Asheville Traffic Ticket Lawyer | Traffic Attorney
Even with the help of navigation apps, making mistakes while driving can be costly. From speeding to accidents and everything in between, traffic tickets can be a difficult consequence of an unanticipated occurrence while operating a motor vehicle. Often, the reason for the ticket can be avoided, but it still happens. For many, the first instinct is to pay the fine and move past the ticket, but that may not always be your best option.
Understanding the consequences of different types of tickets, your options for responding to them, and making sure your ticket was rightfully issued should be the first steps in deciding how to handle your traffic ticket. With the help of the skilled and passionate attorneys at Doug Edwards Law, you can review your options. This could save you time, money, and potentially your freedom.
Every traffic ticket case begins with a thorough review of the evidence. We can determine if the ticket was issued properly without violating any of your rights, as well as the circumstances of your case.
Should I Hire a Lawyer for My Asheville Traffic Ticket?
Traffic tickets are more than just a piece of paper issuing a fine. It is a subjective accusation stating that you have broken the law. As such, they should be treated just as any criminal case would. Just as you have the right in a criminal proceeding to challenge the charges against you, you have that same right with a traffic ticket. In addition, you have the right to an attorney to represent your best interests and challenge the prosecution’s case, which must prove that you violated traffic laws beyond a reasonable doubt.
With the help of an experienced attorney, you gain the professional help you need to:
- Review the circumstances under which the ticket was issued.
- Challenge the presumptive arrest and the evidence against you.
- Seek to have charges reduced or dismissed, especially if you have no criminal or traffic record and a good reputation in your community.
- Use the knowledge of Buncombe County traffic laws to your advantage when negotiating with the prosecution.
- Review the options you have based on the facts and circumstances of your case, including accepting a plea deal or determining if you have a case that could go to trial.
- Help you understand how your ticket could pose both short- and long-term problems with your driver’s license and the options available to avoid potentially severe penalties.
Just because you receive a ticket does not mean that you are automatically guilty of the alleged violation. With the help of an experienced professional, you have useful options available to you.
You may believe that you can fight the allegations on your own. However, the intricacies of traffic law are not as clear to the untrained eye.
Types of Traffic Ticket Violations
There are many ways to receive traffic tickets. The offense you are ticketed for may not even be the main reason the police stopped you. You may have committed another violation, and there was a witness to a second. The more serious types of traffic violations include:
- Speeding: North Carolina states that it is illegal to drive faster than a reasonably responsible driver would go in a set of particular driving conditions. In addition, the law provides an “absolute” speed limit law. Under this law, if a person drives a single mile per hour (mph) over the posted speed limit, they could face penalties ranging from $100 to $1000 and up to 60 days in jail. They could also have their license suspended for up to one year.
- Reckless Driving: Reckless driving may seem subjective. However, the law defines it as driving heedlessly or carelessly with a wanton or willful disregard for the safety or rights of others. This can manifest in many different ways, including if you drive at least 15 mph over a posted speed limit of 55 mph or less. When the speed limit increases, leniency decreases because, by law, the faster you are going, the more dangerous your vehicle becomes. The penalties for reckless driving can be significant, as it is considered a Class 2 misdemeanor. This means if you are convicted, you could face penalties of up to 60 days in jail, fines of up to $1000, and a criminal record.
- Hit-and-Run Driver: If you are involved in an accident, North Carolina requires you to stay at the scene of the accident. If you leave the scene of an accident, you could face not only a traffic ticket but also a multitude of other charges. These include failing to contact the police, failing to provide information, failing to stop, or failing to provide assistance. Because of the seriousness of these violations, you could be facing a misdemeanor or felony charge, which means significant jail or prison time, hefty fines, and severe penalties to your driver’s license.
- Driving on a Suspended or Revoked License: If your driver’s license becomes suspended or revoked, you are not allowed to operate a motor vehicle. This can happen if you receive too many points on your license from violations or if you are charged with driving under the influence, for example. If you are caught driving under these circumstances, you could be charged with a misdemeanor and face penalties up to 120 days in jail and fines. In addition, you could face a permanent revocation or suspension of your license.
While these represent the most severe instances of traffic violations, there are other ways that you could face traffic tickets or charges. Lesser violations include:
- Operating a vehicle without a valid registration
- Illegally making a U-turn
- Failing to stop at a stop sign or red light
- Failing to wear a seat belt or properly restraining a child
- Having insurance that does not contain liability
- Failing to yield
- Following another vehicle too closely (commonly referred to as “tailgating”)
- Speeding through posted school or work zones
- Failing to stop for law enforcement or intending to elude them
- Failing to stop for a school bus that is stopped
- Passing, turning, or backing up improperly
Once you are convicted of any type of violation, the conviction and subsequent penalties are reported to the North Carolina Department of Transportation. The agency will then add the appropriate penalty points to your driving record. Additionally, your insurance will receive a notification and apply points under the Safe Driver Incentive Plan. If points are added, your premiums could significantly increase.
