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By Brandon Jaynes, Partner at King Law Offices, Shelby, NC.
You may have heard the phrase that “driving is a privilege and not a right,” and that “privilege” that many of us have to drive is more closely scrutinized today than it was many years ago. In the day and age of computers and freer access to information, together with states cooperating and communicating together with motor vehicle information, having a ticket in one state can spell disaster for your license in another.
If you live in one state but receive a ticket in another state, don’t think that it is something that can be ignored. In many cases, ignoring a ticket, or receiving an entry of responsible (or guilty) on a ticket in one state may end up having your license revoked in another state. For instance, if a North Carolina driver is convicted of a driving while under the influence (DUI) or driving while intoxicated (DWI) in South Carolina,e.g., that information can be (and often is) transmitted back to the North Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles, where the North Carolina laws concerning suspension of licenses trigger.
Of course, it isn’t just limited to DWI or DUI convictions, but in North Carolina you could have your license suspended for certain traffic infractions, as well. Likewise, many other states practice the same sort of reciprocity when it comes to suspension of licenses in their own jurisdictions. One of the primary ways we see out-of-state residents with revoked licenses in their states are through these reciprocity and communication laws.
This is a primary reason why you can’t ignore a ticket in North Carolina. Sitting half a country away may make you feel safe in the knowledge that the North Carolina police can’t come and get you (under most instances), but ignoring a ticket (or taking care of it without an experienced attorney to minimize any damage to your ability to drive) may very well ultimately end up in your own state’s database of information. Then, before you know it, your license is suspended.
Rules concerning traffic infractions are very detailed and specific, and there exist a wide variety of ways to handle a traffic ticket, given the facts and circumstances. Also, specific counties will have their own local rules and practices. It’s completely plausible that you could have five speeding tickets in three years and not see your insurance rates go up. And while it does turn on the facts of each individual case, taking care of your ticket online (or ignoring it completely) will usually ruin any chance or opportunity to save your license, as well as your insurance rates.
All said, driving may be a privilege and not a right; however, it is a privilege that can often be retained if you hire the right attorney.
King Law Offices has five locations to represent clients with DUI and traffic tickets throughout Western North Carolina and Upstate South Carolina.