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“Exceeding a Safe Speed”

The non-specific  charge of “exceeding a safe speed” (often referred to as either “ESS” or just “exceeding”) can be a useful reduction when other reductions, such as improper equipment or nine-over, may not be available or as helpful.  For example, a person is charged with driving 83 mph in a 70 mph zone — a four-insurance-point violation — and the DA will not reduce the case to improper equipment.  If the driver already has a moving violation on her record within the past three years, then reducing the ticket to 79 in a 70 (nine-over) would still result in two insurance points. If the DA would instead agree to reduce the case to “exceeding a safe speed,” there would only be one insurance point.    

Put my expertise to work in coming up with a good result in your case. 919-683-2175.            

The Do-Not-License List and Clearance Letters

Updated January 13, 2016

In another post I wrote about folks who had found that, when trying to renew their licenses, their renewals were being blocked by  old pending tickets here in North Carolina. I wrote that the solution to that problem was to have the old cases placed back on the court calendar, and then to take care of them.

However, once a driver has taken care of an old case, including paying any court costs and fines, there is one last step to get their name off  the “do not license” list:  Pay  one or more fees to the North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles.

The National Driver’s Registry

 

This is what NC-DMV has told me about “blocked” licenses and restoration fees.

” Most states will not issue a driver license to a person whose driving privilege is not valid in another state.”  Hence, the “National Driver Registry (NDR), . . . a nationwide database” that allows the DMV of one state to know whether an applicant may get a license in another state.

“If the driver’s North Carolina driving privilege has gone into suspension,” they wrote,  “whether licensed in NC or out-of-state, they must pay the applicable restoration fees prior to reinstatement.”  (KJD comment: Even of you are licensed in another state, you can have your “privilege” to drive in this state suspended. Then, when you try to renew your license in your home state, you are blocked by the pending ticket in NC.)  

They also said that, “There are two kinds of restoration fees. The $130* DWI restoration fee is due when the driving privilege is being reinstated after a suspension for driving while impaired. All other suspensions require a $65* restoration fee.”

“The other reinstatement fee is the $50 service fee. The service fee is owed if the driver held a NC driver license at the time the suspension went into effect and they did not surrender the license to the Division prior to the suspension.”  (KJD comment: NC-DMV sends letters to people they are planning to suspend.  The letter says something like “Mail your license to us by such-and-such a date or we will send someone to pick it up.”  They charge a $50 service fee to send that person out.)

“Obviously, if (a driver) is licensed in another state (the pick-up-license) fee will most likely not be required for them to reinstate their NC driving privilege.” (KJD comment:  NC-DMV does not usually physically take the driver’s license of someone who is licensed in another state.  Hence, there is no $50 service fee for not turning in the license).

Clearance Letters

 

Once NC-DMV takes your name off the NDR, the Divisions of Motor Vehicles of other states can see that online.  That can serve as your “clearance letter.”

If you think you owe a restoration fee or service fee to NC-DMV, here’s an email link to conact them.  You can also call NC-DMV at 919-715-7000.

_____________

*Those fee amounts became effective in 2016.  Kjd

 Need help getting your license back because of old tickets?  Give me a call at 919-683-2175.   Ken Duke

Points

Driver’s License Points

People often ask, “How many points will I get for this?”

First, you need to know that there are two point systems:  Driver’s License Points and Insurance Points.  License points result from moving violations (such as running a stop sign, speeding, etc.)  Many people are worried about getting driver’s license points. However, because most minor tickets only carry two or three license points, and you have to get twelve license points to have your license suspended, most people don’t need to be so concerned about them.  (On the other hand, if you have a knack for getting tickets, you might want to remember that 12 driver’s license points will get your license suspended!)

Insurance Points

Insurance points are another matter.  Just one insurance point will cause your rates to increase 30% for three years  (So much for the money you saved by changing insurance companies).  Four points, which would result from a conviction of driving 76 mph in a 65 mph zone, would result in a 80% increase for three years.  The charging of higher rates for people with traffic convictions is part of North Carolina’s Safe Driver Incentive Plan.  Here is a chart that lists how many insurance points apply to each type of conviction and the resulting insurance rate increase (go to page two of the link).

Depending on your prior record, and what you’re charged with, there are several ways that to keep your insurance rates from increasing as much, or at all. I have explained some of those methods, such as prayer for judgment continuednine over, and improper equipment, in other posts.  There are other options as well.

Concerned that a ticket is going to cause your insurance rates to skyrocket?  Call me now at 919-683-2175  for a free consultation. 

“Nine Over”

(Updated 6 February 2014) 

There are several ways to avoid getting insurance points from a traffic ticket.  Besides getting the case reduced to improper equipment, or using a prayer for judgment continued (“PJC”) , there is something called  “nine over.”  What does this mean?  North Carolina’s Safe Driver Incentive Plan, otherwise known as the insurance point system, states how many insurance points a driver gets with each type of conviction.  For example, according to the insurance point chart,  a driver who pleads guilty to driving 58 mph in a 45 mph zone  would receive two (2) insurance points, which would result in a 45% increase in her insurance rates for three years.  However, the same insurance point system has an exception, one that traffic lawyers call “nine over.”  The insurance chart says that a driver will not get any points for:

Speeding 10 mph or less over the posted speed limit; provided all of the following are
true:
• The violation did not occur in a school zone; and
• There is not another moving traffic violation for the experience period (an isolated
Prayer for Judgement Continued (PJC) will not count as a prior conviction for the
purpose of this exception).

