What is a PJC in NC?
A PJC in North Carolina stands for Prayer for Judgment Continued. A "PJC" means a Judge continues judgment so that no finding of guilt is entered into the Court record. Usually the defendant is still responsible for Court costs, which are around $190. Not all States have PJC or something similar as an option, so it will be treated by another State may vary.
Only a Judge may grant a PJC, not the District Attorney. This does not mean that DA in Court has no input as they can either recommend or oppose you obtaining a PJC in Court. In addition, just because you ask the Judge to continue judgment does not mean he or she will do so. The only way to get a PJC is to plead guilty or be found guilty and by that point the judge could deny your PJC request and simply find you guilty.
Be careful you fully understand the consequence of accepting a PJC as it does appear on your criminal record despite what many are led to believe by their attorney. In NC nothing ever just falls of your record after a certain number of years, not even a PJC. Also be aware that in North Carolina your adult criminal record begins at age 16, not age 18 like most other States. I receive many calls asking how to expunge a PJC in NC because they have been denied employment based solely on a PJC. Too many defendants accept a PJC when a full dismissal is possible. Always speak with a criminal attorney before asking for a PJC without understanding the long term consequences.
- You can truthfully say you were never convicted.
- There usually is no fine outside the ~$190 Court costs.
- North Carolina allows one (1) PJC every three (3) years per insurance policy to avoid insurance points. (be aware if you are on the same policy as a spouse or children)
- A PJC is better than a conviction as you may be able to later have the case dismissed and expunged (emphasis on the word "may")
- A PJC appears on your criminal history.
- Only a Judge may grant a PJC.
- If you go to Court, plead guilty, and ask for PJC, the Judge may deny your request and find you guilty. (you are at the mercy of the Judge)
- Most employers treat a PJC like a conviction.
- A PJC may be impossible to expunge.
- You can’t get a PJC for DWI or speeding in excess of 25 mph over the speed limit.
- Cannot be used for traffic violations if you have a commercial drivers license "CDL".
Does a prayer for judgment stay on your record?
Yes- just like any criminal charge it will appear on your record. For expungment purposes it is treated just like a conviction.
Will a PJC raise my insurance?
Although one PJC every 3 years (per policy) is not supposed to result in insurance points that may not be the case. Many insurance companies will consider "incidents" that do not result in points when assessing your risk pool.
Can I get a PJC for DWI?
A Judge may not grant a PJC for DWI in North Carolina pursuant to statute. A Judge may grant a PJC for driving after consuming, which is basically someone charged with drinking and driving under age 21, who did not blow a 0.8 or above and therefore was not legally intoxicated.
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