By Joseph M. Wilson, Jr., Attorney at Law
As our Facebook fans learned last week, North Carolina law enforcement officers (and those in many other states) were out in force over the holiday weekend working to keep motorists safe. Holiday weekends typically see travel spikes, and more drivers on the road can result in more crashes—thus the additional police presence.
If you were one of the many drivers ticketed for a traffic violation this weekend, you may be wishing you had stayed home. You may be thinking to yourself, “No big deal—I’ll just pay the ticket and move on.” This is not always the best solution. Depending upon the violation(s) for which you were cited, a conviction may result in a fine, points against your license and a possible increase in your insurance premiums. If you were cited for more than one traffic offense—for example, running a stop sign and not wearing your seat belt—you must consider that the fines are additive. Likewise, if a good driving record is a requirement for your job, simply paying the ticket might have an impact on your employment. And if you have prior traffic convictions and this ticket results in the suspension of your driver’s license, it can be costly and time-consuming to have your license reinstated.
It is also important to note that in many states, including North Carolina, some traffic tickets are actually criminal charges. This includes situations where you are ticketed for speeding at more than 15 miles an hour over the posted speed limit OR if you are driving more than 80 miles per hour. A charge of DWI is even more serious and you should immediately speak with a criminal defense lawyer.
I would recommend that you speak to a traffic ticket lawyer before you simply pay any ticket. It may be cheaper in the long run to pay an attorney than the potential fine and/or effect on your insurance premiums. If you have questions about a ticket you received, contact a traffic lawyer at Merritt Webb today.