After any accident it is important to immediately notify your insurance company to make sure you comply with any contractual duty or else you may provide your insurance company an opportunity to deny coverage. Most DA’s are willing to dismiss the ticket after your insurance company provides a letter accepting liability and paying for any damages incurred by the other driver.
Can you get a ticket after a car wreck in NC?
At fault drivers often receive a traffic citation for an accident adding insult to injury. Some of the following are the most common tickets issued as a result of an accident:
Failure to report an accident in NC
Pursuant to NCGS 20-166.1 the driver of a vehicle involved in a reportable accident must immediately, by the quickest means of communication, notify the appropriate law enforcement agency of the accident. Very often when a driver runs off the road into a ditch or a tree they call a friend for a ride home rather than remain at the scene for a tow truck. This can often result in a charge of failure to report an accident citation in NC. When this happens late at night law enforcement might assume the driver was drunk and is fleeing the scene.
What is a reportable accident in NC?
A reportable motor vehicle crash occurs on a traffic way (any land way open to the public as a matter of right or custom for moving persons or property from one place to another) or occurs after the motor vehicle runs off the roadway but before events are stabilized. In addition a reportable crash must meet at least one of the following criteria:
Hit and Run accident in NC
Often a hit and run citation is simply due to the driver not realizing there was an accident or not pulling over fast enough. It is important to call 911 if you have been involved in accident and simply want to drive to a safe location before you pull over. It is certainly understandable to not pull over late at night in an isolated area as it could be the other driver caused the accident on purpose to get you to stop. By calling 911 this alerts law enforcement you are not fleeing the scene, but simply driving to a safe well lighted location. If your insurance company pays for the damage to the other vehicle the charge of hit and run may even be dismissed in court with the help of an attorney to advocate on your behalf.
Why do you have to appear in court for a car accident?
Your NC traffic ticket as a result of an accident may or may not require a mandatory court appearance by either you or an attorney. That being said, paying off any traffic ticket is the same as pleading guilty. Pleading guilty to a moving violation from a car accident is admitting you were at fault and could open you up to civil liability for any property damage or medical bills incurred by the other driver and passengers. The better approach is to contact your insurance company and allow them to investigate who was at fault in evaluating any claims. In the meantime hiring an attorney to seek a dismissal is usually a prudent decision.
How much does a car accident ticket cost?
Court fees in North Carolina for traffic tickets are usually around $190-$288 depending on the charge. Once again, it is important to note that simply paying a ticket is the same as pleading guilty and admitting fault.
Can you go to jail for a car crash?
Although jail time for a car accident in North Carolina is rare it is possible depending on the charge. Death by motor vehicle especially if it involves a DWI could easily result in jail time. Active jail time as a result of a simple accident where nobody was hurt is very rare.
Is causing a car accident a crime in NC?
Causing a car accident in North Carolina can result in criminal charges. That being said, a car accident does not always result in a criminal citation as there is certainly a distinction between criminal action and civil negligence.
Car accident ticket dismissed in NC
If you were issued a criminal citation as a result of a car accident there is no reason to simply pay that ticket off and have your insurance increase any more than it likely will already due to the accident. Usually if you were at fault and your insurance company pays for any property damage or personal injury suffered by the other driver then your ticket can be dismissed with a good insurance letter. What is a good insurance letter? A good insurance letter generally states exactly how much has been paid to the other driver and that all known claims have been settled.
Car accident citation in NC
Often a car accident results in one or both drivers being issued a ticket. Although the officer may not have witnessed the accident he or she can speak with any witnesses and observe the damage to assign fault in their accident report. It is also important to understand that any accident report is not conclusive in a court of law and speaking with an attorney before pleading guilty is always advisable to potentially avoid either criminal or civil liability.
Appearing in court for a car accident in NC
Even a mandatory court appearance can usually be avoided by hiring an attorney to appear on your behalf. Accident cases in particular often require multiple court appearances to allow your insurance company to resolve any outstanding claims as a result of the accident. Ideally, once all claims are finally resolved any moving violations can be dismissed upon presentation of a good insurance letter.
