Oh, North Carolina, How I did Love Thee...
January 29, 2010 2:42 PM   Subscribe

I can't renew my Drivers License here in California because I've been flagged by the North Carolina DMV for traffic citations dating from 1991.

The good news is that I am able to pay a fine for one, but the other, in Hartnett Co, requires me to appear in person or hire an attorney to represent me there.

I can't afford either option. Please advise.

FTR, I was a very young soldier serving at Ft Bragg and was pulled over by law enforcement a LOT...my transportation was a VW Bus.

I'm working on a letter to the N.C. Governor, that might help, but I'm sure that there are some other legal things going on here that I have no idea about.

I really appreciate your help, and many thanks in advance.
posted by snsranch to Law & Government (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
The first thing I would try to figure out is what the statute of limitations, if any, is.

19 years seems a rather long time for a traffic violation to be in effect.
posted by dfriedman at 2:50 PM on January 29, 2010

The statue of limitations likely stopped counting when you left the state ("fled the jurisdiction" as the county would put it). They may agree to let it go based on the time, but there's a good chance that they aren't required to do so. This issue would require more research though. Perhaps more useful than writing the Governor would be to write the county offering to settle for a reasonable dollar amount.

Hiring an attorney isn't going to be that expensive. There are plenty of attorneys who specialize in dealing with traffic tickets and who know the local court very well. Many could take care of this for a flat fee or a reasonable rate.
posted by zachlipton at 3:35 PM on January 29, 2010 [1 favorite]

Yes, very good suggestions, thanks to both of you! zachlipton, I think you are right about that. I called the D.A.'s office there and while they were adamant about my appearing or having representation, they didn't make it sound like the big deal that I feel it is.

It looks like this happened just after a tour in Iraq. No legal merit there, but I do remember being a little goofy for a while.

Thanks again, this looks doable now.
posted by snsranch at 3:58 PM on January 29, 2010

That's Harnett county, not Hartnett, btw.

BTW if you need a traffic attorney there, give me a pm-my husband says Harnett county traffic lawyers are horrible, and I can give you a number for a Cumberland County attorney that is fantastic (at the very least the guy could refer you to a halfway decent Harnett county attorney.)
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 4:43 PM on January 29, 2010

Thank you St. Alia, and yes, I stand corrected. If I don't hear back from the courthouse there my mid next week, I will take you up on that offer. Thanks again!
posted by snsranch at 4:59 PM on January 29, 2010

Hiring an attorney will be your fastest option and likely less money than you think.
posted by caddis at 6:25 PM on January 29, 2010

You might want to try writing the County Executive's office (some elected official in the county) too with a quick note explaining the situation, the age of the ticket, the fact that this was right after your tour in Iraq, and it's possible some staffer will take pity on you and recommend dropping the whole thing. I probably wouldn't ask them to drop it, I'd simply put it as "I'd like to write you a check for $X right now and end this" because that's a far more reasonable position to take. It's unlikely to work, but you never know. Failing that, go for the lawyer.
posted by zachlipton at 4:13 PM on January 30, 2010

That's exactly what I was thinking, zachlipton, after your previous comment. I hope this wasn't a mistake, but I e-mailed the court's "legal help" section yesterday asking for contact to a public defender to be a liaison so that I can "do right by the state and county."

I really appreciate all of the advice in this thread. It's very bolstering for me. I put great effort into serving my community and to being a good citizen so when I got this news I was kind of paralyzed. I'm feeling much better now, thanks to you folks, and I will be taking care of business.

Thanks again!
posted by snsranch at 5:00 PM on January 30, 2010

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