carolina, you have several options for how to proceed. One option is to simply pay the fine, which is an admission of guilt and will result in points on your driving record. Alternatively, you may choose to contest the ticket in court, either by representing yourself or hiring legal representation. Additionally, North Carolina offers the option to attend driving school in lieu of paying the fine, which can often result in the ticket being dismissed or the points against your driver’s license being reduced.

Gather Evidence

If you decide to contest the speeding ticket, gathering evidence to support your case is crucial. This may include photographs of the scene, witness statements, or any other documentation that can help to prove your innocence or mitigate the severity of the violation. Be sure to organize your evidence carefully in order to present it effectively in court.

Be sure to arrive at court early, dress professionally, and address the judge respectfully. Present your evidence clearly and concisely, and be prepared to answer any questions the judge may have. With a strong presentation, you may be able to successfully contest the speeding ticket and avoid the associated penalties; however, it is always advised to seek the counsel of experienced traffic violation attorneys to represent you in court.

Exploring Alternative Options

In some cases, exploring alternative options may be the best course of action. For example, if you are eligible, you may be able to participate in a deferred prosecution program, which allows you to complete certain requirements in exchange for having the ticket dismissed. Additionally, seeking the advice of a qualified attorney can help you explore all available options and determine the best strategy for your individual situation.

Understanding the Initial Cost of Traffic Citations in Wake County

Navigating the financial implications of a speeding ticket in North Carolina requires a clear understanding of the variable costs involved. The initial cost of a speeding ticket in this state is not a uniform charge; it varies significantly based on the degree to which the speed limit was exceeded.

What to Do When Getting a Speeding Ticket for a Minor Infraction?

Consider a scenario where you are driving at a speed slightly above the limit, say 5 mph, in a 55 mph zone. In such cases, the fine is typically around $10. However, this amount is merely the base fine and does not encompass the total financial obligation. Court costs and additional fees in North Carolina can add a substantial amount to this base fine, often totaling a minimum of $188. Therefore, a seemingly minor infraction can result in a considerably higher expenditure.

What to Do When Speeding in School and Work Zones?

The financial repercussions are even more substantial in specific zones. For instance, speeding in a school or work zone incurs a mandatory fine of $250, exclusive of court costs and fees. This heightened penalty reflects the increased risk and potential consequences of speeding in these sensitive areas.

Speed Over Limit Base Fine Additional Costs
1-5 mph $10 Plus approximately $188 in court costs and fees
6-10 mph $15 Plus approximately $188 in court costs and fees
11-15 mph $30 Plus approximately $188 in court costs and fees
16 mph or more $50 Plus approximately $188 in court costs and fees

Speeding in any capacity in a school zone or work zone carries an automatic $250 fine along with court costs and fees. Also, if you were speeding over a 55 mph limit but driving less than 80 mph or driving over 80 mph, this is a Level 3 misdemeanor, and you may be facing additional fines and even jail and a loss of driving privileges.

Options for Waiving Your Speeding Ticket and Traffic Court Fees

Firstly, let’s clarify what ‘waiving’ a ticket means. In North Carolina, for certain minor speeding violations, you have the option to resolve your case without appearing in court. This process, known as ‘waiving’, involves paying the fine and court costs before your scheduled court date. It’s important to note that by choosing this route, you are essentially admitting guilt to the offense, which will be reflected on your driving record and could affect your insurance premiums.

Now, how do you know if your ticket is eligible for a waiver? Typically, law enforcement officers indicate on the ticket whether the offense is waivable and the amount you need to pay. For example, if you were caught driving 6-10 mph over the speed limit, your ticket might state a $15 fine plus court costs, which you can pay to waive the ticket. Remember, the total amount will include the base fine plus additional court costs, which in North Carolina, often total around $188.

The process of waiving can be done online, in person at the courthouse, or by mail. If you choose to waive online or by mail, ensure that your payment is processed well before the court date to avoid any complications. Keep in mind that waiving a ticket is a straightforward process but does not allow for negotiation or reduction of charges.

However, if your violation is more serious, or if you believe the ticket was issued in error, waiving may not be the best option. In such cases, appearing in court or consulting with a traffic attorney could provide an opportunity to contest the ticket or negotiate for a lesser charge.

What Happens When You Get a Speeding Ticket and Admit Guilt?

Paying your speeding ticket is legally considered an admission of guilt. This means you are acknowledging that you committed the offense as charged. While this might seem like the simplest way to deal with the situation, it’s important to be aware of the ripple effects this admission can have.

