How Much a North Carolina Speeding Ticket Will Really Cost You
Most speeding tickets issued in North Carolina are $50 or less, which may not seem like a big deal. However, the cost of the initial fine is only the first of a long string of costs that can really add up. Additionally, depending on the circumstances under which you were pulled over, your ticket may be far more than $50. For instance, if you were speeding in a marked work or school zone, your ticket could be $250. There are also heightened fines for reckless driving. So, how much will a North Carolina speeding ticket really cost you?
Hidden Insurance Costs
While it may be tempting to pay your $50 ticket as quickly as possible, perhaps even seeming like the responsible, adult thing to do, this can come with heavy costs of which you may not be aware — namely, in the form of insurance. While court costs may only be a couple hundred dollars one time, insurance increases due to a single speeding ticket can cost you thousands of dollars.
In North Carolina, statistics show that insurance rates jump an average of 30-80% due to a single speeding conviction. To illustrate this example, someone with an average policy and no former traffic offenses whose insurance premiums increased by 45% as a result of a speeding conviction would be looking at paying an additional $1500 to maintain their full insurance coverage over the next three years.
How a Lawyer Can Help
A lawyer is absolutely instrumental in helping you avoid these massive insurance increases. Depending on the circumstances of your individual case, there are a number of things that a lawyer can do to help keep a speeding conviction off of your record. Namely, by keeping you from being convicted.
Depending on your case, a lawyer can request a reduction in charges on your behalf. If you have a valid North Carolina driver’s license, do not possess a commercial driver’s license, were not driving over 80 miles per hour, and were within 19 miles per hour of the posted speed limit, you likely qualify to have your speeding charge reduced to a lesser offense. There are no additional fees or court costs associated with requesting a reduction in charges.
Again, depending on your specific circumstances, a prayer for judgment continued can also be entered on your behalf. A prayer for judgment continued requires you to technically plead guilty, however, it continues the judicial process essentially indefinitely, so you will not actually receive the conviction and your insurance premiums should remain unaffected. This is not a good option for individuals who were traveling more than 25 miles per hour above the speed limit or who possess commercial licenses, as they likely will not qualify. However, most insurance policies allow one prayer for judgment continued to be used every three years. Note that all members covered by the policy count toward this one use.
A lawyer will be able to help determine the best available option for your specific case. They will also be able to work with opposing counsel to try and negotiate the most favorable possible outcome for you. While some people are hesitant to spend money on a lawyer rather than simply paying a ticket, the long term costs far outweigh the benefits of having experienced legal representation on your side.
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