What Can a Lawyer Do With A Traffic Charge?

Do I Need Lawyer For Traffic

If you get a Speeding ticket, or you're stopped for Reckless Driving or another moving violation by a North Carolina Highway Patrol officer, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police officer or other law enforcement officer, they may improperly talk to you about your options around how to handle your ticket. However, this is not the person you should be listening to. You should not take your legal advice from the very person who put you in the position to need legal advice in the first place. An attorney who is in YOUR corner and knows what options are available under North Carolina law will give you information that is accurate and in your best interests

Take advice from your lawyer, not from the police! Call 704-376-9376 or e-mail our Charlotte law firm for a consultation.

Bad Advice From Police Officers

  • The most common advice you will get from any officer is how to pay the ticket. If you do this, you are pleading guilty to a traffic offense, saving the officer the trouble of coming to traffic court to testify, and paying a fine. You also give up your right to have a lawyer make an explanation on your behalf, or request that the charges against you be dismissed or reduced.
  • Do not take legal advice from a police officer. An officer writing a traffic ticket may give legal advice— advice that should come from your lawyer. The officer may, despite good intentions, give you bad advice. Your attorney will see that you take advantage of all options and may be able to preserve your drivers' license status and keep your insurance rates down.
  • Your traffic offense attorney works for you, not for the court. A police or highway patrol officer works with the District Attorney and they have common goals. You need an advocate with only your interests in mind.

A PJC (Prayer for Judgment Continued) or the "Driving School" is available for a motorist, but it may not be your best option.

The "Driving School" and/or a "PJC" are rarely worthwhile options for a first - or even second-time offender. Many traffic tickets can be handled in a way that does not require you to spend hours at a Traffic School. Even if you go to the Driving School and get a PJC, your insurance company may still increase your premiums, even with a clean Drivers License Record.

Attorney Chris Connelly represents clients in cases involving a variety of traffic offenses:

  • Speeding - tickets for Speeding in School or Work Zones, or Speeding to Elude Law Enforcement
  • Reckless Driving (defined as "carelessly and heedlessly in willful or wanton disregard of the rights or safety of others" or "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")
  • Passing a stopped school bus and other forms of Illegal Passing
  • Drag racing/highway racing/street racing
  • Hit and Run/Leaving the Scene of an Accident
  • Unlawful racing or pre-arranged speed competition


Effective for offenses committed on or after December 1, 2011, a person convicted of Impaired Driving must be sentenced at Level One punishment (mandating a 30 day minimum in jail, maximum of 2 years in jail) if there was a child under the chronological age of 18 OR an adult with the mental development of a child under the age of 18 OR a person with a physical disability that prevented them from exiting the vehicle on their own.

Stopping Patterns At Vehicle Checkpoints

Effective December 1, 2011, the law now requires law enforcement agencies to designate in advance a pattern for stopping vehicles at checkpoints AND also prohibits law enforcement from basing a stopping pattern on a particular vehicle

Laura's Law

Effective December 1, 2011, the onerous "Laura's Law" could even increase punishment for a second-time DWI offense by establishing an "Aggravated Level One" punishment. This law mandates 12 months in prison if there are three or more Grossly Aggravating factors. Some of the more onerous applications that would require one year in jail would be if the defendant had a prior conviction from six years ago, never resolved their DWI related suspension and had a child in the car OR had two prior convictions from 6 years ago and never resolved their DWI related suspension. The defendant who receives this sentence of imprisonment must be released four months before the end of the maximum and be placed on post-release supervision. They must abstain from alcohol during this period and it must be verified by 24/7 monitoring system.

"Laura's Law" also provides for a permanent license revocation for this defendant and requires an ignition interlock if the person's license is restored.

Effective for offenses committed on or after January 1, 2012 a new statute provides for a civil revocation of a limited learner's permit or provisional license of a person under age 18 if the person is charged with a "criminal moving violation" as defined in that statute. An example of this could be a Speeding more than 15 miles over the limit or in excess of 80 MPH. This new statute appears to require the officer to arrest the young motorist and bring them before the magistrate who may immediately revoke their privilege.

When your case is important to you...
When experience counts...

Call 704-376-9376 or e-mail our Charlotte office to schedule your consultation about defense of your traffic offense.

The Law Office of Christopher A. Connelly
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Criminal Defense Attorney

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