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welcome to north carolina

How is it that “court costs” are fully six times the amount of a citation fee?

For that matter, how are there court costs at all if you waive the hearing and eat the citation?

Oh well.  Looks like my first ever speeding ticket has been achieved in a rented Jeep Compass; sadly, the state trooper’s incredulity at my getting that heap up to the speed he recorded did nothing to get me out of it.

11 comments to welcome to north carolina

  • I am convinced that NC traffic citations are a racket just to collect court costs. Whatever you do, don’t get a ticket and try to fight it in Wake County. Your “court date” isn’t a court date at all. It’s just a hearing date. You can ask for an actual court date at that hearing, but then you have to take TWO days off work, one for the hearing and one for the case.

    Generally a lawyer can get it dropped down to a “no points, no fine, just pay court costs” offense if you’re worried that your ticket will affect your insurance costs. You sign a paper and the lawyer represents you in court. You don’t even have to show up. Next time you see me, ask me about my “careless and reckless” ticket when I was in the Army.

  • What Sean said. Used to be the troopers would cut you some slack if you weren’t being an idiot, and while there may be a few of those old-line guys left, the new ones are fairly much in the revenue enhancement business. Get a good radar detector if you have a heavy foot.

    Oh, and “Welcome to North Carolina”. :-)

  • dave w

    Where i live tabs and insurance are all issued by the equiv of the DMV, they know you got a ticket before you do and insurance adjusts accordingly.
    The ticket give you 2 choices
    ‘voluntary contribution’ and go to court to argue it. What is voluntary beats me.

  • Chad

    Tawas, Michigan, 2002…..passing on the shoulder, $5 fine, $105 administrative fees

  • cspradlin

    Not EVEN a month ago, Maryland, about 2AM, 75 in a 55. WARNING. I probably should have bought a lottery ticket at the next gas stop.
    (background: Was in the middle of an 865 mile road trip, the second one in a week. Did NOT realize that the portion of the interstate I was on was going through a town and had the speed limit slower as a result. The town was a gas station and a day-time rest stop.)

  • @ Sean D Sorrentino: Better Half and I hypothesize that the “citation” part of a ticket is fixed at some low value by some archaic and now outdated law, while “court costs” are left in an easier-to-amend piece of legislation, so the police/courts do what they can to hijack the system.

    My insurance probably will not care about the ticket – my driving record is functionally clean, apart from an accident with the Mustang. A lawyer will probably cost more than the citation part of the fee.

    @ The Freeholder: I have an Escort, but neglected to put it in the rental before making the trip. This particular trooper was an older one, but apparently had no interest in just warnings.

    The title came from what the trooper told me… immediately after he handed me the ticket. That touch… amused me.

    @ dave w: You are voluntarily not going to court. Just like you voluntarily pay taxes.

    For certain definitions of “voluntary”.

    @ Chad: So my multiple was not nearly as bad, but the total value was higher.

    @ cspradlin: Wow. Yeah. You lucked out.

  • But, Sheriff Andy was so nice on TV?


  • I spoke to a Trooper the other day at the range and if my memory serves me correctly he said the Patrol’s policy now is you get stopped you get a ticket. Cameras in the cars and body mics on the troopers means every stop is subject to review. So, no discretion and it is about revenue. Oh yeah, welcome to North Carolina.

  • Speeding tickets have almost always been about revenue. One would have thought the uproar over red light cameras would help that fact resurface, but I guess not.

  • Robert

    A bit late to this post (I didn’t realize you were posting again) but note that in NC, two tickets over 55MPH within a year (no matter how little over), will result in losing your license for 30 days.

    Another note is that since you might be driving back to Knoxville on occasion, that the 20 mile stretch of I-40 in the “gorge” just pror to the TN state line is a “no deals” area. Meaning that even if you do go to court, that the DA will make no deals whatsoever to reduce the charges or issue what we in NC call a “prayer for judgement” which is basically a one time chance to get out of having points on your license and insurance rates going up.

  • Wow. All of these various and sundry extra rules certainly explain why almost no one does anything greater than maybe 5 over around Raleigh…

    That gorge is more than enough reason for me to slow down regardless, but thanks for the heads-up on the extra details. Yay government revenue!

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