If you commit a traffic offense in North Carolina, an officer will issue you a traffic ticket. You’ll have to appear in court by the date printed on the ticket and make your case before a district court judge.
The traffic ticket process can be tedious, but you can waive a ticket to save yourself a trip to court. The question is: Should you waive your ticket?
How to waive a traffic ticket
There are three ways to waive a traffic ticket: online, in person at the courthouse or by mail. Specific instructions to waive a ticket can be found at the back of your traffic citation. But generally, you’ll have to pay a fee for the process. If you’re waiving a traffic ticket in person, you’ll have to prepare cash or a certified check to pay the courthouse clerk, but payment cards can also be used.
You should keep in mind that only specific traffic offenses are waivable. Tickets for relatively minor offenses such as not wearing seatbelts, exceeding speed limits (as long as it’s not over 80 mph), possessing an open container with liquor or failing to yield to a pedestrian are often waivable offenses.
Is waiving a ticket helpful?
Waiving a traffic ticket might be the fastest way to get the issue out of your hair, but it has its downsides. For starters, waiving doesn’t erase the fact that you committed a traffic offense. If you waive an offense and choose to pay the fine in full, the court will treat you as if you were found guilty of the offense. Waiving also doesn’t eliminate the points your license accrues for corresponding penalties, and your auto insurer will still adjust your premiums to account for your offense. Officials can also suspend your license if you collect 12 license points within three years.
It might be a quick way to deal with a traffic ticket, but the cons of waiving outweigh the pros. There’s also the matter of having a traffic violation on record when you waive a ticket. If you genuinely want to avoid having a violation on record, your best course of action would be to attend the court hearing, ideally with a legal professional representing you.