In Mecklenburg County, receiving a traffic ticket—for offenses such as not yielding, speeding, or running a red light—isn’t something to be taken lightly. The consequences can be far-reaching, including hefty fines, demerit points on your driving record, and higher insurance costs.
Attending a traffic school class might offer a way to avoid some of the harsh ramifications of a traffic ticket. A knowledgeable Charlotte traffic ticket attorney at Browning & Long, PLLC can raise your defenses to fight the traffic ticket and help you decide if going to traffic school would assist in getting the ticket dismissed or reduced to a less serious offense.
What Are Traffic School Classes and How Can They Help Me?
Traffic school, also called defensive driving school or driver improvement clinic, is an educational program designed to enhance your driving knowledge and skills. You often have the option of taking an online or in-person class, both of which last approximately six to eight hours. If you received a traffic ticket in North Carolina but live in another state, you may be able to attend a class where you live.
Taking a traffic school course allows you to learn safe driving practices, understand the dangers of certain behaviors on the road, and become well-versed in North Carolina traffic laws and regulations. During your time in traffic school, you can expect to cover a range of essential topics that aim to improve your driving abilities and help you become a safer and more responsible driver. Here are some of the key topics covered.
Safe Driving Resources
The course section explains the various resources available to motorists that contribute to safer driving habits. It might include learning about safety organizations, driving manuals, and online resources promoting responsible driving.
Dangerous Driving Behaviors
Identifying and comprehending dangerous driving behaviors—such as reckless driving, following too closely, and running red lights—helps you make better decisions on the road.
These classes address strategies and techniques for preventing crashes to minimize the risk of accidents.
Accident Risk Reduction
Another topic that may be discussed is analyzing factors contributing to crashes and exploring ways to reduce the likelihood of being involved in them.
Defensive Driving Strategies
Learning defensive driving techniques helps you anticipate and respond to potential hazards, reducing the chances you’ll be involved in collisions or receive other traffic citations.
Another important topic often discussed is the dangers of distracted driving, including talking on a cellphone or texting, eating or drinking, or other activities that divert your eyes and attention from the road.
This course section outlines aggressive driving behaviors you may exhibit and gives you strategies to avoid escalating situations on the road if another motorist is being aggressive.
North Carolina Traffic Laws
You’ll gain a better understanding of the traffic laws specific to North Carolina.
Eligibility for Traffic School
Before considering attending traffic school to reduce the impact of a traffic ticket in Charlotte, NC, you should understand the eligibility criteria. While traffic school can benefit many drivers, certain circumstances may prevent you from participating in the program. Here are the rules that might affect your eligibility.
Traffic school is generally not an option for drivers who’ve committed severe violations, such as those involving drugged or drunk driving, excessive speeding, or accidents.
Previous Defensive Driving Course
If you already completed a defensive driving course within the last five years, you may not be eligible to attend traffic school again.
Lack of Valid Driver's License or Insurance
Individuals without a valid driver's license aren’t eligible for traffic school. Similarly, people without valid auto insurance may not qualify for traffic school, either.
How Attending Charlotte Traffic School Reduces the Impact of Your Traffic Ticket
Attending a driver improvement clinic is frequently an essential strategy to mitigate the impact of a traffic ticket in Mecklenburg County. Here are some possible benefits of successfully completing a traffic school class.
Dismissal or Reduction of the Traffic Citation
In some cases, completing traffic school may lead to the traffic ticket being dismissed or reduced to a less severe violation with less harsh fines.
Demerit Point Avoidance
North Carolina employs a demerit point system, which means traffic violations result in points being added to your driving record. Acquiring too many points can lead to a license suspension or higher insurance premiums. By attending traffic school, you may be able to prevent these points from being added to your record.
Insurance Premium Reduction
Some insurance companies give discounts to individuals who voluntarily attend traffic school. Completing the course and providing proof to your insurer might lead to a reduction in your insurance premiums.
Consult a Lawyer Before Taking a Defensive Driving Course
While traffic school is an attractive option for many drivers, you shouldn’t rush into the decision without first consulting a skilled Charlotte traffic ticket lawyer. Here are the benefits of hiring knowledgeable attorneys like the professionals at Browning & Long.
Your lawyer identifies what defenses you have to fight the traffic ticket. You may have strong defenses even if you believe you committed the traffic violation.
Assess the Viability
Your legal team evaluates your specific case and determines whether attending traffic school is a viable option given the circumstances of your traffic ticket and your criminal record.
Negotiate With Prosecutors
To ensure traffic school isn’t a waste of time and money, your attorney talks with the case prosecutor about whether attendance helps you get the traffic ticket dismissed or reduced to a less serious traffic citation.
Traffic tickets often involve completing substantial paperwork, but your legal team takes care of these documents, confirming they’re accurate and filed on time.
Provide Legal AdviceA knowledgeable traffic ticket attorney offers advice tailored to your situation, helping you make informed decisions about attending traffic school or pursuing other avenues in your criminal case.
If you must attend a mandatory court hearing to resolve your traffic ticket, your lawyer can represent you. In some situations, they may be able to attend the hearing without your need to be present.
Explore Other Options
If you’re not eligible to take a defensive driving course or it wouldn’t be the best option for your case, your legal team at Browning & Long will suggest and pursue alternative strategies to minimize the consequences of the traffic ticket.
Procedures to Follow Before Taking Traffic School Classes
Before enrolling in traffic school, you may need to follow specific procedures to determine your eligibility and obtain court approval. In some cases, defendants must attend a court hearing where the judge assesses their case and decides whether traffic school is an appropriate option. If they grant your request to take a course, they may set a deadline for you to complete it.
Alternatively, you may request to attend a driver improvement course through the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) if you’ve accumulated too many points on your driving record and want to reduce any related to a recent violation. In this situation, the DMV sends a letter advising you of traffic school class qualification. You then apply for a hearing with a DMV administrative hearing officer to verify your eligibility and confirm that completing the course reduces your demerit points.
Taking an Insurance Defensive Driving Course for Insurance Discounts
In addition to attending traffic school to mitigate the impact of a traffic ticket, you might also have the option of taking an insurance defensive driving course to receive discounts on your auto insurance premiums. Insurers often offer lower costs to motorists who voluntarily complete these courses, as it demonstrates a commitment to safe driving practices. Here are some of the topics covered in an insurance defensive driving course:
- North Carolina traffic laws
- Defensive driving skills
- Driving in bad weather
- Effects of drug and alcohol on driving abilities
- Safe driving behaviors and skills
- Aggressive driving avoidance strategies
- Handling driving emergencies