Speeding Tickets and License Points

In addition to the initial ticket and costs associated, a speeding ticket will put “points” on your driver’s license. Basically, this is a record of moving violations with certain violations scoring higher than others. However, if you receive seven points in three years, you may be required to take a state-approved driving class, while 12 points in three years is punished by a 60-day license suspension.

Let’s look at how points are assigned for speeding:

  • Speeding in a school zone: 3 points
  • Speeding over 55 mph: 3 points
  • Speeding in a work zone: 3 points
  • All other speeding violations: 2 points

Speeding Tickets and Insurance Points

Points are also placed on your insurance when you receive a moving violation which can lead to extremely high increases in your premium. According to the Consumer Guide to Automobile Insurance published by the NC Department of Insurance, the percent of rate increase is as follows:

  • Speeding 10 mph or less over a speed limit under 55 mph: 30 percent
  • Speeding over 10 mph at a total speed of over 55 mph but below 76 mph: 45 percent
  • Speeding 10 mph or less over a speed limit in a posted zone of 55 mph or above: 45 mph
  • Speeding in excess of 75 mph when the speed limit is below 70 mph: 80 percent
  • Speeding in excess of 80 mph when the limit is 70 mph or above: 80 percent

These rate increases compound, in that if you get a speeding ticket driving 62 mph in a 55 mph zone, you’ll see a 30 mph increase in your premium. If you get a second ticket a year later for the same offense, you’ll see an additional 30 percent increase on top of this.

Possible Employment Implications

For those whose employment involves driving, such as commercial drivers, admitting guilt to a speeding offense can have professional ramifications. Some employers regularly check the driving records of their employees, and a history of traffic violations could impact your job security or future employment opportunities in roles that require a clean driving record.

Options Beyond Paying the Fine

If you’re concerned about these consequences, remember that paying the fine is not your only option. You have the right to contest the ticket in court, which could lead to the charges being reduced or dismissed, especially if there are mitigating circumstances or if it’s your first offense. Consulting with a traffic attorney can provide you with a clearer understanding of your options and the likelihood of a successful challenge to your ticket.

Facing a speeding ticket in North Carolina can be more than just a minor inconvenience; it can have significant legal and financial repercussions. In such situations, you might wonder whether it’s necessary to seek legal representation. Understanding when to consider hiring an attorney can be crucial in navigating the complexities of traffic law and potentially mitigating the consequences of your ticket.

Assessing the Severity of Your Speeding Ticket

The first step is to assess the severity of your speeding violation. Minor infractions, like going slightly over the speed limit, might not necessitate legal representation. However, if you’re facing a more serious charge, such as reckless driving or speeding significantly over the limit, the stakes are higher. These offenses can lead to hefty fines, points on your license, increased insurance rates, and even potential jail time. In such cases, having an attorney can be invaluable.

Traffic laws can be complex and vary significantly from one jurisdiction to another. An experienced traffic attorney will have a deep understanding of North Carolina’s traffic laws and court procedures. They can navigate the legal system efficiently, saving you time and reducing the stress associated with handling the case on your own.

Negotiating a Better Outcome

One of the key benefits of hiring an attorney is their ability to negotiate with the court on your behalf. An attorney may be able to reduce your charges, have them dismissed, or negotiate for alternative penalties like traffic school, which can help keep your driving record clean. They can also advise you on the feasibility of contesting the ticket in court based on the evidence and circumstances of your case.

When Your Driving Privileges are at Risk

If you’re at risk of losing your driving privileges due to the accumulation of points or the nature of the violation, hiring an attorney becomes even more critical. They can advocate on your behalf to protect your license, which is especially important if you rely on driving for work or other essential activities.

Cost-Benefit Analysis

Consider the cost of hiring an attorney versus the potential fines, increased insurance rates, and other long-term costs associated with the ticket. In many cases, the long-term savings and benefits can outweigh the cost of legal representation.

Commercial Drivers and Out-of-State Drivers

If you’re a commercial driver, even a minor speeding ticket can have significant implications for your career. Similarly, if you’re an out-of-state driver, navigating the legal system in North Carolina can be challenging. In both scenarios, an attorney’s expertise can be particularly beneficial.

What Happens When Getting a Speeding Ticket and Missing Court Dates?

