Most Tarheel State residents are familiar with DWI, or Driving While Impaired, which is the charge for someone driving a motor vehicle while or after drinking alcohol. But even for drivers who have never had a drop of alcohol before, there are still a range of traffic violations that can be as serious as a DWI—and about as expensive.
But if you’re not familiar with some of the charges that you can receive on a ticket, we’ve compiled a list of some of the more common charges. You should be aware of these violations and have some understanding should you find yourself speaking to a police officer.
Driving Without A License
There are two versions of this ticket:
- Driving Without A Valid License, when you are unable to produce a license or your license has expired. This charge is also levied against individuals from foreign countries who fail to obtain a legal NC driver’s permit, and can include harsh penalties.
- Driving With A Revoked License, a class 2 misdemeanor that can add 3 points to your driving record and increase your insurance as much as 25%. You could also face high fines and possibly jail time for this charge.
Careless & Reckless Driving
This charge usually includes speeding, but is used anytime a driver operates their vehicle in an unsafe or irresponsible fashion. This charge can lead to a suspended license.
Exceeding Posted Speed
Not a “speeding” charge, it’s a lesser charge that can escalate your insurance rates.
This common citation can include both fines and points on your driving record as well as dramatically increase your insurance rates.
Failure To Stop For/Passing A Stopped School Bus
This is a Class 1 misdemeanor, with the possibility of 120 days in jail or community service and driving school. The charge includes a $500 fine and $190 court costs, and it must be paid before renewing your license and vehicle registrations for all your vehicles. You’ll gain five points on your driving record and four on your insurance record for this one, with the potential for an 80% increase.
Hit & Run
It is illegal to leave the scene of an accident in NC, as well as many other states. After an accident, all drivers are required to stop and wait for police. You’re also required to exchange information with all other drivers, and ensure that any injured parties receive necessary medical attention.
If you must leave the scene of the accident to notify police, get immediate medical attention, or prevent further injury to yourself or other parties, you must return to the scene within a reasonable period of time or face charges.
North Carolina sees hit & run as both a misdemeanor and a felony, depending on the severity of the accident. Penalties range from fines and 120 days in jail to a Class H or Class F felony, with high fines and as much as 41 months in jail.
DWI, Driving While Inebriated (Including Provisional DWI)
Ignoring It Will Not Make It Go Away
Even for the most minor violations that you might think are “no big deal,” you must pay attention and take care of a ticket. Some may not require you to appear in court, others will. But ignoring the citation altogether will it will cost more to get your license restored if you get to the point of suspension. Read your ticket carefully and understand instructions for payment before you find yourself with additional issues like:
- Failing to appear for a speeding ticket adds a $200 fine
- Eventual license suspension for failing to appear and pay a fine for speeding
- A warrant for your arrest
- Additional points
It’s also not wise to pay the fine and be done with it—that’s an admission of guilt, and can raise your insurance rates as well. A Raleigh traffic ticket attorney can inform you of all your legal options.
Points Add Up
Different charges come with different amounts of points that are added to your driving record. Rack up enough of them, and you may be assigned to a “driver improvement clinic.” If you continue to rack up points, your driver’s license can be outright suspended:
- First suspension: 60 days
- Second suspension: 6 months
- Third suspension: 12 months
Points are cancelled after the license is reinstated.
Insurance rates can also escalate, and additional fines and fees may be required to reinstate your license.
One option is to request a reduction of your charge to a lower ranking citation. If the court agrees, you could avoid having points added to your driving record.
Defense For Traffic Violations
Even with minor charges, traffic violations can cost money and cause trouble later. Ignoring a traffic ticket can bring additional problems than if you’d dealt with it at the outset, so get help.
Dewey P. Brinkley is a Raleigh traffic ticket defense attorney who can aggressively defend you against traffic tickets of all types—including DWI—and protect your rights in court. Call the law offices of Dewey P. Brinkley today for a free initial consultation to discuss your DWI case at (919) 832-0307. You can also email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or use our online contact form