Do-It-Yourself Speeding Ticket Defense Guide
Thank you for looking through our Do-It-Yourself Speeding Ticket Defense Guide. This guide outlines the steps you will need to take in fighting your speeding ticket. We hope that you find the guide helpful in preparing to represent yourself in fighting your speeding ticket. However, much of the information is general in nature, so should you have any specific questions regarding fighting your speeding ticket, please feel free to send us an email. Also, we encourage you to read our legal disclaimer contained in the last page of this guide. Thank you for reading our Do-It-Yourself Speeding Ticket Defense Guide, and we wish you the best in handling your speeding ticket.
Things To Bring With You To Court
Your original speeding citation
Bring the original citation that the law enforcement officer issued you. If you happen to lose the original citation, you may request a copy of the original citation at the office of the Clerk of Criminal Court in the county where you received your speeding ticket.
Your Driver’s License
Bring your valid North Carolina Driver’s License, as you may have to present this while you are at the court house.
A Certified Copy of Your Driving Record
Bring a certified copy of your North Carolina Driving Record. There are two ways to obtain a certified copy of your North Carolina Driving Record (also known as DMV Motor Vehicle Record): online or through the mail. If you’re not sure how to obtain your certified driving record, we’ve outlined steps for you here.
Enough cash to pay your fine and court costs (credit cards and checks are not accepted)
The hope is that you will get your ticket dismissed, and not owe any fine or court costs. However, planning for the worst case scenario will save you a trip to your bank and a return trip to the court house. Typical court costs for speeding infractions are $141.00, and most fines are between $25.00 and $100.00. Also, to avoid being charged a $20.00 “installment fee,” you must pay your fine and court costs the same day that you reach a plea in your case.
What You Need To Know About Going To Court
What to wear
You do not have to dress formally, but you should look professional. Business casual dress is appropriate. Avoid jeans, t-shirts, shirts with slogans, hats, etc. Also, make sure to have your shirt tucked in before you enter the courtroom (people are asked to leave the courtroom every day to tuck their shirt in). If you are not sure if your choice of clothing is appropriate, send us an e-mail and we’ll give you our opinion.
When to arrive
Plan on arriving to the courtroom at least 30 minutes prior to the start of court, so that you can get a seat in the front of the courtroom. Before you get into the courtroom, you’ll have to find parking, wait in the security line at the front door of the courthouse, and find your courtroom. So, plan on spending 10-15 minutes finding parking, 10-15 minutes getting through security and 5 minutes finding your courtroom. Again, planning for the worst case scenario can really alleviate some stress, as you won’t be rushing to find a place you’ve never been to.
Where to sit
It is crucial for you to get a good seat in the courtroom, as close to the front as possible, so you can hear your name when it is called by the District Attorney.
What to do if you arrive late
If you arrive late and are not sure if you missed your name being called by the District Attorney, just find a seat and wait for the District Attorney to announce a “late docket call.” If after waiting you do not hear a “late docket call,” then ask the courtroom Bailiff if you may inform the District Attorney that you are present.
How long you will be in court
Plan to spend as little as 1 hour to up to 6 hours at the courthouse. You may get lucky and be the first person called by the District Attorney; however, you may be unlucky and be the last person called by the District Attorney in the afternoon. In some circumstances, you will not be called, your case will be continued, and you will be asked to come back to court the following day. To limit the stress and inconvenience of being away from work, school, etc., you should plan for the worst and expect to be in court all day. Planning for your absence is especially important because you will not have access to your cell phone, email, etc. while in the court room.
Cell Phone & other Electronic Devices
The court room is like an airplane about to take flight, you need to turn off all of your cell phones and electronic devises, and keep them stowed away. The Bailiff, District Attorney and Judge will likely remind the entire court room audience of this. Heed the warning and keep your electronic devises off and out of sight. If your cell phone rings or vibrates while court is in session, you are likely to have the phone confiscated, and the judge may hold you in contempt of court (rare, but it happens).
What To Say To The District Attorney
When your name is called by the District Attorney
It is now your turn to speak to the District Attorney and negotiate an agreement. Traffic cases move very quickly, so when your name is called, promptly get to the District Attorney so you don’t lose your turn.
What you say to the District Attorney
First, always be very respectful, courteous and polite to the District Attorney (and the Clerk, Bailiff and Judge). You are about to negotiate with the District Attorney, so now is not the time to make an enemy. Second, all you have to do is just clearly, concisely and directly tell the District Attorney what resolution you are seeking and why you are seeking that the resolution. For example:
- If you have an argument that you were not speeding (e.g., the police officer had the wrong speed limit, etc.) – Concisely explain to the District Attorney what happened (avoid unnecessarily details), show the District Attorney any relevant information (e.g., your original citation, etc.), and politely ask the District Attorney to dismiss your speeding ticket.
