Improper Equipment in NC
Does improper equipment carry points in NC?
Improper Equipment is a non-moving violation and carries no insurance or DMV points in North Carolina. Improper Equipment is simply an infraction like a broken tail light or speedometer, hence you plead “responsible” instead of “guilty”. Aside from a dismissal of the original charge/s, improper equipment is usually the best outcome in a traffic case.
Will improper equipment cause an insurance increase?
Improper Equipment is a non moving violation and carries no insurance or DMV points. That being said I have heard some insurance companies count Improper Equipment, Prayer for Judgment "PJC", or a accident that was not your fault as a "NCI" or non-chargeable incident and use that "incident" to bump you into a higher risk pool with higher premiums without technically assessing a surcharge due to insurance points. This appears to an end-around the statute below that states Improper Equipment is not supposed to result in points or premium surcharge.
What if nothing is wrong with my speedometer?
A common misconception is that improper equipment is only offered to those with a broken or miscalibrated speedometer. This is simply not true- what matters the most is (1) the speed at which you were charged and (2) your driving record. In fact improper equipment is routinely given for non-speeding offenses such as: (1) running a stop sign or stop light, (2) reckless driving, (3) left of center, (4) unsafe movement, (5) and sometimes even driving without a license.
Why would the District Attorney 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. Total Court fees for improper equipment generally range from $263 -$338 depending on the County and District Attorney. 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 (NC statute prohibits a reduction to either an improper equipment or a PJC for speeding more than 25 mph over the limit). 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 a NC driving record?
Yes- thanks to a Charlotte Observer newspaper 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 result in insurance or DMV points. The State is now less likely to offer you repeat reductions to improper equipment after viewing your record.
Do I need an attorney to get an improper equipment?
Technically no, but it ultimately depends on the Assistant District Attorney you speak with in Court. 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 an attorney to see if you qualify for a reduction to improper equipment and avoid the applicable insurance and DMV points associated with your original charge.
What is the fine for improper equipment?
The fine for improper equipment in North Caroliina usually varies from $263 - $338 depending on whether your ticket is from Mecklenburg County or Union County. This amount is likely more than the printed fine on your ticket as there is a $50 surcharge for a reduction to improper equipment.
N.C.G.S. § 20-123.2 Speedometer.
(a) Every self-propelled motor vehicle when operated on the highway shall be equipped with a speedometer which shall be maintained in good working order.
(b) Any person violating this section shall have committed an infraction and may be ordered to pay a penalty of not more than twenty-five dollars ($25.00). No drivers license points, insurance points or premium surcharge shall be assessed on or imputed to any party on account of a violation of this section. (1989 (Reg. Sess., 1990), c. 822, s. 2.)