North Carolina Traffic Offenses: FAQs Answered

If you’ve ever received a traffic ticket in North Carolina, you likely have numerous questions, ranging from whether you need to attend your court date, to how (if at all) the ticket will impact your driving privileges.

Here, we answer six top FAQs about North Carolina traffic tickets.

Q: Do I have to go to court?

A: All traffic tickets will include a court date. However, in some situations, you might be able to handle your ticket without appearing in court. This would apply if you “waive” your offense or if you request a reduction or dismissal online through the District Attorney’s Office. You can learn more by visiting Citation Services through the North Carolina Courts website.

Q: What does it mean to “waive” a traffic offense? Should I do it?

A: Some offenses, like minor speeding violations, carry the option of handling your case by paying your fine and court costs online – without having to appear in court. These offenses are called “waivable” because if you waive, you relinquish your right to appear in court to fight your ticket. Waiving is essentially like pleading guilty and accepting any resulting effects on your license or insurance. Because of this, it is critical to consult an attorney before choosing to waive your offense. A complete list of waivable offense in North Carolina can be found here.

Q: If I got my ticket outside my home county, can I handle it in my home county, or do I have to travel?

A: If your offense is waivable, you do not need to appear in person. However, if your offense is not waivable or is one that requires you to appear in court, then you will be required to attend in the county in which you received the ticket. In some cases, your criminal defense attorney can appear in court on your behalf.

Q: How will this ticket affect my license and driving privileges? What about my insurance?

A: The North Carolina courts will report final convictions for traffic violations to the DMV, which can then take action against your license. This action will depend upon the offense. Some serious offenses, like DWIs, require a license suspension. Others will simply involve adding points to your license. As far as the impact to your insurance, you can view a document showing the insurance point increases for certain offenses in the N.C. Department of Insurance’s Consumer’s Guide to Automobile Insurance.

Q: Can I get a copy of my record and the accident report?

A: Yes. You can obtain a copy of your North Carolina driving record or the crash report through the N.C. DMV. Your attorney can also pull a copy for you.

Q: How can I find out the final disposition of my case?

A: You may look up your case at the Clerk of Court’s office in the county in which you received your ticket. You can contact the Clerk’s office during normal business hours and ask a staff member to pull your file for you.

If you have further questions about your traffic ticket, contact Cotten Law Firm for a consultation. Attorney Jeremy Cotten has a track record of helping clients navigate a variety of traffic charges throughout Wake, Johnston, Harnett, Orange, Sampson, Lee, and Chatham Counties and is ready to meet with you to discuss your case. Give him a call or click over to the main page to chat with a legal assistant.