This question is a common one when it comes to North Carolina traffic related matters and unfortunately, a lot of information that you may hear about them is not necessarily accurate. A PJC is the acronym for a Prayer for Judgment Continued.
What is a Prayer for Judgment?
A PJC is most commonly requested in traffic related offenses such as speeding offenses, red light tickets and other types of Chapter 20 motor vehicle violations. A PJC is only granted by the court (the judge) and is not something that the district attorney can offer. Essentially, what a PJC does is continue the judgment. Take a speeding ticket for example. A conviction of the ticket would carry license points, and often times, insurance points as well. However, if the court grants a PJC, then no points will result. A PJC also prevents the imposition of a fine. For instance, speeding in a school zone carries with it a $250 fine in addition to the court costs. However, if a PJC is granted for such violation, the fine is not imposed and only court costs are due.
When to Use a PJC
Many in North Carolina are under the misguided theory that once one uses a PJC, if they get another ticket within three years, then that ticket they received the PJC on will “come back”.
To explain what does happen, one must understand that tickets carry both insurance points and license points – the two are separate points and a PJC prevents either. The theory that a PJC’d ticket will come back up if another ticket is received stems from the insurance side of things. One is entitled to the use of a PJC once every three years for insurance purposes and twice every 5 years for DMV purposes. However, there are applicable exceptions and limits. For insurance purposes, an insurance company will honor one PJC every three years per insurance policy, not per driver.
This means if you, your spouse, and your child share the same insurance policy, only one of you can use a PJC during that three year period. If more than one of you uses a PJC within that three years, neither PJC will be honored by the insurance company and insurance points will be assessed for both offenses. This does not mean that another driver on the same policy that used a PJC can’t receive another ticket. It just means that if another driver on that policy receives a ticket, he may not want to use a second PJC.
When Not to Use a PJC
As I mentioned, for DMV purposes, each driver is entitled to use a PJC twice every 5 years. Using two would negatively impact the insurance, but it would avoid license points. For instance, if one is charged with an offense during a period of license suspension, a PJC would be the only way to avoid a moving violation. Therefore, even if the driver was on a policy that had already used a PJC within the last three years, he would need to use another PJC to prevent losing his license. The same issue would occur if a driver has received too many tickets and another conviction would suspend his license due to the accumulation of too many license points. Using a PJC prevents the license points
The same issue would occur if a driver has received too many tickets and another conviction would suspend his license due to the accumulation of too many license points. Using a PJC prevents the license points and therefore would be required. Now if a driver uses more than his allotted two PJC’s within 5 years, even if the court grants the PJC, the DMV will not honor any past the first two within that five year period.
Have You Been Charged with a Driving Violation?
So in determining whether you should use a PJC and when, you must look at your own driving record and that of any other driver on your insurance policy. Then you must determine whether or not the PJC is necessary for DMV purposes; if that answer is yes, then the insurance impact is irrelevant. This is why we recommend not to use the PJC wastefully. Seeking the advice of a Wake County attorney can help you weigh your options and determine if a PJC is the best route for your matter. Call us at 919-615-2473.
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