So, if  the driver is charged with 58 in a 45, and the ticket is not in a school zone, and she has a clean record for the past three years, then one way to keep her insurance from going up would be to ask the D.A.’s office to reduce the charge to 54 in a 45 (nine mph over the speed limit, or “nine over”), and the driver’s insurance would not increase. (Note: Depending on the circumstances, I might be able to help this person even if she got the ticket in a school zone).

Have a ticket?  Give me a call — Don’t risk losing all those savings you got from changing insurance companies!   919-683-2175.  

Traffic Lawyers and Guarantees

Potential clients will sometimes ask me if I guarantee the results in traffic cases. It’s an understandable question.  Unfortunately, the answer is “no.”  Now, before you go on to the next website, let me explain why.  The North Carolina State Bar prohibits it.  Legal ethics rules do not allow lawyers to have “contingent fees” in criminal cases.  And generally speaking, even though traffic cases can be very minor, they still are treated like criminal cases.  So, let’s say you are charged with speeding 69 mph in 55 mph zone.  If a lawyer were to tell you, “If I don’t get this ticket reduced enough to keep you from getting any insurance points, you won’t owe me anything,” that would be an improper contingent fee.  That’s because the lawyer’s fee depends on — is contingent upon — the results. One reason for this rule is that lawyers who have not guaranteed a result may not be tempted to do something improper, like offer a bribe or lie, to obtain the desired result.

Do you have a traffic case?  Call me now at 919-683-2175.  I can’t make a guarantee, but I will do my best to get a result that will be worth your money.

Accidents, Tickets and Insurance Rates

If you have a wreck and the officer thinks it’s your fault, they may give you a ticket for failure to reduce speed, or failure to yield the right of way, or some other “safe movement” violation.   Hopefully, the accident is not too serious, and your main concern is whether it will cause your insurance to go up!  If you’ve gotten an accident-related ticket, I can probably help you get it dismissed. Usually, I contact your insurance company and ask them to send me a letter stating that they have paid for the damages to the the other person’s car, or have settled any personal injury claim that has been made against you. I then take that letter to an assistant D.A. and usually they will dismiss the ticket.  Depending upon how much your insurance company paid the other driver or injured person to resolve the case, that dismissal may keep your insurance rates from going up. If you have gotten an accident-related ticket, please give me a call at 919-683-2175 so we can figure out the best way to handle your specific case.      

License Suspensions –Common Causes

(Revised October 8, 2013)

There are all kinds of reasons that a person’s license may get suspended.  Here are some of the more common ones I see.

The first one is failure to take care of a ticket.  If you get a ticket, you’ve got to resolve it in some way.  If you just ignore it, the court will note you as having  “failed to appear.”   If you don’t take care of the case within 20 days after that, the court will notify DMV, and they will send you a letter telling you that unless you resolve the case your license will be revoked.  If you still don’t resolve it, DMV revokes your license.  Then, three months  — or three years — later you get stopped at a license check or for another speeding ticket and are informed that your license is revoked, which is a very serious matter.  The officer may very well arrest a person charged with driving while license revoked (also known as “DWLR”).  Perhaps even worse, DWLR carries eight insurance points (which would result in a 220% increase in your insurance rates for three years).

At that point, I may get a call.  What we have to do is take care of both the old ticket and the new one.  We file a motion to put the old ticket back on the court docket and work out a plea.  Then, once that’s cleared up, the D.A. is often willing to allow the person to plead to the reduced charge of simply driving without a license (only one insurance point) or will consent to allowing the person to have a prayer for judgment continued, which may not result in any insurance points.

Another common reason people get their license revoked is for speeding higher than 80 mph, or for speeding more than 15 mph over the limit while at the same time driving in excess of 55 mph.  Those are automatic thirty-day suspensions.  (N.C.G.S. 20-16.1).

Yet another cause of a license suspension is getting convicted within a twelve month period of:  two charges of speeding in excess of 55 mph; or a charge speeding more that 55 mph and a charge of reckless driving, or a charge of speeding in excess of 55 mph and a charge of aggressive driving. (N.C.G.S. 20-16).

If any of the above situations might apply to you, please give me a call at 919-683-2175.  You may think you have no hope to keep your license, but all of us make mistakes and I have found that District Attorneys and judges are usually willing to work with people to help them avoid some of these harsh outcomes.  Sometimes we just have to ask for a second — or a third — chance.

 

Why Choose Kenneth Duke?

First, clients benefit from the expertise that I have developed through 26 years of law practice in the Research Triangle area of North Carolina.   I have tried cases in the district and superior courts, and I have tried many workers compensation claims before the North Carolina Industrial Commission.  I  know my way around workers’ comp, personal injury and traffic law. 
Further, you usually will be dealing directly with me.  I do have an assistant, but when you call, as likely as not I will answer the phone.  I usually answer client emails myself.  I am willing to discuss directly with you the pros and cons of the various courses of action to be taken in your case, whether it’s a traffic, personal injury, or workers’ compensation claim. 
Call or email me right now and put my skills to work for you.