If you have a speeding ticket or other driving offense, you are probably concerned about the cost of the fine as well as long term issues, like how this will affect your insurance rates or if you are at risk of losing your license. Asking for a prayer for judgement continued is a possible option that will reduce your costs and keep points off your license. Our traffic lawyers in Raleigh are providing an in-depth look at what the prayer for judgement continued (PJC) is and when and how you can use it.
What is a Prayer for Judgment Continued in North Carolina?
A PJC is a legal device used in some misdemeanors and traffic violations where the Court does not enter a final ruling or conviction in a case, even after the individual has been found guilty or pled guilty. Judgement is continued so points or fines aren’t levied against the individual, though the individual will often have to pay court costs.
It’s important to understand that if you choose to petition for a PJC, you are essentially pleading guilty to your traffic violation and the judge may or may not grant you the prayer for judgement continued.
An Example of a PJC
If you receive a speeding ticket for driving 15 mph over the speed limit in a school zone, you’re facing a $250 fine as well as court costs, points on your license, and a spike in your insurance rates. You can appear before the judge and petition for a PJC, and if granted, the fines aren’t imposed and there won’t be points on your license or insurance. You will, however, be required to pay court costs.
When to Use a PJC
There are specific guidelines about when you can and can’t use a PJC and how they can affect your future.
The North Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles only allows two PJCs every five years. If you receive an additional violation within that time frame, it’s important to note that the existing tickets won’t “come back.” Instead, if you have a PJC and receive an additional ticket or driving offense, you won’t have to pay the fine or receive license points from your previous ticket, even if a second prayer for judgement continued isn’t granted.
Using two PJCs within two years will negatively affect your insurance (more on that below), but by avoiding the license points, you can prevent license suspension. Additionally, if you receive a moving violation while your license is suspended, a PJC will keep you from more severe punishments, as well as losing your license all together.
Your car insurance looks at PJCs a bit differently and insurance points and license points are separate. They will only accept one PJC every three years per insurance policy. This means that if you, your partner, and your child are all on an insurance policy, only one of you can use a PJC during this period. If you have been granted a PJC, and your partner gets a ticket, they may not want to use a PJC because the insurance points from the original ticket may go into effect at that point, causing rates to go up. In that case, you may want to fight the ticket to try and get it removed from your record.
When Not to Use a PJC
There are a few instances where it’s not recommended or not legal to use a prayer for justice continued.
- Excess speeding: You are found to be speeding more than 25 mph over the posted limit.
- Passing a stopped school bus: PJCs aren’t allowed under any circumstances of passing a school bus whose signs are posted.
- DWI: If you are convicted of a DWI, you aren’t eligible for a PJC.
- Enlisting in the military: A PJC can be seen as an unresolved legal issue as it’s not considered a final judgement and this can prevent enlistment in the armed forces.
- Commercial truck drivers: A PJC is still seen as a guilty ruling and can impact your job.
Have You Been Charged with a Traffic Offense in Raleigh?
If you’re facing an expensive speeding ticket or other moving violation, and you’re not sure if you should fight the ticket or petition for a PJC, reach out to our team today for a consultation and learn more about your options. Call us at 919-615-2473 or fill out the form below to get started.
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