Safe Driving Schools
Often, people with tickets wonder if it will help them to go to “traffic school.” Without meaning to sound flippant, my answer is, “It depends.” My information is based only on my experience in the North Carolina counties of Wake, Durham, Orange and Chatham.
First, as a general matter, it’s certainly not going to hurt you to take a safe driving class. You might learn something that could save your life. And, it’s nice when I can say to the assistant D.A., “And look, here’s her safe-driving-class certificate.”
As to whether or not you must take a class, or whether it really may help you legally, that depends on the D.A.’s office in each county.
In Wake County, if you are under twenty years old and you want a reduction in the charge, you may have to take a class. If you are older than twenty, they are not going to be too impressed with a class, and will likely offer you the same reduction, if any, with or without a class.
Durham County’s safe-driving-class policy is that they do not have one. Doesn’t hurt, may help.
Orange and Chatham County have the same D.A., and they do have a policy: They like people to take classes. If you are 19 or younger, they may require you to take a two-day, in-person class in order to get the best reduction. If you are older than that, and the charge is not too serious, you can probably get by with an online class.
Which Class to Attend?
If you don’t have a lawyer I suggest you go to your first court date and ask the assistant D.A. whether he or she wants you to take a class, and ask them which class to take. Your case will be continued (put off) for a month or so to give you time to complete the class and then you can come back with your certificate.
If you are represented by a lawyer (for example, me), I will find out which class you need to take and let you know.
The Original Certificate
Please note that the D.A.s’ offices will only accept the original certificate issued by the school. They do not accept copies. If I am representing you, you can ask the school to send the original directly to me.
Have a question about a traffic ticket? Give me a call at 919-683-2175.