Many people may think it is easier to waive a traffic offense and pay the fine associated with the ticket either online, at the courthouse or by mail. However, as the North Carolina Judicial Branch notes, by doing this a driver is stating that he or she is guilty of the offense.
But is it worth a driver’s time to dispute the ticket in court? In most cases, the answer is probably yes. Here is why.
The point system
The North Carolina Driver Handbook explains that every time drivers receive a conviction for certain traffic violations, they also receive points that go against their driving record.
A total of seven points results in a driver improvement course, which the driver must pay to complete. Completion of the course only removes three of the points, though, and a total of 12 points within three years will result in a driver license suspension of 60 days. A driver who receives eight more points within three years of the first license suspension may receive a six-month suspension. A third suspension will last for 12 months.
Passing a stopped school bus and aggressive driving have the highest point values, at five each. However, there are many that will result in four points:
- Causing property damage and leaving the scene (hit-and-run)
- Following too closely
- Passing illegally
- Driving on the wrong side of the road
- Failing to yield right-of-way to a motorcycle, scooter, bicycle or pedestrian
The following convictions will result in an addition of three points to a driving record:
- Running a red light
- Driving without a license
- Failing to stop for a siren
- Driving without liability insurance
- Speeding in a school zone
- Speeding over 55 mph
Most insurance companies also assign points for traffic tickets, and a carrier may increase policy costs for each conviction.