To avoid paying fines and having points added to their license or insurance, drivers in North Carolina with traffic offenses or misdemeanors may request a prayer judgment continued. When you want to keep your record clean, using this legal tool may sound like a good idea, but it has limitations and is not always the best choice.
Using a prayer judgment continued
Whenever someone is found guilty of a crime, the court must issue a judgment, which can consist of fines, penalties, and court fees. On the other hand, the court may enter a PJC instead of ruling a final judgment or conviction.
If the offender receives a PJC ruling, they might only have to pay court fees. However, a PJC judgment would also require admitting guilt. Furthermore, there is a chance that the court will refuse to grant it.
Most individuals use a PJC to escape fines for minor traffic offenses such as running a red light, illegal parking, driving the wrong way, or making improper turns. However, there are many instances when a court cannot issue a PJC ruling. For example, a PJC typically only applies to non-jailable offenses and excludes violations such as driving while intoxicated and excess speeding.
When to avoid a PJC
Many mistakenly believe that they may use a PJC anytime. Although a PJC might free you of a conviction, it will still appear on your criminal history. Additionally, a PJC can only be used twice every five years.
A PJC may also have consequences for those interested in joining the military. Service organizations may view it as an unresolved legal matter and prevent the individual from enlisting. If you have a commercial license and are issued a PJC, your employer may still see you as guilty, which can have a negative impact on your job.
It can be difficult to decide if you should request a PJC or challenge a ticket because each situation is different. A PJC has many advantages but can also have negative results in certain cases. If you need help figuring out what steps to take next, seeing a lawyer may be a good idea.