Outside of ensuring that their driving privileges will not be negatively affected, most of our clients charged with traffic offenses are primarily concerned with the effect the case will have on their insurance premiums. The system in North Carolina is divided into license points and insurance points. NCGS 20-16 details the points that may be assessed on your license in the event of a conviction. More applicable for insurance purposes, however, is the insurance point system as shown on this chart provided by the North Carolina Department of Insurance.
A non-moving violation or a reduction to a non-moving violation like improper equipment does not carry any points. Similarly, if you are eligible and are granted a Prayer for Judgment Continued (PJC) by the court, points will not be applied. Finally, if you are convicted of speeding less than 10 mph over the speed limit and have not accumulated any other points within the last three years, insurance points will not be applied.
However, it is important to remember that points from traffic convictions are not the only thing that can raise your insurance premiums. The addition of a young driver to your policy, a traffic accident even if you were not cited, or adding a different model vehicle to your policy are all events that can drive up your premiums depending on the terms contained in your policy.
Finally, insurance companies have begun reserving the right to increase insurance premiums in the event of an “occurrence.” An occurrence can even include a traffic charge that was resolved without any points being added to your record! This can happen if you take advantage of rates commonly referred to by insurance companies as “preferred rates” or “safe driver status.” Often times the insurance companies, in order to be competitive with other companies, will offer these preferred rates that fall below the minimum level as determined by the NC Department of Insurance. In the event of an “occurrence” as defined by the terms of your policy, you could lose that preferential rate even if you were not assessed any points so long as the rate is not increased beyond the ceiling dictated by the DOI.
With the complexity involved in even a simple traffic charge, it is advisable to work with an attorney who can analyze your particular situation. Email or give us a call for a free consultation.