Speeding and Reckless Charges in North Carolina

As most people know, there are a variety of traffic violations that a person can be charged with in North Carolina. Depending on the severity of the traffic violation, the violation can be an infraction or a misdemeanor criminal charge. Two separate sets of points are assessed for traffic violations – DMV points (“driver’s license points”) and insurance points. This blog focuses on two common charges – speeding charges and reckless charges.

In North Carolina, having a citation for speeding can end up having serious consequences that you may not be aware of. Let’s start with taking a look at DMV and insurance points.

Insurance Points

Speeding tickets have the potential to carry insurance points which could negatively impact your rates. For example: In North Carolina, 1 insurance point will typically raise your insurance rates by 30%, and 2 insurance points will typically raise your insurance rates by 45%.

DMV Points

Speeding Tickets also carry driver’s license points (DMV points). Driver’s license points typically remain for three years in North Carolina. Almost all moving traffic offenses carry a minimum of 2 points. If you accumulate enough points (12 points in a 3-year period or 8 points in the 3 years following a license suspension.), the DMV can suspend your driver’s license. The first suspension is a 60-day maximum suspension, the second suspension is a 6-month maximum suspension, and any subsequent suspensions can result in a one year suspension.

Other Criminal Consequences

In NC, driving on a suspended driver’s license is a Class 3 misdemeanor. Misdemeanors, even those related to traffic violations blemish your criminal record. The repercussions for a misdemeanor conviction stemming from a traffic violation are no different than those of any other misdemeanor. In addition to obvious consequences such as the potential for jail time, fines, and other forms of punishment, a misdemeanor conviction can affect an individual in many ways.  For example, a conviction can affect sentencing for any future crimes because it will affect your prior record level. Additionally, criminal convictions even for a misdemeanor can show up on a background check.

Reckless Driving

Speeding above a certain speed can lead to an additional charge of reckless driving. What speeds are sufficient to tack on a reckless charge? According to North Carolina law, speeding at least 15 miles per hour over the speed limit where the speed limit is less than 55 miles per hour can result in a charge of reckless driving. Additionally, you can be charged with reckless driving for driving at any speed above 75 miles per hour.

Reckless driving is a Class 2 misdemeanor. It results in 4 DMV points on your North Carolina driver’s license. Two convictions of reckless driving in a 12-month period can lead to a license suspension. Getting a speeding and a reckless conviction at the same time can result in 60-day license suspension. One should note that speeding is not the only way in which a person can be charged with reckless driving.

Whatever traffic violation you are charged with, please use caution when considering the option to pay your ticket online. Paying a traffic ticket as issued, whether it is online or in person, is the equivalent of an admission of guilty to the offense you have been charged with. You are waiving valuable rights and should consult with an attorney before pleading guilty to your original charge.

For more information on points and license suspension, visit the North Carolina DMV website at:

http://www.dmv.org/nc-north-carolina/point-system.php