Traffic Ticket Cheat Sheet

The call comes at least once a week: A driver was just keeping up with traffic on 77 or 85 in Charlotte, and then she sees it. Blue lights in her rear-view mirror. Long story short, she was charged with going 70 mph in a 55 mph zone.


When she gets home, she searches “should I pay a ticket or get a lawyer?” and finds plenty of websites saying she will lose her driver's license because she was speeding 15 mph over the speed limit. Who are you going to believe? The internet or a seasoned traffic attorney?


Here are three tips you need to know if you get a ticket in North Carolina.


Tip #1: Don't Let the Fear of Losing Your License Cloud Your Decisions

"Will I lose my driver’s license for driving 15 over the speed limit?" Let's see what North Carolina traffic laws have to say:


[T]he Division [of Motor Vehicles] shall suspend for a period of 30 days the license of any driver without a preliminary hearing on receiving a record of the driver's conviction of either:


  1. Exceeding by more than 15 miles per hour the speed limit, either within    or outside the corporate limits of a municipality, if the person was also driving at a speed in excess of 55 miles per hour at the time of the offense


  1. Driving at a speed in excess of 80 miles per hour at the time of the offense.


When it comes to losing your license for a speeding ticket, the most important words here are “exceeding [the speed limit] by more than 15 miles per hour.” The most common speeding tickets typically involve speeds of 15 mph or less over the speed limit.


The point here is: every case is different. Even if you exceed 15 mph over the posted speed limit, it’s likely that an experienced traffic attorney can minimize the damage. Which leads us to number 2...


Tip #2: Don't Pay a Traffic Ticket Without Consulting a Traffic Attorney

One mistake many North Carolina drivers make is paying the fine listed on their ticket. You might see the fine and think: “$218.00 isn't so bad—why should I pay a lawyer to handle this ticket for me?”


If you pay that ticket, you are pleading guilty to charges you may not be guilty of or charges that could have been easily reduced or dismissed. You are pleading guilty to the speeding charge and accepting the fact that your driving record will get worse and your insurance will go up.


North Carolina’s Safe Driver Incentive Plan standardizes increases in auto insurance rates. This plan allows an 80% increase in your insurance rates if you are convicted of certain speeding offenses. Some convictions, such as driving with a suspended or revoked license, can make your car insurance more than double.


Remember—Your driver’s license will only be revoked or suspended for speeding if you are convicted. A good speeding ticket defense can keep that from happening.


Tip #3: Don't Plead Guilty Without Checking Your North Carolina Driving Record

We know some of you may skip number 2, but we still want to help you out. So, when was the last time you had a traffic ticket? This is a question we ask every client charged with a traffic violation. Each client has a different history and unique contributing factors.


And every traffic violation conviction has its unique accrual of DMV points. Remember, your license can be suspended after accruing 12 DMV points—so every point matters.

But there's more to the equation than just a certain number of points.


Here are other speeding violations that can lead to a suspended North Carolina driver's license:


  • Two convictions for speeding over 55 MPH within one year
  • A conviction of reckless driving and a conviction for speeding over 55 MPH within one year
  • A conviction of aggressive driving and a conviction for speeding over 55 MPH within one year
  • A conviction for speeding over 75 MPH on a street or highway where the speed limit is less than 70 mph
  • A conviction for speeding over 80 MPH on a street of highway where the speed limit is 70 MPH


Losing your license is losing the ability to live the life you're used to. Don't let even a seemingly small infraction tip the scales. If you or someone you know has been charged with a traffic violation in North Carolina, contact the Law Offices of Jason H. Reece to speak with a seasoned traffic attorney.