Is it illegal to refuse to sign a citation or a traffic ticket in North Carolina?
Often, when a person is cited for a traffic violation in North Carolina, the law enforcement officer issuing the citation requests that the driver sign the citation. This blog discusses questions such as whether it is illegal to refuse to sign the citation or whether one’s refusal will invalidate the citation. Like all of our blogs, this blog is intended for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for the advice and counsel of a criminal defense or traffic attorney.
Will refusing to sign a citation invalidate it?
No. An unsigned citation is still valid. An officer does not need your signature to charge you with a traffic violation.
What if the officer does not ask me to sign my citation?
This happens often and will have no bearing on the validity of the citation or on the outcome of your case.
Am I admitting guilt by signing a citation?
No. You are not admitting guilt. In the traffic context, one admits guilt or responsibility to a traffic violation by either: 1) paying the fine before your court date (usually online); 2) going to court and admitting guilt or responsibility; 3) through an attorney, where the attorney appears for the defendant and takes a plea.
Is it illegal to refuse to sign a citation in North Carolina?
No. It is not illegal to refuse to sign a citation in North Carolina. You cannot be arrested or charged for this (in and of itself).
Resisting a public officer in North Carolina
As noted above, it is not illegal to refuse to sign a citation. Refusing to sign a citation does not amount to resisting a public officer (commonly known as “resisting arrest”), which is a Class 2 misdemeanor in North Carolina. However, please note that other behaviors during a police encounter could amount to this offense. For example, during a lawful traffic stop, a driver that refuses to provide a driver’s license to a law enforcement officer’s lawful demand for such identification could be arrested for this offense.
If you are in need of a traffic lawyer or criminal defense lawyer in Charlotte, NC or the surrounding area, contact us for more information.