Almost everyone knows that they have the right to defend themselves against criminal charges. Fewer people realize that that right also extends to traffic tickets.
While they may not put you at risk of jail time, traffic tickets are still official records of illegal activities that could impact your future. You can go to court to fight against a ticket, and if you win, you don’t have to pay it or deal with any other consequences from the traffic infraction.
Different drivers may have different reasons for fighting against a pending ticket, but perhaps the most common one has to do with its possible effect on your license.
Every traffic offense adds points to your license
North Carolina doesn’t just have laws about how to drive safely. They also have laws that allow the state to take drivers off the road if they make habitual mistakes at the wheel. Every time a police officer cites a driver and they pay the ticket, which amounts to pleading guilty to the offense, the state adds points to that driver’s license.
Drivers who accrue 12 points or more within a three-year period could lose their license even if each of those traffic infractions was a minor offense. Once you get your license back after a point-based suspension, you only need to accrue another eight points in the next three years to face another suspension.
Defending against the first ticket you get means you don’t have points on your license. Defending against your fifth ticket you get might make the difference between losing your license or not. Understanding the point system can help you make an informed decision about how to respond to a traffic offense.