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Archive for the ‘Traffic Violations’ Category

Old Traffic Tickets in “VL” Status

October 2nd, 2012 by admin

For one reason or another, you may have missed a court date for a traffic ticket. It could be because you simply forgot the court date, you couldn’t secure transportation, or that you didn’t possess the financial means at the time of your court date to hire an attorney to represent you. In some occasions there may have been an error by a clerk, judicial official, or another attorney which caused your court date to be missed. In any event, you will want the assistance of an experienced attorney to help you with your missed court date.

If it has been less than 20 days since your missed court date, an attorney may be able to help you file a motion for a new court date that would have to be approved by an assistant district attorney and the judge who presided over your case on that missed date. I can often help clients get a new court date without any additional penalties or fines if they take quick action and call me right away.

If it has been more than 20 days since your missed court date, your case may be in what’s call “VL” status. Voluntary Leave status means that by missing your court date, you have prejudiced the State of North Carolina and they have consequently dismissed your case “With Leave”. This is technically not a dismissal at all. The DMV will be notified shortly after your case enters “VL” status and they will take action to suspend your license. They will mail you a letter that states a scheduled suspension date.  Your license will be suspended indefinitely until your case is handled. If you take action and hire an attorney to represent you on that ticket quickly before the suspension start date, your suspension can be canceled.

For tickets that are in “VL” status, I can file a motion to add your case onto the calendar quickly (within a 1 week time frame). Once it’s on the “VL” calendar, I can negotiate with the assistant district attorney to get you the best possible plea deal, often saving you valuable points on your insurance and license. If there is a very good reason for you missing court, I can also ask the judge in “VL” court to strike the $200 Failure to Appear fine that is added on to any ticket that entered “VL” status.

Give me a call today if you have missed a court date or have an old traffic ticket that needs to be taken care of. I may be able to save your license from being suspended or end an indefinite suspension by clearing up old tickets.

Matthew J. Golden practices traffic law in Raleigh, Smithfield and the surrounding areas. Give him a call at 888-743-7708 today for a free consultation!

 

The “Move-Over” Law in NC

January 23rd, 2012 by admin

I have had several people ask me recently about the “move over” law in North Carolina, which requires motorists to move their vehicle away from the lane closest to a parked emergency vehicle. This traffic law had recently been expanded to offer protection to utility work crews who work alongside moving traffic. It is an important traffic law that helps protect emergency personnel and work crews from passing traffic but there are many people that still do not fully understand what the law requires them to do.

The law, which is codified in N.C.G.S. 20-157(f), requires an approaching driver to do one of the following when an emergency vehicle or utility crew is parked within 12 feet of a roadway and is giving off a warning light:
1.) Move his/her vehicle into over one lane further from the parked vehicle if there are at least 2 lanes and it is safe to do so; OR
2.) Slow his/her vehicle to a safe speed for traffic conditions and be prepared to stop until completely past the parked vehicle if the roadway has only 1 lane or if the other lane has traffic prohibiting a lane change.

The punishment for violating this law can be quite severe. The violation carries a $250 fine plus court costs plus any resulting increase in insurance points. If significant damage is caused to the area of the emergency vehicle or if emergency personnel or utility crew members are injured, the person is charged with a Class 1 misdemeanor. Serious injury or death caused by violating this statute can be punished by a Class I felony, along with a 6 month license suspension.

Contact Raleigh traffic attorney Matthew J. Golden today for a free consultation if you have been charged with a violation of this law. Matthew may be able to eliminate the insurance point increase if found guilty of this offense.

Reckless Driving – A Misdemeanor in NC

January 4th, 2012 by admin

Reckless driving is one of the most common yet confusing motor vehicle offenses in North Carolina, mainly because there are two different types of reckless driving offenses for non-commercial drivers.

I have clients that don’t realize that reckless driving can be charged for merely speeding if the speeding is done in a dangerous manner. Both types of reckless driving are discussed below:

1.) Driving carelessly and heedlessly in willful or wanton disregard for the rights or safety of others.

2.) Driving without due caution and circumspection and at a speed or in a manner so as to endanger or be likely to endanger any person or property

A person who violates both types of reckless driving in one continuous manner is only guilty of one offense of reckless driving. However, keep in mind that “reckless driving” when combined with speeding is grounds to constitute a charge of aggressive driving, which is a Class 1 misdemeanor.

The statute is very broad and courts have refused to nail down specific definitions other than what is listed under the two types above.

You might find it interesting that the following factual scenarios were sufficient to find a person guilty of reckless driving:
-A driver driving well over the posted speed limit swerved into the opposing lane of traffic, and subsequently braked his vehicle sharply and slid for approximately twenty feet near an occupied residence.
-During a high speed chase on a rainy day, a driver came extremely close to hitting an oil tanker at speeds in excess of sixty miles per hour, and crossed double yellow lines.
-A driver drove while impaired and traveled 92 mph in a 45 mph zone.
-A driver drove 82 mph in a 55 mph zone, maneuvered from one lane to another to go around slower vehicles and crossed double yellow lines.

Reckless driving is a class 2 misdemeanor which carries 4 license points and 4 insurance points. Since each insurance point raises your insurance rate, on average, about 25%, a conviction of reckless driving will double the cost of insurance.

Contact criminal and traffic defense attorney Matthew Golden today for a free consultation, either in person or over the phone, to discuss your options if you are charged with reckless or aggressive driving.

