Should I pay my NC traffic fine or go to court?
October 17, 2012 6:51 AM Subscribe
I got into a minor parking lot accident in North Carolina the same day I moved out of state for a new job. Should I pay a $25 traffic fine or hire a lawyer to represent me in traffic court and therefore keep a clean record?
posted by toastedcheese to law & government (13 answers total)
I am a relatively new driver in my twenties and caused some damage (mostly scraped paint, and possibly a small dent) to a parked car while backing out of a cramped parking space. The owner decided to call the police, and now I have a traffic court date in North Carolina.
The accident happened on the same day I left NC to move to Massachusetts, where I've started a new job. Obviously I won't be flying down to appear in court on a weekday. The police officer told me that if I hired an attorney to represent me in court and show that my insurance had paid for the other gentleman's damage, I wouldn't owe a fine and nothing would go on my record.
I've only now sat down to look at my ticket again, and I just noticed that I have the option of paying a $25 fine rather than appear in court. The cop didn't tell me this, and clearly was trying to dissuade me from paying the fine. However, it is definitely cheaper to pay the fine + mandatory court fees rather than an attorney + court fees, and less hassle for me as well.
I know that none of you is my lawyer, but would it be a really terrible idea to pay this fine and therefore plead guilty to a moving traffic violation? My violation is "unsafe movement." I assume my insurance premium will go up either way. What are the consequences of taking responsibility for what was truly a minor accident? I have never had a traffic violation before. I also never had a North Carolina driver's license because I only lived in the state for a few months, if it matters.
(I'm new here, although I've been a longtime lurker. Thanks!)