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Speeding Ticket Violations

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The most common traffic violations our firm handles are speeding tickets.  In Wake County, thousands of speeding tickets are given out by officers each week.   As a result of these tickets people are bombarded with letters from traffic lawyers.   Our firm does not send out harassing letters.  We rely upon the quality of our service and our expertise.  Almost all of our business comes from referrals. We believe we are the best raleigh traffic ticket lawyer.

The following is a summation of the speeding ticket laws in North Carolina.

Speeding Tickets fall into several categories.

  1. Speeding above the posted speed.  S. 20-141
  2. Speeding below the posted speed (yes, this is a violation)  S. 20-141
  3. Speeding in a work zone.  S. 20-141(i2)
  4. Speeding in a school  zone G.S. 20-141.1
  5. Speed Competition G.S. 20-141.3
  6. Reckless Driving G.S. 20-140

Speeding Above the Posted Speed.

Drivers are required to comply with posted speed limits. Where there is no posted speed limit, the following limits apply: (1) 35 miles per hour inside municipal boundaries and (2) 55 miles per hour outside municipal boundaries and (3) 70 miles per hour on the interstate highway system. Local governments have authority to set speed limits within their jurisdictions, but the state retains control over speed limits on all roads in the state highway system.   Any driving that is performed above these limits can result in a speeding ticket being issued.    Most of these tickets are infractions.  However, it is a Class 3 Misdemeanor to operate a motor vehicle either greater than 15 above the speed limit or greater than 80 miles per hour.

A conviction for a speeding ticket can affect both your insurance and your license.  We have over 20 years of experience in handling tickets and are ready to assist you with yours.  If you want to obtain the best result possible then give us a call at 919-729-9000 today. 

Speeding Below the Posted Speed

It shall be unlawful to operate a passenger vehicle upon the interstate and primary highway system at less than the following speeds:

  1. Forty-miles per hour in a speed zone of 55 miles per hour.
  2. Forty-five miles per hour in a speed zone of 60 miles per hour or greater

Also no person shall operate a motor vehicle on the highway at such a slow speed as to impede the normal and reasonable movement of traffic.

There are certain exceptions but driving too slow can affect your license and insurance.

Speeding in a Work Zone

A conviction of speeding in a work zone has the same impact on one’s license and insurance as a regular speeding ticket.   The main difference between the two is that a conviction of speeding in a work one carries a whopping mandatory $250.00 fine!  The only way to avoid this additional amount is to obtain a prayer for judgment (PJC).  A prayer for judgment can only be granted by the presiding judge and basically overrides the imposition of the fine.   The same insurance rules apply to work zone tickets meaning that a prayer for judgment will keep a work zone speeding charge from affecting your insurance as long a no one else in the household has used a prayer for judgment in the past three years.

Speeding in a School Zone

Speeding in a school zone is a difficult charge to handle since the district attorney’s office is especially careful to protect the safety of children.

The designation of a school zone can be done in two different ways; by a sign or by an electronic flasher.

If marking the zone by a sign then the sign has to do the following:

  1. Give notice of the zone.
  2. Give notice of the speed limit.
  3. Give notice of the days and hours when the lower limit is in effect.

If using an electronic flasher then the flasher itself when in operation provides the notice of the zone, speed limit and days and hours the lower limit is in effect.  The electronic flashers can only be active when the school is in session.

Like a work zone ticket, a school zone ticket also carries a large $250.00 fine.  However, unlike a speeding in a work zone ticket, the speeding in a school zone charge carries insurance points regardless of the convicted speed.   For instance, if your first conviction is speeding 9 over in a work zone there would be no insurance points but if your first conviction is for speeding 9 over in a school zone there would be insurance points.   Therefore, only reducing the speed in a school zone is not an effective way to reduce insurance points.  One way (other than dismissal) to avoid insurance points is to use a prayer for judgment.    In this case a prayer for judgment can only be granted by the presiding judge and basically overrides the imposition of the points.

Our firm has 20 years’ experience in resolving school zone violations.  If you have been charged with this offense please call 919-729-9000 for a free consultation.

Speed Competition

There are two type of speed competition charges; pre-arranged and not pre-arranged.

A pre-arranged ticket is a class 1 misdemeanor and carries a three (3) years license suspension (limited privilege available after 18 months).  It also subjects the vehicle used in the competition to be seized and sold.

A not pre-arranged speed competition is a class 2 misdemeanor and carries a discretionary suspension of one year.

There are also more severe rules that apply to young drivers as well.

If you have been charged with either of these offenses call us today at 919-729-9000 for a free consultation.

