In North Carolina, child safety seat laws are governed by the Department of Transportation. There are specific requirements for the type of safety seat that must be used, and the age and weight of the child. Failing to comply with these requirements can result in a ticket, and in most cases, an attorney may need to be consulted.
The types of safety seats that are allowed vary depending on the weight and age of the child. For children who are younger than 5 years old and weigh less than 40 pounds, a safety seat must not be rear-facing if there are airbags present. It may be forward-facing if there are no airbags present, but in this case, the child would have to be placed in the back seat of the car. If the child car seat you have is designed to protect the kid even if the airbag deploys, the seat may be forward-facing and be in the front seat even with an airbag present.
Children who are older than 8 years old or weigh more than 80 pounds may use a forward-facing safety seat or a belt-positioning booster seat. All children under the age of 16 must use a safety belt, even if they are using a safety seat.
Also, all restraining devices such as child car seats and car seat belts must meet Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS).
Anyone who violates these laws is subject to fines, driving license points, and/or jail time.
The Minimum Age a Child Can Ride in the Front Seat of a Car in North Carolina
Generally, a child in North Carolina can ride in the front seat of a car when they are 5 years old or older, but they must be wearing a seat belt and should be in a suitable child car seat.
Some exceptions apply, though, such as when there is no front passenger airbag or if the front passenger airbag has been turned off. Additionally, children under the age of 5 are allowed to ride in the front seat of a car if they weigh 40 pounds or more.
Finally, if your vehicle has no rear seat, then your kids are allowed to ride in the front passenger seat.
What Should You Do if You are Charged With a Breaking a North Carolina Child Car Seat Law
If you are charged with breaking a North Carolina child seat law, you should first contact an attorney. There are many defenses that may be available to you, and an experienced lawyer can help you explore them. Depending on the specific charge, you may be able to negotiate a plea bargain or take the case to trial. Both will help to ensure that your charges are watered down or dismissed totally.
For example, your lawyer can help show that you were acting in good faith and had no intent to break the law. Your attorney may also help dig up and provide evidence that your child was properly restrained at the time.
Get Help From a Traffic Attorney
Coastal South Law attorneys can assist you if you have been issued a child safety seat citation in North Carolina. Our attorneys are well-versed in handling all types of traffic violations and can assist you in your fight against a citation. Thousands of past clients have avoided fines and points on their driving records as a result of our efforts.
Contact us right away with the specifics of your case so we can get started.