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A warning about waiving a traffic offense

Getting a traffic citation can be awkward. Most drivers in North Carolina don't go around intentionally committing offenses like running traffic control signs, operating an unsafe vehicle or speeding. In many cases, it's likely they have simply come to the conclusion such infractions are common and so few tickets are issued that the odds are they won't be cited. If you are pulled over, it can leave you feeling flustered.

It is important for you to be aware that a ticket amounts to an allegation by the police, even if it doesn't feel that way. You have a right to challenge the ticket or plead guilty to the offense. On some occasions, an officer might inform you that your infraction can be handled without going to court – that is, what you are charged with is a waivable offense.

This may sound like a convenience. The seeming presumption is that you are guilty and that you can save yourself the hassle and embarrassment of a court appearance if you pay the fine and any associated court costs ahead of your scheduled court date. Court costs can be significant, even if the fine on the ticket is not. Additionally, you might not realize that by taking the waiver, you plead guilty. That means you have points on your license and that could mean incurring long-term costs through increased insurance premiums.

Indeed, while acknowledging that the waiver option exists in many instances, the North Carolina Court System itself suggests that if you get a ticket, you ought to consult with an attorney before doing anything in response.

Obviously, if you face allegations of speeding or other traffic offenses, you need to know your options for minimizing consequences. If you face a suspension of your driving privileges, an experienced attorney can help map a plan for getting them reinstated.

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