If you’ve received a speeding ticket in North Carolina and a court appearance is required, it’s crucial to understand the consequences of missing your scheduled court date. Failing to appear in court can lead to a series of legal complications, some of which can have long-lasting effects on your driving privileges and legal standing.

Issuance of a Failure to Appear (FTA)

The most immediate consequence of missing a court date is the issuance of a Failure to Appear (FTA). Once an FTA is recorded, it sets off a chain of events that can complicate your situation. The court may impose additional fines and penalties on top of those associated with the original speeding ticket.

License Suspension

One of the more severe consequences of an FTA is the potential suspension of your driver’s license. In North Carolina, the Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) is notified of your failure to appear, and they may suspend your driving privileges. This suspension remains in effect until you resolve the outstanding ticket and the FTA.

Increased Fines and Penalties

In addition to the original fine for the speeding ticket, failing to appear in court can result in additional financial penalties. These fines are added to the existing amount you owe and can significantly increase the total cost.

Warrant for Arrest

In some cases, particularly if the speeding violation is severe or if there are multiple FTAs, the court may issue a warrant for your arrest. This means you could be arrested and required to post bail, adding a criminal element to what might have initially been a simple traffic violation.

Impact on Future Court Proceedings

Having an FTA on your record can negatively impact how you are perceived in future legal proceedings. It may affect the court’s willingness to grant leniency or consider alternative sentencing options in the future.

Difficulty in Resolving the Ticket

Once an FTA is issued, resolving the original speeding ticket becomes more complicated. You may need to appear in court to clear the FTA, in addition to addressing the speeding ticket itself. This process often requires more time and potentially legal assistance.

Steps to Take if You Miss Your Court Date

If you realize you’ve missed a court date, it’s important to act quickly. Contact the court as soon as possible to explain your absence and inquire about rescheduling. In some cases, you may be able to resolve the FTA without significant penalties, especially if you have a valid reason for missing the court date.

Have You Gotten a Speeding Ticket in Wake County? Schedule a Free Consultation with a Traffic Violation Lawyer in NC!

If you are facing a speeding ticket, the long-term costs and consequences can be much higher than you may realize. At The Coolidge Law Firm, we’re dedicated to having speeding tickets reduced or even eliminated for our clients so they can move forward freely after a mistake. To learn more about our services or to schedule a free consultation, call us today at (919) 239-8448 or fill out the form below to get started.

Contact Us

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Client Testimonials

  • 5 stars
    I can not say enough good about David Coolidge and the Law Firm! From the moment of our 1st interaction, I could tell that David TRULY cares and has a passion about the cases he takes on. I was anxious and nervous about my case from the beginning. David immediately showed his support and listened with an empathetic ear. From that moment on, I felt as though I knew I could trust him to put his whole heart into helping me with my case. He is intelligent, kind and completely nonjudgmental. He will listen to you and is so very supportive. I really felt, and still do, that he really cared about helping me. His passion for his work and in helping others shines. We VERY HAPPILY, had a GREAT outcome from the case and I could not be happier. As I told him when we left the court room that morning... “David, you have changed my life forever”. I would recommend David and this Law Firm to EVERYONE who is reading this review.
    - Brian L.
  • 5 stars
    David Coolidge is a wonderful attorney! I hired him twice for two different cases that I had which were only 2 months apart. He's very thorough and efficient. I was even able to reach him after hours through phone calls, texts, and email. Hopefully I never need his services again but if I am in a similar predicament I would most definitely hire David again.
    - Tiffany C.
  • 5 stars
    Excellent Customer Service. I had a Speeding ticket and they resolved it positively with no points on my Driver License. They represented me in Court and by midday on the Court date, they had updated me on the outcome. Very efficient service. I highly recommend them if you are in need of Legal Services.
    - Stephen O.
  • 5 stars
    I got a speeding ticket for going 17 over. They sent me a letter in the mail explaining that I could plead improper equipment and get no points on my insurance or license. They even gave me the fees straight out on the letter including court costs. They represented me and made the ticket go away.
    - David G.
  • 5 stars
    I cannot say enough about Attorney Coolidge and his staff. He’s handed several matters for me and in every instance he has exceeded my expectations. He even answered a frantic call from me on a Saturday night. I called in desperation not really expecting an answer. Mr. Coolidge delivered on all that he promised and more. I highly recommend.
    - Craig S.
More Testimonials
(919) 239-8448
  1. Menu iconMenu
  2. practice iconPractices
  3. Call icon
  4. testimonialsReviews
  5. Contact usContact
Coolidge Law Firm