Revoking Licenses for Failing to Appear or Pay a Citation

November 21st, 2011 by admin

North Carolina law is harsh on drivers who miss a court date or don’t handle their traffic citations on time. Under G.S. 20-24.2, the clerk of court must inform the DMV of the defendant’s failure to appear of failure to pay off a citation 20 days after his or her original court date. However, as I have discussed in a previous blog post here, it is generally not a good idea to just “pay off” a citation without consulting an attorney, since it is an admission of guilt and can carry serious financial implications on car insurance rates and could lead to a suspended license if enough driver’s license points accumulate. It would be wise to consult with an attorney immediately after a missed court before the clerk of court gives notice to the DMV, which will suspend a person’s license for failing to appear or pay off a ticket.

After receiving notice from the clerk, the DMV must mail or personally deliver to the person an order revoking his or her driver’s license, which will become effective on the 60th day after the order is mailed or delivered. (G.S. 20-24.1(b)). Essentially, a person will have a minimum of 80 days after a missed court date to avoid a license suspension from the DMV but the statute provision G.S. 7A-304(a)(6) imposes court costs of $50 upon a defendant who fails to pay a fine, penalty, or costs within 20 days of the date specified in the court’s judgment.

If the person resolves the matter before the effective date of the revocation (before the 60 day DMV timeframe), the revocation never becomes effective and any entries on the person’s driving record related to the revocation are deleted. To resolve the matter, the person must either dispose of the charge in the trial division by hiring an attorney to obtain a new court date and appear for the outstanding citation or do it themselves. The person charged or an attorney may also demonstrate that he/she was not the person charged with the offense, may simply pay the penalty, fine, or costs , or argue or have an attorney argue for them that he or she is making a good faith effort to pay or that the penalty, fine or costs should be remitted. If the revocation order becomes effective before the charge is resolved, there is a $50 license restoration fee in addition to a possible $200 Failure to Appear fine and other applicable court costs.

Contact traffic defense attorney Matthew Golden today for a free consultation to discuss your options after missing a court date or failing to pay a citation.

New Law Affecting Revocations of Provisional Licensees Coming Jan. ’11

November 3rd, 2011 by admin

Starting January 1st, 2012, a new law, G.S. 20-13.3, will come into effect in NC which will apply to 16 and 17 year old drivers with provisional licenses. As Shea Denning describes in UNCSOG’s Criminal Law Blog here, the new law will result in civil license revocations for certain moving violations such as speeding charges of more than 15 mph over the limit for drivers who have provisional licenses.

A provisional license is a license issued to individuals under 18 years of age and which contains certain types of restrictions, such as driving during daylight hours or having a supervising adult in the car.

The law will affect 16 or 17 year olds who have a limited learner’s permit or a provisional license issued by the NC DMV pursuant to G.S. 20-11. Since 15 year olds are considered juveniles in our court system, G.S. 20-13.3 does not apply to them.

Some common offenses that will kick in the license revocation for these drivers include: Speeding more than 15 mph over the limit or more than 80 mph, Reckless Driving, Speeding to Elude Arrest, Aggressive Driving, Failing to move over for law enforcement or emergency vehicles giving a warning signal, and Driving While Impaired. For the full list of offenses, please see Ms. Denning’s article here.

The new law raises questions as to whether or not it is fair to punish an individual who may be speeding greater than 15 mph over the limit on an open highway more harshly than an individual who is speeding 10 mph over the limit in a dangerous school zone.

The significant aspect of this new law is that since the revocation is a civil one, the charge does not have to result in a conviction for the revocation to take place. All that needs to happen is for a law enforcement officer to have reasonable grounds to believe that the provisional licensee has committed a criminal moving violation, he/she is charged with that offense, and he/she is not subject to a separate civil revocation for the underling offense if that offense is an implied consent-offense such as Driving While Impaired. Once the officer files the revocation report before a judicial officer conducting the first appearance, and the judicial officer finds probable cause, the provisional licensee’s driving license is revoked for a period of 30 days. If the licensee is caught driving during this 30 day period, he/she can legally be charged with Driving While License Revoked, a Class 1 misdemeanor.

If you get charged with a traffic violation or criminal offense in Wake County, contact traffic attorney Matthew Golden today for a free consultation.

How Insurance Points Work in NC

October 18th, 2011 by admin

People often don’t understand how insurance points work when they get a driving or traffic conviction. It could be a big mistake to show up to traffic court and plead responsible to a traffic-related charge without knowing how insurance and drivers license points will be assessed. Below is a chart which lists the percent the average insurance rate will rise with respect to the number of insurance points assessed.

Insurance Surcharge Table – courtesy of http://www.ncsu.edu/stud_affairs/legal_services/legaldocs/Trafficpoints.htm

One – 25%
Two – 45%
Three – 65%
Four – 90%
Five – 120%
Six – 150%
Seven – 180%
Eight – 220%
Nine – 260%
Ten – 300%
Eleven – 350%
Twelve – 400%

As you can see, the rate increases can be drastic for even just two or three points. Common violations that carry 2 insurance points include:

-Illegal passing
-Speeding more than 10 mph over the limit, if total speed was in excess of 55 mph but less than 76 mph.
-Speeding 10 miles or less in excess of limit in speed zone of 55 or greater
-Following too closely.

By hiring an attorney who knows how many insurance points each violation carries and who will be able to attempt to ask for a Prayer for Judgment (PJC) or negotiate a reduced plea to a violation carrying less points could save you money on your insurance rates and give you the peace of mind of knowing that your best interests are being looked after. Contact Raleigh traffic lawyer Matthew Golden today at (888)-743-7708 for a free consultation.