Reckless Driving

Any person who drives any vehicle upon a highway or any public vehicular area carelessly and heedlessly in willful or wanton disregard of the rights or safety of others shall be guilty of reckless driving.  Reckless driving is a Class 2 misdemeanor.

Reckless driving is a “catch all” charge that oftentimes involves high speeds or speeding coupled without other moving violations.   In many instances the officer will charge a person with both speeding and reckless driving when the speeding exceeds 25 miles per hour above the speed limit.  In the essence the officer is piling on the driver by charging two different offenses on the same occasion. This causes a problem when attempting to resolve the case because a conviction of reckless driving and speeding over 55 on the same occasion causes a license suspension.

Our firm is well versed in handling these types of cases.  Call us at 919-729-9000 for a free consultation.

How to Read the Electronic Citation (ecitation)

Almost 90 percent of all speeding tickets in North Carolina are electronic tickets that are created and printed by the officer at the scene.  The ticket will provide information regarding the date, time and location of the alleged offense, the name, address and license number of the driver, the date, time and location of the court date and the charged offense.

It is important to note that the charged offense usually does not match the speed calculated by the officer.   This information is provided below the charged offense and will indicate the method used to calculate the speed and the “actual” speed gauged by the officer.  For instance, “L 65 S” means that the officer determined the speed by the use of Lidar pointed from the side of the vehicle as it was traveling past.   “R 45 F” means that the officer used Radar clocking as the vehicle was approaching him or her.   This information can be crucial to determining whether a valid defense to the charge exists.

What is Lidar?

Lidar (light detection and ranging) is a new technology that allows the officer to target a particular vehicle.  The laser beam is only 18 inches wide and can pick out one vehicle in a grouping.  The Lidar is considered reliable to corroborate the officer’s estimate of the speed.

What is Radar?

Radar guns send out a radio pulse and measure the reflection.  This is older technology that is still being used to measure speeds.   The radar is also used to corroborate the officer’s estimation of speed.

How does an officer approximate (A) or pace (P) Speed?

An officer can also pace or approximate a vehicle by using calculations.   If the officer is stationary he or she can determine the distance traveled in a certain amount of time to reasonably estimate the speed.  The officer can also track another vehicle while in motion.

Why you Should Not Pay Your Speeding Ticket Online

Wake County has developed a new online procedure for paying traffic tickets.  This process allows a person to pay for tickets online that are “waivable” – that do not require a court appearance.  This includes all speeding violations except driving in excess of 80 mph and speeding move than 15 above the limit (as long as the speed is over 55 mph).  This means that almost every speeding violation can be paid online without going to court.  However, paying the ticket is an admission of responsibility to the charged offense.  The result of this is that almost every ticket that is paid online will end up causing an insurance increase and/or a license suspension!   As a result, one should never pay a speeding ticket via the online system without consulting an attorney first.

Penalties for Speeding Tickets Convictions

Penalties for speeding include fines, increased insurance costs and possible suspension of a driver’s license. The severity of the punishment depends on the driver’s prior driving record, the applicable speed limit and how fast the driver was going when pulled over.

The Division of Motor Vehicles is required to suspend the driver’s license of anyone convicted of (1) driving in excess of 80 miles per hour or (2) exceeding the posted speed limit by more than 15 miles per hour at a time when that person was also driving in excess of 55 miles per hour. In other words, driving 56 in a 40 zone or 61 in a 45 zone could cost you your license (but not 51 in a 35).

Multiple speeding convictions in a 12-month period may also result in the suspension of your driver’s license. License suspensions are subject to a 60-day appeal period and in certain circumstances a district court judge may authorize limited driving privileges rather than a full suspension. The judge has discretion to place whatever restrictions he or she deems appropriate on such limited driving privileges.

How Speeding Tickets Affect Insurance

If you purchase new automobile insurance or change your coverage (including adding a new driver) your insurance company will “look back” three years for everyone on the policy to determine any moving violations (speeding tickets, stop sign tickets, etc.)  In North Carolina an insurance company can use these convictions to set or raise your insurance rates.  There are two major exceptions.  An insurance company cannot raise your rates mid-stream for any driver who only has one conviction of speeding 10 over the speed limit or less.  An insurance company cannot raise your rates mid-stream if one member of the household has used a prayer for judgment continued (PJC).

When representing our clients we look at all areas of insurance and criminal law to determine the best way to handle the charge.   For instance, in some cases we will advise that the case be continued past the insurance renewal period to avoid additional increases.   In other cases we may advise the removal of a prior prayer for judgment that was unnecessary in order to use it on a new charge.   In any event you can rest assured by calling our firm that you are receiving the best possible service and outcome.

If you have a traffic ticket you would like to discuss with us please call 919-729-9000 for a free consultation and get a raleigh traffic ticket lawyer for your case.

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