Improper Equipment (IE) is a non-moving violation and carries no insurance or DMV point in North Carolina. Improper equipment is simply an infraction like a broken tail light, hence you plead “responsible” instead of “guilty”. Aside from a dismissal improper equipment is usually the best outcome in a traffic case. Will a plea to improper equipment cause your insurance premium to increase? No. You can plead responsible to improper equipment every day of the week and it will never raise your insurance, although Court costs would add up quick.
Why does the District Attorney sometimes offer a plea to improper equipment? Simply stated- because the State gets paid. In fact there in now a $50 surcharge for improper equipment that goes directly to the County. If the State were to simply dismiss your case then they collect no money. Usually there are requirements that you have a good driving record and not have been speeding excessively. The other reason reductions of some sort are usually offered is the same reason plea bargains are usually offered in all criminal cases. If everyone asked for a trial the system would grind to a stop.
Does an improper equipment plea appear on your drive record? Yes- thanks to the Charlotte Observer story a few years ago “exposing” how repeat offenders were able to receive multiple reductions to improper equipment and the State had no way to know because improper equipment did not appear on a DMV record. Now it shows- but it still does not raise your insurance. The State is now less likely to offer you repeat reductions to improper equipment after viewing your record.
If you hire an attorney and qualify for a reduction to improper equipment, the attorney usually can handle the case without you appearing in Court. Call us for a free phone consultation with our attorneys to see if you qualify for a reduction to improper equipment.