Morehead City, North Carolina, is located on the famed Crystal Coast and is renowned for its charter fishing fleet and coastal beauty. With a small-town feel and sunny beaches, Morehead City is a great place to live, raise a family, vacation, and live. A blissful day in Morehead City can quickly become inconvenient because of a traffic ticket.
In addition to paying a fine if you plead or are adjudicated guilty, getting a traffic ticket can cost you time away from work and expensive insurance premiums. If you already have points on your driver’s license and you’re convicted of another traffic infraction, your driver’s license could be suspended. Before paying your traffic ticket, speaking to an experienced attorney is smart. Attorney Joel Hancock has helped many Morehead City residents successfully fight traffic tickets.
Fighting Speeding Violations in Morehead City
Speeding tickets are the most common traffic tickets issued in Morehead City and throughout North Carolina. Every year, officers issue approximately 300,000 speeding tickets. The ticket costs range from $10 to $250, depending on how many miles over the speed limit the driver was allegedly driving. Speeding at any amount in a school or work zone carries a fine of $250.
In addition to paying the speeding ticket cost, you will have points placed on your driver’s license. The points will stay on your driver’s license for three years. For example, driving 10 miles per hour over the speed limit when the speed limit was 55 miles per hour or speeding in a school or work zone will add three points to your driver’s license. Most other speeding trinkets will add two points to your driver’s license.
Running a Red Light or Stop Sign
Whether you run a stop sign, completely run a red light, fail to come to a complete stop, or turn right at a red light, all these violations are treated the same. In North Carolina, running a red light or stop sign typically carries a fine of $100, not including court costs. A conviction will result in three points on the driver’s drivers license.
In North Carolina, the traffic violation of reckless driving is relatively vague. The general statute defines reckless driving as driving a vehicle in a public area “carelessly and heedlessly in willful or wanton disregard of the rights or safety of others.” Police officers have extensive discretion regarding whether to charge a driver with reckless driving.
Some behaviors that can lead to a reckless driving charge include tailgating, illegal passing, aggressive driving, and failure to yield the right of way. Unlike most moving traffic violations, reckless driving is considered a Class 2 misdemeanor and is punishable by up to 30 days in jail and a $1,000 fine. The penalties are harsher for a second offense.
Driving without Auto Insurance
North Carolina drivers are required to have state minimum amounts of auto insurance. Typically referred to as liability coverage, auto insurance should cover the cost of injury and property damage to another driver and vehicle if you cause a collision. Failure to have proof of insurance can result in a fine, a suspension of your vehicle registration for 30 days, and up to 45 days of probation.
Long-Term Consequences of Traffic Violations
In addition to the fines and other penalties mentioned above, a traffic violation can have other long-term consequences. If you pay the fine, you are admitting guilt and will face increased car insurance premiums. For example, a conviction of reckless driving can increase your premiums by up to 90 percent. In some cases, insurance providers will drop customers entirely, and it can be difficult, if not impossible, to be approved for a new policy.
Possible Legal Defenses to Traffic Tickets in Morehead City
Attorney Joel Hancock is dedicated to providing clients with the best possible defenses to traffic tickets. He is a keen negotiator with a thorough understanding of North Carolina and local traffic regulations. He has extensive experience fighting traffic tickets and a proven track record of getting tickets dismissed or negotiating the charge down to less serious ones.
He understands which legal defenses will work best in each client’s case. He’s adept at fighting charges by gathering evidence in your favor and pointing out the flaws in the prosecution’s case. Some of the most commonly used and persuasive legal defenses to traffic tickets include the following:
- The police officer’s view of you and your vehicle was obstructed
- The radar gun or other speed detection equipment was defective
- You violated a traffic regulation out of necessity, such as avoiding an accident or driving someone to the hospital
- An animal, person, or object suddenly appeared on the road and you swerved to avoid it
- Your vehicle had a mechanical problem
- You experienced a medical event you couldn’t control
- The speed limit wasn’t posted
Pursuing a Prayer for Judgment Continued (PJC)
A prayer for judgment continued (PJC) happens when the court doesn’t enter a final conviction or judgment in a case even though the defendant pled guilty or was found guilty. If you receive a PJC, you must take financial responsibility for violating the law by paying court costs and fines.
However, you may be spared the driver’s license points and may be able to avoid the resulting increase in your insurance premiums. The North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles has restrictions on how frequently PJCs can be used. Drivers are allotted two PJCs every five years, and insurance companies only allow one PJC every three years per each insurance policy.
Schedule a Complimentary Case Evaluation with a Morehead City Traffic Ticket
If you’ve received a traffic ticket in Morehead City, North Carolina, don’t try to deal with it alone. As tempting as it may be to pay the fine and move on, it’s important to understand the consequences of doing so in the future. Fighting the traffic ticket could save you money and time in the long run. Don’t hesitate to contact Hancock Law Firm, PLLC to schedule a complimentary case evaluation and learn more about how attorney Joel Hancock can advocate for you.