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Published On: Mon, Sep 12th, 2016

The True Cost of a Speeding Ticket in North Carolina and How You Can Avoid It

When you get a speeding ticket in North Carolina, you may wonder how much it will cost you to simply pay off the ticket and move on with your life.

If you are a busy person, taking that route may be more appealing than working with a traffic ticket lawyer and going through the hassle of exploring other options.

However, as you add up the numbers, you need to go beyond the fine and court costs. You must factor in the likely spike in your auto insurance premiums as well.

photo by photoSteve101 via Flickr

photo by photoSteve101 via Flickr

Based on an analysis of those auto insurance increases which the folks at NerdWallet.com conducted recently, you may be surprised at just how high the “true cost” of a speeding ticket actually is in North Carolina.

You may decide that looking at alternatives is in your best interest.

Analysis Finds ‘True Cost’ Is Actually 53 Times Higher than Speeding Ticket

In its analysis, NerdWallet.com added up the costs of a North Carolina speeding ticket fine (if charged with going 15 mph over the posted speed limit), court costs and the total cost of average auto insurance premium increases over a three-year period which would result from a speeding conviction going on your record.

The website arrived at its insurance figures by creating profiles for eight different types of drivers (for instance, a 27-year-old single male driving a Ford Escape) and by using the three cheapest car insurance quotes for each profile in each city in North Carolina with a population of 10,000 or more residents.

Based on its survey results, NerdWallet.com determined that the “true cost” of a speeding ticket in North Carolina is actually $1,619, or 53 times higher than the $30 cost of the ticket.

Here’s the breakdown of that total:

Speeding ticket $30

Court costs $188

Insurance increase $1,401 ($467 per year over three years)

Total $1,619

Of course, the above figure represents the statewide average. In some areas, the average cost is slightly higher or lower.

For instance, in Hope Mills and Spring Lake, the average cost is $1,830.50, making them the most expensive cities for a speeding ticket in North Carolina. At the other end of the spectrum is Asheville, where the average cost of a speeding ticket is $1,452.02.

Note: The NerdWallet.com analysis does not consider that a speeding ticket in North Carolina could, down the road, ultimately cost your driver’s license.

In addition to insurance points, a conviction for a moving violation leads to points being tacked onto your Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) driving record in North Carolina. If you collect 12 points in a three-year period, your license could be suspended by the DMV.

What Can You Do Instead of Admitting a Speeding Violation in North Carolina?

So, as you can see, you may end up paying far more than you bargained for when you admit a speeding violation and send in your check for a ticket in North Carolina.

Alternatives you may want to consider are:

  • Challenging the ticket – You may have a basis for contesting the ticket if, for instance, the radar gun that the officer used to “clock” your speed was defective or if it was not properly maintained.
  • Seeking a reduction – A county prosecutor may agree to reduce a speeding charge to a non-moving violation or a violation of 10 mph over the speed limit. It helps if you have a clean driving record. A reduction could allow you to keep points off your insurance record and, possibly, your DMV record as well.  
  • Moving for a Prayer for Judgment Continued (PJC) – This will keep a speeding violation off your insurance and DMV records. However, your household can use a PJC only once every three years or twice every five years.

What you never want to do is to simply ignore a speeding ticket in North Carolina. If you miss your traffic ticket court date, you could get hit with a “failure to appear” charge, face a $200 administrative penalty and get your driver’s license revoked by the DMV.
For all of these reasons, it is always a good idea to look at the big picture when you receive a speeding ticket in North Carolina and to ask a legal professional if you have any questions about how you should handle the ticket.

Author: Jacob Maslow

On the DISPATCH: Headlines  Local  Opinion

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