Car accident plead not guilty
Paying off any ticket is the same of pleading guilty as charged. This can result in admitting civil liability and therefore should be avoided at all costs until speaking with an experienced attorney or your insurance adjuster to confirm all claims have been settled.
Car accident ticket dismissed insurance
In many counties in North Carolina citations received simply due to an accident can be dismissed with a good insurance letter. This provides incentive for the defendant to work with the insurance company to make sure the other driver is compensated. To learn whether this is an option in your county it would be advisable to reach out to a local attorney for advice.
How long does an insurance company have to settle a claim in NC?
There are no strict deadlines to immedicably settle insurance claims in North Carolina, especially if a lawsuit has been filed. Many times a personal injury victim seeks treatment for three years before they are willing to sign a release of their claim. This can often make resolving a ticket due to an accident difficult as the DA is looking for an insurance letter stating all known claims have been settled. Hiring an attorney to continue the case multiple times can save a defendant countless hours in court as the case drags on and on.
Property damage from car accident in NC
NCGS 20-166(c)(1) allows for a driver to be charged with a misdemeanor for leaving the scene of an accident and not reporting said accident within a reasonable time.
Personal injury from car accident in NC
NCGS 20-166(c)(2) allows for a potential felony charge if a person leaves the scene of an accident resulting in injury.
NC car accident laws
North Carolina is a contributory negligence state meaning if any party Is fault they will not be able to recover in civil court. This can often make personal injury claims difficult to litigate as insurance companies generally raise contributory negligence as an affirmative defense. Perhaps this is part of the reason police are so quick to assign fault and issue a ticket even when they were not witness to the accident. As stated above the criminal citation often prompts insurance companies to accept liability and resolve the claims.
Failure to reduce speed NC
NCGS 20-141(m) states “The fact that the speed of a vehicle is lower than the foregoing limits shall not relieve the operator of a vehicle from the duty to decrease speed as may be necessary to avoid colliding with any person, vehicle or other conveyance on or entering the highway, and to avoid injury to any person or property.” This ticket is most commonly given when one drives runs into the back of another driver.
Reckless driving car accident NC
NCGS 20-140 refers to reckless driving in NC and is written broadly enough to be given at the discretion of the officer. This offense is often given when someone runs off the road into a ditch or flips their car. Some officers mistakenly believe there is an unwritten rule than speeding more than 25 mph over the limit is automatically reckless driving.
Running a Red light accident ticket in NC
NCGS 20-158(b)(2) states “When a traffic signal is emitting a steady red circular light controlling traffic approaching an intersection, an approaching vehicle facing the red light shall come to a stop and shall not enter the intersection. After coming to a complete stop and unless prohibited by an appropriate sign, that approaching vehicle may make a right turn.” Since the removal of red light cameras in Charlotte this ticket is being issued with more frequency in cases with and without accidents.
Failure to stop for a stop sign accident ticket in NC
NCGS 20-158(b)(1) states “When a stop sign has been erected or installed at an intersection, it shall be unlawful for the driver of any vehicle to fail to stop in obedience thereto and yield the right-of-way to vehicles operating on the designated main-traveled or through highway. When stop signs have been erected at three or more entrances to an intersection, the driver, after stopping in obedience thereto, may proceed with caution.”
Failure to yield accident ticket in NC
NCGS 20-155 states “When two vehicles approach or enter an intersection from different highways at approximately the same time, the driver of the vehicle on the left shall yield the right-of-way to the vehicle on the right. The driver of a vehicle intending to turn to the left within an intersection or into an alley, private road, or driveway shall yield the right-of-way to any vehicle approaching from the opposite direction which is within the intersection or so close as to constitute an immediate hazard.”