- If you are seeking a guilty plea to a lesser offense – Again, provide the District Attorney with relevant information (e.g., your clean driving record, a mechanic’s assessment of your malfunctioning speedometer, etc.), and politely ask for the speeding ticket to be reduced.
- If the District Attorney won’t agree to dismiss or reduce your speeding ticket – Before giving up and pleading guilty to your speeding ticket, ask the District Attorney if there is anything else you can do to get a better result, such as (a) doing community service, (b) attending a driver improvement school, (c) paying a higher fine or (d) agreeing to an alternative that the District Attorney offers.
- If you can’t agree with the District Attorney on a resolution – Ask for your case to be continued so that you can consider your options. Then, you can return on your next court date and try again.
Before You Leave The Court House
If you plead guilty to an offense
- Obtain a copy of your “call sheet” from the District Attorney or the court room clerk.
- Go to the office of the Clerk of Superior Court-Criminal Division and pay your court costs as outlined on your “call sheet.” The Clerk Court will only accept cash or money orders, so you will not be able to pay your with a personal check or credit card. If you fail to pay your court costs and fine the same day, then you will be charged an additional $20.00 “installment fee.”
- Obtain a receipt from the clerk, and keep the receipt along with a copy of your “call sheet.”
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How do I know what plea to ask for? I just want to make sure that my insurance rates don’t increase.
Well, we can tell you that a non-moving violation will not increase your insurance rates. So, if you can get your speeding ticket reduced to a non-moving violation, such as improper equipment, then you insurance rates will not increase. Unfortunately, if you are unable to get your speeding ticket reduced to a non-moving violation, then without knowing your specific driving history, and the specifics of your speeding ticket (your mph, the speed limit you exceeded, etc.), we really can’t tell you exactly what plea will work best for you. We have a lot of information on our website about insurance points and driver’s license points, so consider looking through our website to look for answers. Otherwise, if you are not sure what affect your speeding ticket will have on your driver’s license and insurance rates, consider calling your auto insurance agent (or us, if you change your mind on handling your speeding ticket yourself).
Q: How do I obtain my certified driving record?
Obtaining your certified driving record will cost you $11, and it is available online or through the mail. We have a step-by-step guide on our website at www.kregerthacker.com/obtain-your-driving-record that will walk you through the process.
Q: I have my driving record and speeding ticket, but I can’t tell what information is important. Can you tell me how to read my driving record and speeding ticket?
Yes. To guide you, we have scanned a copy of a sample driving record and sample speeding ticket, and we have annotated each to point out what information is important. You can see the scanned and annotated driving record at www.kregerthacker.com/read-your-driving-record and the scanned and annotated speeding ticket at www.kregerthacker.com/read-your-speeding-ticket
The information contained in this Do-It-Yourself Speeding Ticket Guide is provided as a general reference and as a public service. The reader is advised to check for changes to current law, and to consult with a qualified attorney on any legal issue. The use of this material does not create an attorney-client relationship with Kreger Thacker LLP nor any of its attorneys. Because the information contained in this Do-It-Yourself Speeding Ticket Guide is prepared for a general audience, without investigation into the facts of any particular case, it is not legal advice: neither Kreger Thacker LLP nor any of its attorneys has an attorney-client relationship with you. The thoughts and commentary about the law contained in this guide is provided as a service to the community, and does not constitute solicitation or provision of legal advice.
While Kreger Thacker LLP strives to provide accurate information in this guide, we cannot guarantee that the information provided is accurate, complete, or adequate. We provide this general information on an ‘as-is’ basis. We make no warranties and disclaim liability for damages resulting from its use. Legal advice must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case, and laws are constantly changing,so nothing provided in this guide should be used as a substitute for the advice of competent counsel.
The material in this website may be considered advertising under applicable rules.
Kreger Thacker’s North Carolina Speeding Ticket and Traffic Defense Attorneys serve clients charged with speeding and other traffic violations in Durham County, Guilford County (including the cities of Gibsonville, Greensboro, High Point, Jamestown, Oak Ridge, Pleasant Garden, Sedalia, Stokesdale, Summerfield and Whitsett) and Orange County (including the cities of Carrboro, Chapel Hill and Hillsborough).