Not many things are more frustrating than driving home from work and seeing red flashing lights in your rear view mirror. You quickly think through how fast you were driving, if you missed a stop sign, or if you didn’t use a blinker to switch lanes. After the officer asks for your driver’s license and proof of insurance, and leaves you waiting in your car while he or she checks everything out, the officer tells you that you are being given a ticket for a traffic violation.
In this blog post, we will discuss what a traffic violation is, how you can fight it, and what the consequences are. If you are facing a traffic violation and want to fight it, but don’t want to go to court alone, don’t hesitate to contact the team at Cummings & Kennedy Law. Our lawyers and criminal defense attorneys understand the complicated court system and we know what it takes to ensure that you have the best possible outcome.
What Are Traffic Violations?
When a driver breaks a law regulating the operation of a vehicle that is driven on streets and highways, they can receive a traffic violation when pulled over. In order to be convicted of a traffic violation, there doesn’t need to be any criminal intent. It only needs to be proven that the driver did commit the violation.
Examples of Traffic Violations
Traffic violations can include a range of different acts, including:
- Failing to yield
- Turning into the wrong lane
- Driving a vehicle with broken headlights
- Making an illegal U-turn
- Following too closely
- Speeding in a school or work zone
How Can You Fight a Traffic Violation?
When you work with a lawyer at Cummings & Kennedy, we will create a strategy in order to prove that you did not commit a violation or we will try to show that the action was necessary in the specific situation. Here are a few different strategies we can use in your defense.
Was the Conclusion Subjective?
When you are given a ticket for a traffic violation, the officer made that decision based on their own judgement of what they saw. In some cases, it’s relatively easy to show that the officer’s conclusion was not subjective. For example, if you were switching lanes in order to take an exit on a highway during a high traffic time of day, the office could say that you were unsafely switching lanes. But given the facts at the time, you can show that you were being safe given the circumstances. When possible, show that the officer did not have the best view in order to see exactly what happened.
Challenge the Officer’s Observations
In many cases, if you can show the officer’s observations were incorrect, you can prove to the judge that the violation was incorrect. For example, if you were given a ticket for failing to come to a complete stop, when in reality you did. There are a few methods for challenging the officer’s observations.
- Statements of witnesses: Witnesses can include passengers in the vehicle or bystanders who can testify to what happened.
- Diagram: A diagram has the ability to show the relation of the officer to the stop sign.
- Photographs: Photographs can show that an object, like a tree or another vehicle, obscured the officer’s view.
Mistake of Fact
You can possibly have the ticket dismissed if there were circumstances outside of your control. For example, if you failed to stop at a stop sign because a tree or bush was blocking it from view. In this case, even though you did violate a traffic law, stopping at the sign was beyond your control because you couldn’t see it.
Your Action Was Necessary to Avoid Harm
When you can show that you had to suddenly slam on the brakes in order to prevent an accident, you can possibly prove that the ticket was unjustified. For example, you had to swerve quickly to another lane in order to avoid hitting an old tire on the road. Keep in mind, however, that this defense shouldn’t be used when you got a speeding ticket because you were lost in your thoughts and didn’t realize you were speeding.
Consequences of a Traffic Violation in North Carolina
When you are convicted of a traffic violation, you may have points added to your driving record in addition to fines and possibly even jail time.
North Carolina has an “absolute” speed limit, so when you are pulled over for driving even one mile per hour over the limit, you can receive a ticket. Penalties for a speeding ticket can include a fine of between $100 and $1,000, a maximum jail sentence of 60 days, you can have your driver’s license suspended for up to one year, and three points can be added to your record.
After being convicted of a traffic violation, the Safe Driver Incentive Plan can give you insurance points. The more insurance points you have, the higher your premiums will be, in some cases they can increase between 25 and 400 percent.
When you receive a traffic violation in North Carolina, the consequences can be significant. That’s why the lawyers at Cummings & Kennedy are dedicated to fighting for driver’s rites in Beaufort. We know how important it is to keep your driver’s license and how a change in insurance premiums can affect your budget, so we work hard in order to win your case.
If you have a court date scheduled and want a professional, honest, and experienced lawyer on your side, call Cummings & Kennedy today. We will create a strategy that is based on fact and that has your best interest at heart.