If you have an old unpaid traffic ticket in North Carolina or any other State your driving license privileges have likely been indefinitely suspended. This forces drivers to handle tickets they receive when driving through their home State or even another State, otherwise what incentive would someone have to pay a ticket if there were no consequences for simply pretending it did not exist? The Interstate Driver License Compact is an agreement between 45 of the 50 States to share information about traffic tickets. The National Driver Register keeps track of when an individual is suspended in one (1) State, which generally results in a suspension of most States. In North Carolina it is important to resolve all outstanding issues from all counties and other States simultaneously to have the best chance for permanent reinstatement.
What happens if I fail to appear in traffic court?
Assuming an Order for Arrest is not issued a “failure to appear” will be reported to the DMV, which will eventually suspend your license.
What happens when the DMV is notified of a FTA?
The DMV will mail a letter to the address on your license informing you of your missed Court date, which should give you about 60 days advance warning of the date your license will be suspended.
What if my license has been suspended for many years in NC?
If you have multiple outstanding tickets the worst thing you can do is start paying them off if you are currently suspended. Each time you plead guilty to a moving violation during a period of suspension your license is suspended for another year. After the third such conviction you are permanently suspended.
How do I get my license back due to a failure to appear in NC?
The key is to simultaneously re-open all your old cases at the same time and to have the FTA stricken. Hopefully this will get you eligible for reinstatement and then you can start handling your cases one at a time.
Do I need an attorney to strike an FTA?
Technically no, but hiring an attorney is a good investment to make sure you don’t cause more harm than good in trying to fix your license. The District Attorney can strike a FTA and waive the $200 FTA fee, but only a Judge can sign an Order striking the “FTA in error, nunc pro tunc”, which is what is often required by the DMV to become eligible for reinstatement. The DMV will not remove the FTA without the "error" language and the "nunc pro-tunc" language removes the FTA retroactively, which often is the only way to get a license back with other outstanding tickets.
Do I really need to have the FTA stricken in error?
If you have multiple tickets and don’t get the “FTA’s stricken in error, nunc pro-tunc" you could perhaps get a license back only to lose it again by pleading to something during a period of suspension. Sometime an improper equipment or PJC is you only way around this if a local Judge refuses to strike a FTA in error. Remember only a Judge can strike an FTA in error, which is often required to fix and keep a license when there are multiple FTA’s.
Do I have to go to Court to handle an old ticket in NC?
An attorney can often appear on your behalf to resolve tickets in various counties or States. This is especially helpful if you don’t have a license as each ticket likely will generally take two (2) Court appearances to strike an FTA in error and then return at a later date with a license.
How do I find out if I have outstanding tickets?
The best way to find out what tickets need to be handled is to call the NC DMV at (919) 715-7000 and speak with a customer service agent. Make sure you also have the agent check the National Register to see if there are any holds from another State.
How long can my license be suspended for a failure to appear in NC?
Your license will be suspended indefinitely until you resolve all outstanding tickets.
Is there a statute of limitations on unpaid traffic tickets in NC?
No- Statute of limitations applies to how long the government has to charge you. Once you have been charged there is no time limit on how long the government has to prosecute you. Bottom line is you must resolve all unpaid traffic tickets before your license will be reinstated in NC.
How long does it take to clear a FTA in NC?
It varies by county, but it generally takes 5-10 business days to have the local clerk update the computer, send the update to the NC DMV, and then have a hearing officer in Raleigh update the system. Once cleared in Raleigh any update should be live on the National Driver Register within 24-48 hours.