Following too closely accident ticket in NC
NCGS 20-152(a) states “The driver of a motor vehicle shall not follow another vehicle more closely than is reasonable and prudent, having due regard for the speed of such vehicles and the traffic upon and the condition of the highway.”
Driving left of center accident ticket in NC
NCGS 20-146(a) states “Upon all highways of sufficient width a vehicle shall be driven upon the right half of the highway except as follows: (1) When overtaking and passing another vehicle proceeding in the same direction under the rules governing such movement; (2) When an obstruction exists making it necessary to drive to the left of the center of the highway; provided, any person so doing shall yield the right-of-way to all vehicles traveling in the proper direction upon the unobstructed portion of the highway within such distance as to constitute an immediate hazard; (3) Upon a highway divided into three marked lanes for traffic under the rules applicable thereon; or (4) Upon a highway designated and signposted for one-way traffic.”
Improper Passing in NC
NCGS 20-150 states “(a) The driver of a vehicle shall not drive to the left side of the center of a highway, in overtaking and passing another vehicle proceeding in the same direction, unless such left side is clearly visible and is free of oncoming traffic for a sufficient distance ahead to permit such overtaking and passing to be made in safety.
(b) The driver of a vehicle shall not overtake and pass another vehicle proceeding in the same direction upon the crest of a grade or upon a curve in the highway where the driver's view along the highway is obstructed within a distance of 500 feet.
(c) The driver of a vehicle shall not overtake and pass any other vehicle proceeding in the same direction at any railway grade crossing nor at any intersection of highway unless permitted so to do by a traffic or police officer. For the purposes of this section the words "intersection of highway" shall be defined and limited to intersections designated and marked by the Department of Transportation by appropriate signs, and street intersections in cities and towns.
(d) The driver of a vehicle shall not drive to the left side of the centerline of a highway upon the crest of a grade or upon a curve in the highway where such centerline has been placed upon such highway by the Department of Transportation, and is visible.
Unsafe passing Yellow Line in NC
NCGS 20-150(e) states “The driver of a vehicle shall not overtake and pass another on any portion of the highway which is marked by signs, markers or markings placed by the Department of Transportation stating or clearly indicating that passing should not be attempted. The prohibition in this section shall not apply when the overtaking and passing is done in accordance with all of the following:
(1) The slower moving vehicle to be passed is a bicycle or a moped.
(2) The slower moving vehicle is proceeding in the same direction as the faster moving vehicle.
(3) The driver of the faster moving vehicle either (i) provides a minimum of four feet between the faster moving vehicle and the slower moving vehicle or (ii) completely enters the left lane of the highway.
(4) The operator of the slower moving vehicle is not (i) making a left turn or (ii) signaling in accordance with G.S. 20-154 that he or she intends to make a left turn.
(5) The driver of the faster moving vehicle complies with all other applicable requirements set forth in this section.”
Improper turn accident ticket in NC
NCGS 20-153 (a) and (b) states: Right Turns. - Both the approach for a right turn and a right turn shall be made as close as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway. Left Turns. - The driver of a vehicle intending to turn left at any intersection shall approach the intersection in the extreme left-hand lane lawfully available to traffic moving in the direction of travel of that vehicle, and, after entering the intersection, the left turn shall be made so as to leave the intersection in a lane lawfully available to traffic moving in the direction upon the roadway being entered.”
Unsafe movement accident ticket in NC
This charge is often applied when one car pulled out in front of another contributing to an accident. NCGS 20-154(a) states “The driver of any vehicle upon a highway or public vehicular area before starting, stopping or turning from a direct line shall first see that such movement can be made in safety, and if any pedestrian may be affected by such movement shall give a clearly audible signal by sounding the horn, and whenever the operation of any other vehicle may be affected by such movement, shall give a signal as required in this section, plainly visible to the driver of such other vehicle, of the intention to make such movement. The driver of a vehicle shall not back the same unless such movement can be made with safety and without interfering with other traffic.”
