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Traffic Law Contact

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The Curtis Sluder Law Firm has been  practicing Traffic, Criminal, and expunction law in Western North Carolina since 1998.  If you have received a traffic citation recently or have been charged with a criminal law matter, we would like to help you.  Our experienced traffic lawyers would like to help protect your license, defend you in court, and save you time, money, and stress.

I grew up in this area, and have built the largest criminal and traffic practice in Western North Carolina. My Associates Vijay Nathan and Eric Johnson served as an Assistant District Attorney and an Assistant Public Defender respectively prior to joining my office. Together, we have represented drivers from all 50 states and several foreign countries.

Since I started my law practice in 1998, Tens of thousnds of motorists have used my services; I have saved drivers literally millions of insurance dollars, year after year. On a regular basis, Judges, prosecutors, and other attorneys ask me and my partners questions about traffic law. I have presented continuing education classes to other attorneys on the subject of traffic law and saving license points and insurance costs. Having gained extensive experience and knowledge of traffic law, CDL issues, driver license issues, I hope you will let me put my experience, knowledge, and dedication to work for you.

WHY YOU SHOULD NOT PAY YOUR TICKET

On the back of your citation, there may be instructions for how to pay your ticket online or through the mail. DONT PAY IT until you read further.

Paying the ticket means you are pleading guilty (or responsible) to the charge, as the ticket is written.  Your conviction is then electronically submitted to the North Carolina DMV.  The NC DMV enters the conviction on your driving record (Out of state drivers, see below) and that entry is used by your insurance provider at each renewal period to assess your rate. 

If your ticket does not have a total amount and instructions for paying the ticket, that means your ticket is not “Payable”. You will need to appear in court or hire our lawyers to appear on your behalf.  This also is a good indication that your speed was great enough to cause your license to be suspended.  Speeding over 55 and more than 15 over the limit can result in license revocation. That could be as little as a ticket for 56 in a 40 zone. 71 in a 55 zone, or under a different law, 80-65 zone. Pleading guilty as charged to any of those speeds could cause a suspension in NC, even with a perfect driving record. 

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LICENSE POINTS AND REVOCATION: NC law can be very harsh when it comes to otherwise minor traffic matters. There are over 70 ways to lose your privilege to drive in this state. Please do not assume that your minor ticket will not have serious consequences. If you are an out of state driver, please be aware that NC is a member of both the Driver License Compact (DLC) and the Non-Resident Violators Compact (NRVC). These are agreements among the states to report traffic violations and suspensions to each other. NC Convictions follow drivers home.

POINTS: Insurance points or license points?

There are two separate points systems in North Carolina- Driver license points and insurance points. A non-commercial NC driver can accumulate as many as 12 license points in a 3 year period without being revoked for the first time.  Speeding over 55 carries 3 DL points.  Speeding under 55 carries 2 DL points.  Other common charges and the associated drivers license points are set out below. 

Other States have a similar points system, some allowing the accumulation of a certain number of points, or a reverse system where you are given a number of points, and they are then deducted for each violation.  

There are ways to get points off ones record, and we routinely do this for our clients in danger of losing their license. 

Insurance points are assessed based on a similar, but distinct points system. The number of insurance points one has determines how much your insurance company is allowed to raise your rates. This system is known as the

SAFE DRIVER INCENTIVE PLAN(SDIP)

The number of insurance points determines the percentage your insurance can increase.  For example, the average annual insurance rate in the US is $1,592 per year, according to NerdWallet’s 2021 rate analysis

One insurance point can raise your rate 30%. 30% of $1592 is $477.60.  And this increase continues for 3 years, for a total increase of $1432.80.  

2 points –   increase up to 45%

3 points – increase up to 60%

4 points – increase up to 80%.  

An example of a 1 point violation is

  • Speeding 10 mph or less over a speed limit under 55 mph.             

An example is 59 in a 50 zone (Less than 10 over, in a speed zone less than 55)

An example of a 2 point violation is

  • Speeding more than 10 mph over the speed limit at a total speed of more than 55 mph and less than 76 mph.

Example: 56 in a 45 zone. 66 in a 55 zone.  75 in a 60 zone.

  • Speeding 10 mph or less over the speed limit in a speed zone of 55 mph or higher.

Example: 56 to 64 mph in a 55 mph zone.  (Less than 10 over, but still in a 55 or higher zone. )  

Using the same average insurance rate from above, 45% of $1592 is $716.  multiplied by three years, your rate increases $2148 from one minor ticket.  

Higher speeds can result in even greater increases.  For example, 4 insurance points are assessed for

  • Speeding in excess of 75 mph when the speed limit is less than 70 mph.

Example- 76 or more in a 65 zone.  71 or more in a 60 zone.  66 or more in a 55 zone.

  • Speeding in excess of 80 mph when the speed limit is 70 mph or higher.

Example- 81 or more in a 70 zone

4 insurance points results in an increase of 80%.  80% of $1592 is $1273.60.  Each year for three years- $3820.80 increase total. 

Examples of common charges and their corresponding point and rate increase are set out below.

1 point- 30% rate increase

  • All other moving violations.
  • Speeding 10 mph or less over a speed limit under 55 mph.
  • At-fault accident resulting in bodily injury (to all persons) of $1,800 or less; OR resulting in property damage (including damage to insured’s own property) of $1,850 or less. Accidents that occur on or after October 1, 2017, resulting in total property damage (including the insured’s own) of $2,300 or less.
  • No Insurance Points will apply for bodily injury if medical costs were incurred solely for diagnostic purposes.

2 points- 45% rate increase

  • Illegal passing.
  • Following too closely.
  • Driving on wrong side of the road.
  • At-fault accidents that occur on or after March 1, 2016 and prior to October 1, 2017, resulting in total property damage (including damage to insured’s own property) over $1,850 but under $3,085. Accidents that occur on or after October 1, 2017, resulting in total property damage (including damage to insured’s own property) over $2,300 but less than $3,850.
  • Speeding more than 10 mph over the speed limit at a total speed of more than 55 mph and less than 76 mph.
  • Speeding 10 mph or less over the speed limit in a speed zone of 55 mph or higher.

3 points- 60% rate increase

  • At-fault accident resulting in death or total bodily injury (to all persons) of more than $1,800; OR resulting in total property damage (including damage to insured’s own property) of $3,085 or more. Accidents that occur on or after October 1, 2017, that result in total damage to all property, (including the insured’s own), of $3,850 or more.
  • No Insurance Points will apply for bodily injury if the medical costs were incurred solely for diagnostic purposes

4 points- 80% rate increase

  • Reckless driving.
  • Hit-and-run resulting in property damage only.
  • Passing a stopped school bus.
  • Speeding in excess of 75 mph when the speed limit is less than 70 mph.
  • Speeding in excess of 80 mph when the speed limit is 70 mph or higher.
  • Driving by a person less than age 21 after consuming alcohol or drugs.

8 points- 195% rate increase

  • Driving during revocation or suspension of license or registration.
  • Aggressive driving.

10 points- 260% rate increase

  • Highway racing or knowingly lending a motor vehicle for highway racing.
  • Speeding to elude arrest.

12 points-  340% rate increase

  • Manslaughter or negligent homicide.
  • Prearranged highway racing or knowingly lending a motor vehicle for prearranged highway racing.
  • Hit-and-run resulting in bodily injury or death.
  • Driving with a blood-alcohol level of .08 or more.
  • Driving commercial vehicle with a blood-alcohol level of .04 or more.
  • Driving while impaired.
  • Transporting illegal intoxicating liquor for sale.