My name is Michael Franchi, and I’m a Johnston County traffic attorney.

I represent people who haven’t had their best day.

Maybe you were speeding. Maybe you had too much to drink.

Maybe you made some mistakes.

Whatever the case may be, I’m here to help. I enjoy counseling people through the most stressful times in their life.

In the course of my time as a Johnston County traffic attorney, I’ve noticed that I keep hearing the same questions from my clients.

If you’ve gotten a speeding ticket in Johnston County, then you likely have many similar questions. I’d be honored if you’d hire me to take on your case – you can call me at 919-229-8326 – but at the very least I hope you’ll find the following answers helpful.

And if you have a question I haven’t covered here, please don’t hesitate to reach out!

FAQs for a Johnston County Traffic Attorney

Table of Contents

Understanding Your Situation

Will my insurance go up?

Pleading guilty to a speeding ticket can result in your auto insurance going up. How much your insurance can increase depends on the charge you are ultimately convicted of and how the judge enters judgement. Hiring an experienced Johnston County traffic attorney can help you avoid these increases.

How much is the fine?

Total court fees and fines will range from $206 for a 9-over and $266 for an Improper Equipment.

Will I lose my license?

While every case is different, there are many ways drivers can lose their license for traffic offenses in North Carolina. These include being convicted of:

(a) speeding over 75mph if the speed limit is less than 70mph (example: speeding 76mph in a 65mph zone),
(b) speeding in excess of 15mph over the speed limit when traveling over 55mph (example: speeding 75mph in a 55mph zone),
(c) speeding over 80mph,
(d) accruing 12 license points within a three-year period
(e) having two convictions for driving in excess of 55mph in a 12-month period (example: in January being convicted of speeding 64mph in a 55mph zone and in October being convicted of speeding 79mph in a 70mph zone), and
(f) being convicted of reckless driving and speeding in excess of 55mph in a 12-month period.

Before paying your ticket it is always a good idea to consult with an attorney about the impact on your license.

Am I required to go to court in Johnston County?

Someone needs to attend court in Johnston County, whether it is you or your attorney. Failing to appear for court can result in an additional $200 “Failure to Appear” fine. If you cannot make it to court, it is best to hire an experienced traffic lawyer.

Will the court grant a continuance?

In its discretion the court will grant a continuance for good cause. The court may grant a continuance to allow the driver time to complete a driving course. The court has the discretion to deny continuances, thus it is never a good idea to assume a continuance will be granted. We frequently advise our clients to complete a driving course and save for court costs as soon as possible.

What is an “improper equipment”?

Improper Equipment is a non-moving violation, which means it carries zero license points and zero insurance points. Because it has no effect on license or insurance, improper equipment is the charge that ideally all speeding offenses get reduced to. If your original speed is more than 25 mph over the speed limit then the DMV will not honor a reduction to improper equipment. Not every speeding ticket will be reduced to improper equipment, so it is best to contact a traffic lawyer to see if your charge will be eligible.

If I live out of state, what should I do?

If you got a speeding ticket in Johnston County, but you live outside of North Carolina, you will still be expected to come to the Johnston County Courthouse on your scheduled court date. If you live too far away or cannot come to court, it is usually a good idea to contact an attorney who can make an appearance for you.

If I live out of state, will my state learn about this ticket?

Yes, most likely. The Driver License Compact is an interstate compact used by 46 States (excluding Georgia, Massachusetts, Tennessee, and Wisconsin) to exchange information concerning license suspensions and traffic violations of non-residents and forward them to the driver’s home state. Its theme is One Driver, One License, One Record. The home state would treat the offense as if it had been committed at home, applying home state laws to the out-of-state offense. The action taken would include, but not be limited to, points assessed on a minor offense such as speeding and suspension of license or a major violation such as DWI/DUI. It is not supposed to include non-moving violations like parking tickets, tinted windows, loud exhaust, etc.

What happens if I was speeding in a work or school zone?

A $250 fine can be imposed for speeding in a work or school zone. Additionally, insurance and license points could be assessed. Prosecutors typically are much less willing to allow these types of charges to be reduced.

Is reckless driving worse than speeding?

Reckless driving is a serious traffic charge in NC. It carries 4 license points and 4 insurance points. Additionally, if you have had a speeding ticket in the last 12 months, a reckless driving conviction can result in your license being suspended.

What happens if I miss my court date?

If you miss your court date you should call an attorney immediately. For the 20 days after missing your court date you will be in “Called and Failed” status. If after 20 days you still have not come to court, a “Failure to Appear” will be issued and additional fines will be assessed. An attorney can help get you back on the court calendar and potentially eliminate the additional fines for failing to appear.

What You Can Do About It

Should I just pay my ticket online?

By paying online, you are pleading guilty to the offense, which can have serious license and insurance consequences. Even if a law enforcement officer has advised you that you can save yourself a trip to court by paying online – do not follow this advice without first speaking with an experienced traffic lawyer! By paying online prior to your court date, the outcome of your case is finalized.

Can a Johnston County traffic attorney really help me?

A traffic lawyer should have two primary goals in mind when approaching traffic tickets: (1) ensure the client’s license does not get suspended and (2) avoid insurance increases. At Minick Law we use this approach every day to help our traffic clients. We complete a thorough review of your driving record and strategize the best way to approach your case.

Do I need to take a driving course?

A driving course will often be helpful for: (a) a driver 21 years old and younger who receives a speeding ticket and (b) a driver of any age who is charged with speeding over 90mph.

Do I need to do community service?

In some cases, it may be beneficial to complete community service hours, in addition to a driving course. We can help you assess if you would benefit from completing community service in exchange for a reduction in your traffic charges.

Can I get this ticket dismissed?

Dismissal of speeding tickets is rare in Johnston County, NC, and will depend on the specific circumstances of your case.

Is there any chance this speeding ticket gets reduced?

Yes, many traffic offenses can be reduced to a lesser speeding charge or a non-moving violation, like improper equipment. A traffic lawyer will be able to evaluate your case and your driving record to see what your traffic charge needs to be reduced to in order to avoid license and insurance issues.

Can I use a prayer for judgment (PJC)?

North Carolina has a very unique and powerful tool called the Prayer for Judgment Continued (“PJC”). A judge has the ultimate discretion to grant or deny a defendant’s request for a PJC. If a judge grants a PJC, then a driver can use 1 PJC every 5 years to avoid license points. Moreover, the drivers on a shared auto insurance policy can collectively use 1 PJC every 3 years to avoid insurance points related to some traffic charges.

Where can I get a copy of my driving record?

North Carolina drivers can access their driving record here. Your attorney will need a copy of this record to evaluate your case.