Speeding ticket accident in NC
NCGS 20-141(j1) states “A person who drives a vehicle on a highway at a speed that is either more than 15 miles per hour more than the speed limit established by law for the highway where the offense occurred or over 80 miles per hour is guilty of a Class 3 misdemeanor.”
NCGS 20-141(b) is often just an infraction and states “Except as otherwise provided in this Chapter, it shall be unlawful to operate a vehicle in excess of the following speeds: (1) Thirty-five miles per hour inside municipal corporate limits for all vehicles. (2) Fifty-five miles per hour outside municipal corporate limits for all vehicles except for school buses and school activity buses.
Sometimes an officer decides to issue a speeding ticket as a result of an accident. How is this done without radar or officer observation? Sometimes a defendant admits to speeding after running into another car or running off the road. Sometimes there are witnesses who can testify as to the estimated speed of a vehicle they observed. Sometimes an officer makes a judgment call based on the length of skid marks on the road. In any event, it is imperative to utilize the expertise of an attorney to help you properly defend against the charge of speeding when the officer did not observe the offense.
DWI accident in NC
Any accident as a result of a DWI is a very serious matter that should immediately lead to involvement of a criminal defense attorney. An accident can be a regular or grossly aggravating DWI factor that can lead to increased punishment and even jail time in connection with a DWI conviction.
NC accident with both drivers at fault
If you have been involved in an accident where both drivers were at fault this can make resolving any ticket arising from such accident difficult to resolve because your insurance is unlikely to pay for damages incurred by the other driver. North Carolina is a contributory negligence state meaning if both drivers were at fault then neither has to pay for damages incurred by the other- in essence they each have to pay for just their own damages. This is basically the “clean hands” doctrine- why should you collect if you were partially to blame for the accident. The dilemma arises in getting the DA to dismiss the case without an insurance letter, which can be difficult to impossible. Best practice is to retain an attorney to assist in resolving the matter by perhaps threatening to take to the matter to trial or seeing if a reduction to a non-moving violation such as improper equipment is possible.
License suspended for no insurance after wreck in NC
It is unlawful to operate a vehicle without proper insurance in NC. If you are at fault in an accident and cause damage to another vehicle and you do not have liability coverage then your NC license will be suspended if you do not pay for the damages incurred by the other driver. Many people are unable to obtain a license for years due to being in a wreck without insurance. This rule applies whether you knowingly drive without insurance or there was a lapse in insurance that was not your fault. Sometimes the DMV will let you enter a repayment program to begin payment to get your license back early so if you are revoked due to driving without insurance you may have options.
Single car accident ticket in NC
A single car accident in North Carolina can actually be a difficult case to resolve because the DMV usually wants an insurance letter stating how much the other driver or property owner was compensated. If the accident merely involved running off the road or hitting a tree there is often no damage except to the drivers' car and that is not who the DA is worried about compensating. Hiring a lawyer who can contact the officer or convincing your insurance company to issue a letter stating there are no known claims can sometimes be the only way to make such a ticket go away. If the accident involved hitting a telephone pole or street sign you likely will need to contact the Department of Transportation or local government to make restitution if your insurance company fails to do so on your behalf.
Fighting an accident ticket in court
A defendant has the right to fight any ticket in court. Whether this is a good idea depends on the circumstances. The state of course has to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt and often the other driver has no desire to come to court. That being said, before fighting any ticket in court it is best to speak with a lawyer to explore all your options before you risk making the DA angry by demanding a trial.
North Carolina parking lot accident laws
Many common tickets such as speeding tickets and stop sign violations only apply to roadways and hence parking lot accidents usually do not result in any tickets. Be aware a DWI can be given in a parking lot as DWI’s can be issued in any public vehicular area.
Can you get a ticket days after an accident?
You can get a traffic ticket days or even months after an accident in North Carolina. There is actually a 2 year statute of limitations in NC for most misdemeanor charges. Sometimes a ticket is delayed to allow police time to conduct an investigation or even to locate the driver in a hit and run.