Each type of violation will be categorized as an infraction, misdemeanor, or felony. Depending on how your violation is charged, you could face different penalties. For many misdemeanor and felony charges, each infraction increases the potential penalties.
- Infractions: If you receive an infraction, it means you were convicted of a traffic violation, such as speeding. If found guilty, you will be responsible for any fines and court costs.
- Misdemeanors: This is considered a minor crime and is more than a violation. DUIs, certain hit-and-run accidents, and some reckless driving incidents are considered part of this category. Your penalties could include up to 60 days in jail, fines, and court costs.
- Felonies: These are the more serious types of crimes, such as hit-and-runs that injure another person, vehicular manslaughter, or having multiple DUIs. Convictions for felonies include time in prison, significant fines, paying court costs, and the potential to lose your driver’s license.
If you are required to appear in court for your violation and fail to appear, pay your ticket, or pay any other fines or costs associated with your ticket, you could lose your license. You can also be barred from driving in North Carolina with a license from another state.
Driver’s License Points
Each infraction, misdemeanor, and felony traffic violation could also come with points on your license. If you accumulate twelve or more points within three years, you could have your driver’s license suspended. If, after that time period, you accumulate an additional eight points, you will again face a suspension of your license. If your license is suspended for the accumulation of points, it will be done under the following parameters:
- The first suspension is for 60 days.
- The second suspension is for 6 months.
- The third suspension is for one year.
The number of points you could receive is dependent on the violation. Common point assessments include:
- 5 points for violations such as passing a stopped school bus or driving aggressively.
- 4 points for violations such as reckless driving, hit-and-run with property damage, tailgating, driving on the wrong side of the road, passing illegally, or failing to yield for a pedestrian, bicycle, motor scooter, or motorcycle.
- 3 points for violations such as running a stop sign or red light, not carrying liability insurance, speeding, failing to stop for an emergency vehicle, or failing to report an accident.
- 2 points for violations such as failing to properly restrain a child or not wearing a seatbelt.
- 1 point for littering from or with a motor vehicle.
Your license can be suspended or revoked for points accumulated, subsequent traffic infractions, or point violations. However, drivers could be told to complete a driver improvement clinic once they accumulate seven points.
While points may reset and drop off over time or following a suspension, the impact on your insurance may be permanent. You could face higher costs for a longer period.
North Carolina Speeding Ticket Defense
One of the most often challenged types of tickets are those received for speeding. While there are a number of defenses that can be used, the most common include:
- Necessity: There may be times when speeding is necessary to save your or another person’s life. These exceptions are few, but they can be not only lifesaving but also help to dismiss your speeding ticket violation.
- Lack of Signage: While law enforcement is charged with providing tickets for those who violate the posted speed limit sign, there must be evidence that the speed limit was posted. If it cannot be proven or shown by the prosecution, the ticket may not be upheld.
- GPS Reading: Technology can do amazing things, and that includes tracking your speed. Whenever you use GPS guidance on your vehicle, it uses your speed to calculate distances remaining and estimated times. If your GPS can show that you were traveling at a slower rate than what your ticket states, it could be used as a defense.
- Speedometer Calibration: Calibration is not just for detection devices but also for your own vehicle. If you received a ticket but believe your vehicle was traveling at a different speed, your speedometer calibration may be incorrect. Having your vehicle inspected and checked could prove that this occurred.
- Inaccurate Radar Gun: Law enforcement is required to keep their equipment working and calibrated correctly. Because this serves as the basis for most tickets, if it is not working properly or has not been properly maintained, your ticket may be dismissed.
- Not the Driver: While this defense is not very likely, there may be a situation in which you were not the actual driver of the vehicle. You must be able to provide credible evidence to prove someone else was driving the car.
These, among other defenses, are examples of not only how to challenge a speeding ticket but also the multitude of options that you could have in your traffic ticket defense. The available evidence surrounding your case is key to taking the right approach.
Asheville Traffic Ticket Attorney
Both moving and nonmoving violations involving a motor vehicle can have severe consequences. But often, the evidence surrounding the violations is inaccurate or mislabeled. You should not have to pay for tickets, increased insurance rates, or criminal charges because of the mistakes of others. If you have been issued a traffic ticket in North Carolina, put experience and knowledge on your side by hiring an attorney from Doug Edwards Law. Our team will review the facts of your case and help you understand the options available to you. You do not have to fight your ticket alone. Contact our offices today.