Traffic Tickets

Since our location is close to the Outer Banks, we see a number of individuals who have been pulled over and given a traffic citation on their way to vacation.  If that’s you, you should get an attorney immediately.  If you simply pay off your ticket, it is the same as pleading guilty, and can have a disastrous long-term effect on your driving history and insurance rates.

Why is this?  Because under North Carolina law, every traffic offense carries certain point totals with it by law; the specific amounts are in the table below.  If you acquire 12 or more license points in a 3-year period your license will be suspended.  If you get any insurance points at all, you can expect your insurance premiums to go up roughly 25%-per-point as part of the state’s Safe Driver Incentive Plan (SDIP).

As you can probably guess, your objective in traffic law is straightforward: you need to minimize the number of points going on your license and on your insurance.

That’s where we come in.  We will provide a consultation to you about your citation and driving history, a detailed discussion of the game plan, and in most cases we can even appear on your behalf so you don’t have to take off work to personally attend your court date.

North Carolina Safe Driver Incentive Plan (SDIP) Insurance Points
See N.C. Gen. Stat. § 58-36-65, N.C. Gen. Stat. § 58-36-75, and this NC Department of Insurance brochure
(General rule: +1 point = +25% insurance premium increase for 3 years)

Offense Points Added
Driving commercial vehicle with a blood-alcohol level of .04 or more 12
Driving while impaired 12
Driving with a blood-alcohol level of .08 or more 12
Hit-and-run resulting in bodily injury or death 12
Manslaughter or negligent homicide 12
Prearranged highway racing or knowingly lending a motor vehicle for prearranged highway racing 12
Transporting illegal intoxicating liquor for sale 12
Highway racing or knowingly lending a motor vehicle for highway racing 10
Speeding to elude arrest 10
Aggressive driving 8
Driving during revocation or suspension of license or registration 8
Driving by a person less than age 21 after consuming alcohol or drugs 4
Hit-and-run resulting in property damage only 4
Passing a stopped school bus 4
Reckless driving 4
Speeding in excess of 80 mph when the speed limit is 70 mph or greater 4
Speeding in excess of 75 mph when the speed limit is less than 70 mph 4
At-fault accident resulting in death, or total bodily injury (to all persons) in excess of $1,800; OR resulting in total property damage (including damage to insured’s own property) of $3,000 or more 3
At-fault accident resulting in total property damage (including damage to insured’s own property) in excess of $1,800 but less than $3,000 2
Driving on wrong side of the road 2
Following too closely 2
Illegal passing 2
Speeding more than 10 mph over the speed limit provided the total speed is in excess of 55 mph, but less than 76 mph 2
Speeding 10 mph or less in excess of speed zone of 55 mph or greater 2
All other moving violations 1
At-fault accident resulting in bodily injury* (to all persons) of $1,800 or less; OR resulting in property damage (including damage to insured’s own property) of $1,800 or less 1
Speeding 10 mph or less in excess of speed limit of less than 55 mph 1

0 points: Improper Equipment, City Code Violation, Failure to Display Registration / Inspection / License, Seatbelt Violation

Driver License Points
See N.C. Gen. Stat. § 20-16(c)
(General Rule: 12+ points in 3 years = license suspended)

Offense Points Added
Aggressive driving 5
Passing stopped school bus loading or unloading children (No PJCs allowed!) 5
Driving on wrong side of road 4
Failure to yield right-of-way to bicycle, motor scooter, or motorcycle 4
Failure to yield right-of-way to pedestrian pursuant to G.S. 20158(b)(2)b 4
Following too close 4
Hit and run, property damage only 4
Illegal passing 4
Reckless driving 4
Driving through safety zone 3
Failing to yield right-of-way 3
Failure to report accident where such report is required 3
Failure to stop for siren 3
No driver’s license or license expired more than one year 3
No liability insurance 3
Running through red light 3
Running through stop sign 3
Speeding in a school zone in excess of the posted school zone speed limit 3
Speeding in excess of 55 miles per hour 3
All other moving violations 2
Failure to properly restrain a child in a restraint or seat belt 2
Littering pursuant to G.S. 14399 when the littering involves the use of a motor vehicle 1

0 points: Improper Equipment, City Code Violation, Failure to Display Registration / Inspection / License, Seatbelt Violation