Ticket Fines and Penalties in North Carolina

NC Traffic Ticket Fines and Costs

North Carolina's Chief District Court Judges have established set fine amounts for the state's moving violations that don't mandate court appearances. In addition to these fines, you most cover all associated court costs if you elect to challenge your citation in court.

Fines will be listed on your traffic ticket. All questions regarding the full amount owed should be directed to the county court posted on your citation.

Court Costs

Should your case go to trial, you must pay all associated court costs and fees.

Pay Ticket
(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 improvement course to remove driving record points

Learn more about
Paying your Traffic Ticket »

Fight Ticket
(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 »

Auto Insurance Rate Increase

Additional points on your driving record could prompt your auto insurance company to raise your rates. You always have the option to search for more affordable coverage by comparing car insurance rates online.

North Carolina Traffic Ticket Penalties

NC traffic violation penalties are uniform throughout the state, meaning they do not vary by county. An illegal passing ticket will cost four points on your driving record regardless if it occurs in Charlotte or Asheville. What does vary are the actual types of penalties. Depending on your offense, these may include the suspension or revocation of driving privileges, points added to your driving record, or even driving restrictions. Your license type (permit, CDL, etc.) also factors into the degree of the penalties.

Point System

Any moving offense conviction in North Carolina will result in points being added to your driving record. If you accrue seven points the state may mandate enrolling in a driver improvement clinic. If you total 12 points within a period of 3 years you may face suspension. Depending on whether you've been suspended for points before, the suspension could last from 60 days to 12 months. On the bright side, reinstatement from a suspension will sponge your driving record clean of points.

The completion of a state-approved driver improvement clinic will remove 3 points from your driving record.

Point amounts vary among violations. For more information, visit our page on North Carolina's point system.

NC Driver's License Suspension, Revocation and Cancellation

The terms associated with loss of driving privileges come with different meanings:

Suspended License―Driving privileges are temporarily terminated for a designated period of time; reinstatement can occur at the end of this period, and/or when certain conditions (completion of a driver improvement clinic, proof of auto insurance, etc) are met
Revoked License―Driving privileges are terminated indefinitely with no guarantee of reinstatement.
Canceled License―Driving privileges are void or terminated.

There are certain first-time traffic violations that mandate the immediate loss of driving privileges, and some of these include:

  • Prearranged racing with another vehicle
  • Speeding over 75 MPH
  • Passing a stopped school bus
  • A second charge of driving more than 15 MPH over the speed limit, if you are driving at a speed higher than 55 MPH
  • DUI

For a more detailed list of these violations, consult North Carolina's driver handbook.

Penalties for Drivers Younger Than 18

Driver's younger than 18 years old face closer scrutiny. In addition to the violations described above, you can also lose your driving privileges if:

  • Suspended from school for more than 10 consecutive days.
  • Sent to an alternative education setting due to disciplinary action for 10 consecutive days or more.
  • You don't have either a high school diploma or a Driving Eligibility Certificate.

Penalties for NC Commercial Drivers

Regardless of vehicle you were driving when ticketed, you must notify your employer that you were convicted of any moving violation.

First Offenses

Degree of penalties depends on past offenses. There are some first offenses that will result in the temporary termination of your driving privileges and these include:

  • Driving while impaired, regardless of vehicle, with a blood alcohol count (BAC) of 0.08%
  • Driving with a BAC of 0.04% while operating a commercial motor vehicle (CMV)
  • Using a CMV to commit a felony
  • Vehicular manslaughter offense occurring while you were operating a CMV
  • Operating a CMV while your CDL is suspended, revoked or canceled

Serious Traffic Violations

You'll also temporarily lose your driving privileges for being a repeat offender any designated serious violation within a designated time period. And these include:

  • Excessive speeding
  • Reckless driving
  • Following too close
  • Erratic lane changes
  • Operating a CMV without owning a CDL
  • Traffic offenses in a CMV in connection with fatal traffic accidents
  • Operating a CMV without carrying your CDL
  • Operating a CMV without proper endorsement

CDL Disqualifications

Some CDL offenses come with a life ban. For detailed information, consult the North Carolina's Commercial Driver's Manual.

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