Pay Traffic Ticket in North CarolinaPage Overview
(Plead Guilty or No Contest)
- Pay the fine
- Plea bargain for a reduced charge
- Receive points on your driving record
- Incur possible jump in auto insurance rates
- Possible option to take driver safety course to reduce driving record points
Learn more below
(Plead Not Guilty)
- Challenge traffic ticket via trial
- Either represent yourself or hire a lawyer
- Enter not guilty plea and then immediately ask for a Prayer for Judgment Continued (PJC)
- Possibly lose option to plea bargain for lesser charges
Learn more about
Fighting your Traffic Ticket »
Paying a non-criminal traffic ticket is an admission of guilt. Since paying means you are waiving your right to appear in court, theses offenses are referred to as “waivable” offenses. Paying your ticket means:
- You have the option to plea bargain with the court for a lesser penalty
- You may be assessed points against your driver’s license; learn more about points on our North Carolina Points System page
- Depending on the infraction, you could see an increase in your auto insurance rates.
- Possible loss of job if you drive for a living
- Possible loss of driving privileges due to too many points on your driving record
For waivable offenses you have the option of paying online, in person or by mail.
Be sure, when paying, to submit your fee before the due date listed on your citation passes. Failure to pay could result in additional fines, loss of driving privileges ( suspended driver's license), or even a warrant for your arrest.
Not all traffic infractions are waivable. Serious infractions like DUI or reckless driving require appearing in court. The citing officer should indicate this on your ticket. If you are unclear whether you must appear in court, contact the court clerk for assistance.
Pleading Guilty as a CDL Driver
While holding a North Carolina commercial driver’s license (CDL) you must notify your employer within 30 days of any traffic violation (except parking). This applies to any vehicle that you were driving. For more information on traffic violations and subsequent ramifications, consult the North Carolina Commercial Driver’s Manual.
Pleading Not Guilty
You always have the right to contest your ticket in court. Presenting a strong case could mean the dismissal of your ticket. And of course, you always have the PJC option, which is unique to North Carolina. Learn more in our section on fighting your North Carolina traffic ticket.
North Carolina gives you the option to pay online using a valid credit card. If you opt for online payment, jump down to the section below for information on getting your driving record points reduced.
If you don't wish to pay online (above), you'll need to know where you were ticketed to determine how else you can pay the citation fee. Traffic tickets in North Carolina are handled on a county level. This means you must settle your traffic ticket in the county you were cited in. The county court’s contact information will be listed on your ticket.
If you’ve misplaced your ticket, visit our section on Lost Traffic Tickets.
Go to the county website where you were ticketed if the court information posted on your ticket isn’t clear. Most websites will provide directions and numbers to call. Since each county handles traffic tickets differently, be sure to visit the website for the county where you were issued the citation.
Next, pay your ticket via one of the four following options:
- Pay in person at the clerk’s office of the county in which you were charged.
- Pay in person at the magistrate’s office of the county in which you were charged.
- Pay by mail to the clerk’s office of the county in which you were charged.
The county website will provide addresses and hours if you opt to pay in person or by mail. When paying in person you must use cash, a cashiers check or a certified check. When paying by mail use either a certified or cashiers check.
If you’re required to appear in court be sure to appear on the court date posted on your citation. If, for whatever reason, you cannot attend, either contact the court clerk about rescheduling a new court date, or consult with a traffic ticket attorney. He or she may be able to appear in court for you.
In some instances, completion of a Driver Improvement Clinic may be allowed for reducing points from your driving record. This option is usually decided by the court or the North Carolina DMV.
Check Your Driving Record
Make it a habit to periodically check your driving record to assure no points have been erroneously added. This is especially imperative after receiving a traffic citation. Visit our page on North Carolina’s point system for more information on traffic violations and associated points.
After paying your ticket and checking your driving record, contact your auto insurance company about any resulting rate hikes. Should your premiums jump at renewal time, you can always shop around online and compare auto insurance rates online.Other Topics in This Section