Traffic Ticket FAQ in North Carolina

What do I do if I get a traffic ticket?

If you have any questions regarding your traffic ticket, you can contact the district attorney for the county your ticket was issued in. The superior court handles all payments of costs and fines. If you got a traffic ticket, you have a few options for handling it.

You can “waive” the ticket*, which means you will:

  • Not have to appear in court.
  • Only be responsible for paying the fine.

If you choose to waive your ticket, you can do so:

You can also request online to have your traffic ticket dismissed or reduced.

*NOTE: Not all traffic violations will be eligible to be waived; check your traffic ticket to see if it is a “waivable offense.”

What do I do if I missed my court date?

Failing to appear on your court date carries heavy consequences, including fines, the revocation of your license, and a possible warrant for your arrest. Contact the clerk’s office of the county you were ticketed in (this information should be on your citation) as soon as possible about rescheduling a court date. You may also want to contact a traffic ticket lawyer regarding the penalties stemming from your failure to appear.

Can I take care of a traffic ticket issued by a different county in my own county of residence?

If you want to contest the ticket in court, or if a court appearance is required, you must appear at the court listed on your ticket. In some instances, you may have a traffic ticket attorney appear for you.

What is a “Prayer for Judgment Continued”?

A Prayer for Judgment Continued, or what is often referred to as a PJC, is a specific ruling in North Carolina that means that although a person pleads guilty, or is found guilty, the court does not enter the conviction. This spares the defendant from paying fines and from receiving driver’s license points and insurance points.

Will my car insurance rates increase if I plead guilty to a traffic violation?

Check with your car insurance company. Each insurance provider in North Carolina maintains different policies regarding traffic violations. You should also compare auto insurance rates online to ensure you're getting the best deal.

What is a waivable offense?

In North Carolina, a waivable offense refers to North Carolina traffic violations that can be handled outside of court; you, the defendant, can waive your right to appear in court by paying the traffic fine before the court date listed on your citation. These generally refer to minor offenses, such as driving with a broken headlight.

How many driving points can I accumulate on my driving record before the state suspends my driver’s license?

If you accrue 12 points or more on your driving record within 3 years, the state may suspend your driver’s license.

It’s important to note that getting 8 points on your record in NC in the 3 years following the reinstatement of your suspended license could result in another suspension.

Why is it a good idea to order a driving record?

It’s always good to periodically check your driving record for errors, especially if you have a history of traffic convictions. Points added in error could affect your North Carolina driver’s license status and/or car insurance premium.

My driver’s license has been revoked, yet I still need a car to commute to and from work. Do I have any options?

In some situations, the court may grant you a limited driving permit. This will allow you to drive in NC, but under strict conditions. Depending on your situation, you may be allowed to only drive to and from work, or to and from school.

Are traffic ticket fines the same throughout the state of North Carolina?

Yes, fines, along with court costs are uniform throughout NC. Our page on NC traffic ticket fines and penalties has a detailed breakdown of the fines in the state.

What if I have a CDL and get a traffic ticket in North Carolina?

Getting a traffic ticket with a commercial driver’s license is pretty similar to getting one with a regular license. However, if you are a commercial driver and get pulled over for a traffic ticket in North Carolina—either in your commercial vehicle or otherwise—you will need to tell your employer within 30 days of the conviction.

Are deferral programs available for reducing or dismissing a charge?

Deferral programs vary by county. Contact the district attorney’s office for the county you were ticketed in for information.