What to Do When You Receive a Traffic Ticket - Part 4
Dec 28, 2017
Have you received a traffic citation? If so, you're in the right place.
North Carolina Attorney Bill Powers has been defending traffic matters for 25 years. In this episode, Attorney Powers answers the questions that matter to you when you receive a traffic ticket.
So there are times to open it up, but we see those ... I call them license reclamation projects where we're going back and trying to look globally at a person's license and their privilege to drive. You're seeing that more state-wide to where they're having, they're being the State of North Carolina in some jurisdictions, amnesty type of programs. I've heard of one called that or where if you come to them and, I don't know use the term cop to some tickets, not taking care of, they'll be able to dismiss some of them. I still would think it would be a better idea to have a lawyer involved in that process, but we're seeing now as a policy matter in North Carolina I think more of the intent either from Jones Street in Riley or the General Assembly or prosecutors as a whole of "Let's get people legal" as opposed to just suspension, after suspension, after suspension, after suspension, and then people still drive.
You can agree or disagree with that policy, but I have seen a major change from when I first got involved in the systems and now. That there seems to be more of an understanding of, "Hey, we're trying to get this person legal again."
Robert Ingalls: Gotcha and that kind of brings me to my next question that I think a lot of people have, if I end up getting myself into a position where I have accumulated so many points that I lose my license, is that something that an attorney may be able to help me out with in that moment?
Bill Powers: Sure, sure and more than one way. First, there's the citation itself. Of how to handle it and what the most appropriate disposition would be. But as a secondary part of this, and this is where people don't always understand that they're dealing with technically two separate entities. There's the court system and when you get pulled over all you see is the officer and the ticket and you're like the system, the man is trying to hold me down-
Robert Ingalls: Right.
Bill Powers: ... you know? But you're dealing with the court system on a citation, which it may be a criminal matter. A lot of people don't realize that tickets, some of them are criminal matters based on the severity of the offense. Probably the majority of them are infractions, where it is not a criminal matter, but you have to deal with the court, then you get to deal with this other entity, which is while related to the court is technically separate. It's DMV.
And there are times where we have to go back and ask for a hearing. License restoration with DMV. Are you eligible for a hearing? Are there things that you can do in order to administratively be reinstated? So I think it helps people to understand that there are times your license is suspended because the court has ordered it be suspended. The Judge as part of the judgment or the order of the citation, normally it would be a pretty serious thing. A criminal violation or misdemeanor. And then DMV can administratively suspend or revoke, and we use those terms interchangeably, for an accumulation of points or having too many citations within a certain period.
I once taught a seminar I called it The Twelve Days of Christmas, you know like the song of naming all the ways that DMV can revoke you for citations. And so even if it, and I'm not kidding, you laugh but there really are ... You know if you get a moving violation more than this speed and this speed or two or more violations within this time period or having a Prayer for Judgment, excessive PGCs or having a ... There's a lot of different ways, so the answer to your question is yeah, we can help people with the citation itself, but we spend a fair amount of time, like we have an attorney on staff that does almost all day long. That's what she does. She does DMV hearings and it's not just DWI.
I think a lot of people assume the DMV just handled DWI's. No, they do administrative restorations all the time for traffic tickets.
Robert Ingalls: Right on. So that kind of leads me to my next question as well, I think after losing your license the next number one complaint you're probably gonna get is, how do I pay less insurance? How do I keep my insurance from going up?
Bill Powers: Oh, great question. You know what's funny is, I think people are actually more concerned about insurance than they are their license? Maybe that's, I don't know that's ... My grandad always used to say, "If you hit people in the wallet, you change behaviors" and North Carolina, believe it or not, and my friends in the insurance industry will probably just be shocked to hear me say this because I'm always battling with them when they want to raise the rates, but the reason I get to battle with them, is that North Carolina has some pretty reasonable laws and controls over the insurance industry about when and why they can raise your rates.
Now there is some game playing on there that irritates me, but as a whole you do have some opportunities, but you have to be very careful about timing issues and what you're taking responsibility for. What's getting dismissed? Is this an offense that would result in a violation or not a violation? But yeah insurance is, you know we have a ... I call it hierarchy when I tell clients.
And the first part is, as a lawyer is, keep client out of jail. Okay? That's one of the things we really want to avoid. Especially with traffic matters. And people don't realize you can go to jail. You can get arrested for speeding tickets, fast ones. And it's not as fast as you'd think.