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Understanding How License And Insurance Points In North Carolina

Most drivers assume that once they receive a moving violation ticket the only thing to do is to pay it. This is simply not true. In many, perhaps MOST cases you are better off in the long run if you do challenge a ticket and get it reduced or dismissed.

At The Schweppe Law Firm, P.A. we offer a free consultation with an established attorney. We want to meet with you so that you fully understand your options and the consequences of doing nothing. Our pat advice is to NOT PAY THE TICKET. Why? Because payment is admission of guilt. In fact, most speeding charges can be negotiated to a lesser charge. The lesser, non-moving charge will not create points on your license and will not affect your insurance.

Take Your Ticket Seriously, But Do Not Pay It

North Carolina uses a system in which every moving violation is assigned a point value under two systems. Out-of-state drivers should be cautioned that these systems apply to North Carolina drivers only. Check with an attorney licensed in your state to determine the impact of your ticket.

The assessment of points in North Carolina begins with the Division of Motor Vehicles, the agency that maintains your driving record. The accumulation of these points can result in the suspension of your license, even if you have an otherwise clean record. This chart summarizes the point breakdown:

Point Value: Conviction:
5 Points Passing a stopped school bus loading or unloading children
4 Points Reckless driving
4 Points Hit and run, property damage only
4 Points Following too closely
4 Points Driving on wrong side of road
4 Points Illegal passing
3 Points Running through stop sign
3 Points Speeding more than 55 mph
3 Points Speeding through school zone
3 Points Failure to yield right of way
3 Points No driver’s license or license expired more than one year
3 Points Running through red light
3 Points Failure to stop for siren
3 Points Speeding through safety zone
3 Points Failure to report accident where such report is required
3 Points No liability insurance
2 Points All other moving violations
1 Point Littering involving a motor vehicle
If you are driving a commercial vehicle different license points are assessed.
Driver’s license point values for conviction of violations while operating a commercial vehicle:
Point Value: Conviction:
8 Points Passing a stopped school bus loading or unloading children
6 Points Rail-highway crossing violation
5 Points Reckless driving
5 Points Hit and run, property damage only
5 Points Following too closely
5 Points Driving on wrong side of road
5 Points Illegal passing
4 Points Running through stop sign
4 Points Speeding more than 55 mph
4 Points Speeding through school zone
4 Points Failure to yield right of way
4 Points No driver’s license or license expired more than one year
4 Points Running through red light
4 Points Failure to stop for siren
4 Points Speeding through safety zone
4 Points Failure to report accident where such report is required
4 Points No liability insurance
4 Points Possessing alcoholic beverage in passenger area
3 Points All other moving violations
1 Point Littering involving a motor vehicle
The second assessment of points occurs against your insurance. This system is known as the Safe Drive Insurance Plan (“SDIP”) and establishes classifications of drivers based on their history of accidents and moving violations. The SDIP determines the appropriate insurance surcharge for drivers based on the accumulation of points which are associated with a particular percentage increase in a driver’s insurance premiums. It is cost effective to hire an attorney, because North Carolina traffic violations are expensive. In addition to the minimum of $150.00 due for court costs and fines, even a modest speeding ticket can cost you thousands of dollars more in insurance premiums. And, out of state drivers should be aware that North Carolina will usually report a conviction to your home state.

Let us help you save thousands of dollars in insurance premiums. Here is a summary of North Carolina’s SDIP system:

SDIP Points: Convictions and At-Fault Accidents:
12 Points
  • Manslaughter or negligent homicide
  • Prearranged highway racing or lending a care for prearranged highway racing
  • Hit-and-run resulting in bodily injury or death
  • Driving with a blood-alcohol level of .08 or more
  • Driving commercial vehicle with a blood-alcohol level of .04 or more
  • Driving while impaired
  • Transporting illegal intoxicating liquor for sale
10 Points
  • Highway racing or lending a care for highway racing
  • Speeding to elude arrest
8 Points
  • Driving during revocation or suspension of license or registration
  • Aggressive driving
4 Points
  • Reckless driving
  • Hit-and-run resulting in property damage only
  • Passing a stopped school bus
  • Speeding in excess of 75 mph when the speed limit is less than 70 mph
  • Speeding in excess of 80 mph when the speed limit is 70 mph or greater
  • Driving a person less than age 21 after consuming alcohol or drugs
3 Points
  • At-fault accident that occurs before Jan. 1, 2004, resulting in death, or bodily injury in excess of $1,500 or property damage of $2,500 or more
  • At-fault accident that occurs on or after Jan. 1, 2004, resulting in death, or bodily injury in excess of $1,800 or property damage of $3,000 or more
2 Points
  • Illegal passing
  • Following too closely
  • Driving on wrong side of the road
  • At-fault accident that occurs before Jan. 1, 2004, resulting in property damage in excess of $1,500, but less than $2,500
  • At-fault accident that occurs on or after Jan. 1, 2004, resulting in property damage in excess of $1,800, but less than $3,000
  • Speeding more than 10 mph over the speed limit provided the total speed is in express of 55 mph, but less than 76 mph
  • Speeding 10 mph or less in excess of speed zone of 55 mph or greater
1 Point
  • All other moving violations
  • At-fault accident that occurs before Jan. 1, 2004, resulting in bodily injury of $1,500 or less, or property damage of $1,500 or less
  • At-fault accident that occurs on or after Jan. 1, 2004, resulting in bodily injury of $1,800 or less, or property damage of $1,800 or less
  • Speeding 10 mph or less in excess of speed limit of less than 55 mph
No SDIP points will be charged for:
An accident provided all of the following are true:

  • There is property damage only;
  • The amount of damage is $1,500 or less ($1,800 or less if accident occurs on or after Jan. 1, 2004);
  • There is no conviction for a moving violation in connection with the accident; and
  • No licensed operators in the household have convictions or at-fault accidents during the experience period. (An insurance company may require that the insured be covered by that company for six continuous months.)

Speeding 10 mph or less over the posted speed limit; provided all of the following are true:

  • The violation did not occur in a school zone; and
  • There is not another moving traffic violation for the experience period (an isolated Prayer for Judgment Continued [PJC] will not count as a prior conviction for the purpose of this exception).

One PJC for each household every three years; however

  • The violation did not occur in a school zone; and
  • There is not another moving traffic violation for the experience period (an isolated Prayer for Judgment Continued [PJC] will not count as a prior conviction for the purpose of this exception).

One PJC for each household every three years; however

  • A second PJC may cause points to be charged according to the underlying convictions.
Insurance Points Will Cost You Money
Point % of Rate Increase Cost if Basic Rate is $300
1 25% $375
2 45% $435
3 60% $480
4 80% $540
5 105% $615
6 130% $690
7 160% $780
8 190% $870
9 225% $975
10 260% $1,080
11 300% $1,200
12 340% $1,320

Get Professional, Proven legal Guidance Today

As you can see, anyone charged with speeding can benefit from an experienced and aggressive attorney. We can help you understand your rights and your options. Let us help you protect your future driving privileges. Call 704-243-5124or consult an attorney at the firm today for free to find out more. You have nothing to lose but points on your license and increased insurance premiums. 

North Carolina State Bar
United States District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina
North Carolina Bar Association