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What are North Carolina Traffic Tickets?

North Carolina traffic tickets are notices issued to road users who violate the state’s traffic regulations. Traffic tickets feature details of the violation as well as it’s penalties. The state’s law enforcement officers issue these tickets while the District attorney for the county manages and disseminates all related records.

What Does a Traffic Citation Mean?

A traffic citation is an official document issued by law enforcement officials to road users who violate road traffic laws. ‘Traffic citation’ and ‘traffic ticket’ are used synonymously. However, traffic citations may require the offender to appear before a court of law. Examples of traffic violations that may lead to traffic citations include:

  • Over speeding
  • Aggressive driving
  • Hit and run driving
  • Driving on a suspended license
  • Making illegal U-turns
  • Running a traffic light or a stop sign
  • Distracted driving

The consequences of a traffic citation depend on the severity of the violation. Some traffic offenses only incur a fine without requiring the offender to make a court appearance, while others require both fines and appearances. Whatever the case, the alleged offender may opt to fight the traffic ticket

North Carolina speeding tickets may be the result of a basic or an absolute infraction. A basic infraction results in a traffic citation with payment of fines as the punishment. However, an absolute violation may lead to a maximum sentence of 10 days in jail.

Records of traffic violations and all other public records may be accessible from some third-party websites. These websites often make searching more straightforward, as they are not limited by geographic location, and search engines on these sites may help when starting a search for a specific or multiple records. To begin using such a search engine on a third-party or government website, interested parties usually must provide:

  • The name of the person involved in the record, unless said person is a juvenile
  • The location or assumed location of the document or person involved

Third-party sites are independent of government sources and are not sponsored by these government agencies. Because of this, record availability on third-party sites may vary.

How Do I Pay a Traffic Ticket in North Carolina?

Payment of traffic fines may be made to the court’s clerk or magistrate’s office in the county the ticket was issued. Payments may be made online, in-person, or via mail. Acceptable means of payment include money orders, bank checks, and cash if payments are made in-person.

To avoid appearing before a traffic court, offenders may opt to pay a fine. The chief district court judges determine the amount to be paid. However, paying off traffic citations may attract some consequences because it means admission to the traffic charges. This admission may also lead to an increase in the offender’s motor insurance rate. Not all traffic citations are waivable as some will require the offender to appear before a traffic court. Refusal to appear before a court may lead to arrest and suspension of offenders’ driver’s licenses. Offenders may also choose not to waive their case and plead not guilty before a court.

Can You Pay North Carolina Traffic Tickets Online?

Yes, it is possible to pay North Carolina traffic tickets online. The North Carolina judicial branch provides an online payment platform for this purpose. Payments may be made with credit or debit cards, and an additional fee may be charged if third-party vendors host the payment platform. Interested persons may look up details of their citations on the judicial branch’s search tool, and requestors must provide the citation number or defendant name to facilitate the search.

How do I Pay a Ticket online in North Carolina?

Traffic tickets may be paid online by using payNCticket. The North Carolina Administrative Office of the Courts maintains this payment portal, which can be used for a fee. Information about the ticket may be required for the payment, including the citation case number and the offender’s name. The payment portal has a “Notice to Defendant” disclaimer, which explains that paying off tickets to waive court appearance means an offender has pled guilty to the charges. Upon the completion of the payment, judgment will be passed on offenders.

What is the North Carolina Traffic Ticketing System?

North Carolina operates a ticket point system in which points are allocated to traffic law violators’ driving record, based on the laws violated. The North Carolina Department of Transportation oversees the process. Under G. S. 20–16(a)(5), an individual’s license may be suspended if they accumulate up to twelve points within three years. If it is the offender’s first suspension, their driver’s license may be revoked for sixty days before reinstatement.

Following reinstatement, an accumulation of eight points within the following three years will lead to a suspension of up to six months. Subsequent suspensions will last for at least a year. The highest point for a single traffic offense is 5 points, which may be incurred for violations like overtaking a stopped school bus or aggressive driving. Traffic violations such as manslaughter or highway racing will lead to immediate revocation of license. Additionally, traffic points may lead to an increase in insurance rates. Twelve insurance points, for a traffic violation like prearranged racing, may lead to a 340% increase in insurance rate.

Drivers may reduce their accumulated points by attending a Driver Improvement Clinic. To qualify for this program, a driver must have accumulated up to seven points on their driving record. The NCDMV notifies individuals that are eligible for this via mail. Drivers that excel well in the clinic will have three points deducted from their driving records. Insurance points may also be removed, depending on the insurance provider.

How Do I Know if I Have a Traffic Ticket in North Carolina?

Persons that have violated traffic regulations in North Carolina will be notified via mail. Alternatively, interested individuals may check their driving records to be aware of any traffic ticket gotten. Information contained in a driving record includes motorists’ name and location, driver license number and status, traffic citations, driver control actions, and traffic wreck information. Interested persons may get the complete records for a fee of $10.75. Records of traffic tickets may be requested online, via mail, or in-person at the North Carolina DMV (NCDMV) headquarters. For requests made online, requestors will need to provide details including name, date of birth, driver’s license or I. D. document, and social security number or taxpayer-identification number. Records requested online will be mailed to the requestor’s mailing address. The driving records request form should be completed for mail-in requests, enclosed with the required fees, and sent to the NCDMV office location:

NCDMV Headquarters

1100 New Bern Avenue

Raleigh, NC 27697

Records may be delivered after ten business days. In-person requests may be made at the NCDMV location, and the driving records are issued immediately.

How Can I Find a Lost Traffic Ticket in North Carolina?

Lost traffic tickets may be recovered using the Citation Query by Defendant Name tool available on the North Carolina Judicial Branch website. Inquirers must input names in the search bar to view all related results of misplaced traffic tickets. Concerned persons may also contact the clerk of court in the county where the traffic ticket was issued. If unsure of the county, interested persons may call the Administrative Office of the Court to confirm at (919) 890–1000.

How Long Does a Traffic Ticket Stay on Your Record in North Carolina?

Traffic tickets issued for infractions of traffic laws remain on the offender’s record for up to three years. The state’s ticket point system allocates points to offenders, which clears up after three years. An accumulation of seven points within this period may lead to the state recommending a driver school clinic. The accumulation of twelve points within three years results in the suspension of license. More information on how traffic tickets affect records may be gotten on the state’s DMV website.

Is a Summons Worse Than a Ticket in North Carolina?

Tickets can be paid off without a court appearance, while a court summons mandates traffic law violators to appear before a traffic court. Summons occur when infractions of traffic laws are more than one. However, paying off a ticket means the offender pleads guilty to the charges, which will be on their record. Persons that appear before a court may decide not to plead guilty. While the punishment depends on the severity of the infractions, it may be best to seek legal advice to understand the consequences fully.

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