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The 5 Most Common Traffic Violations and Penalties in NC

Most people think of traffic violations as more of a hassle than anything - the delay from getting pulled over then paying the ticket is an inconvenience. However, there are often long-term consequences that can impact you and your family. Our traffic ticket attorney in Raleigh is looking at 5 common traffic violations and the penalties that come with them. 


Nearly 300,000 speeding tickets were issued in North Carolina in 2019, making it the most common traffic violation. The cost of the ticket, not including court costs that start at around $190 are: 

  • Driving 1 to 5 miles per hour (mph) over the posted limit: $10
  • Driving 6 to 10 mph over: $15
  • Driving 11 to 15 mph over: $30
  • Driving 16 mph or more over the posted speed limit: $50
  • Speeding any amount in a school or work zone: $250

In addition to the cost of the ticket, you will also have points on your license that will stay on your license for three years. Speeding 10 miles per hour when the speed limit is 55 miles per hour or speeding in a work or school zone will add three points to your license, while any other speeding ticket will add two points. 

Speeding 15 miles per hour over the limit if you are driving over 55 mph can also result in a suspended driver’s license. 

Running a Stop Sign or Red Light

Whether you run a red light or stop sign completely, fail to come to a complete stop, or turn right at a red light without realizing it’s prohibited, are all treated the same. The ticket is generally around $100, not including court costs, and three points will be placed on your driver’s license. 

Reckless Driving

Reckless driving in North Carolina is actually very vague. The General Statute defines it as “Any person who drives any vehicle upon a highway or any public area carelessly and heedlessly in willful or wanton disregard of the rights or safety of others shall be guilty of reckless driving.” A law enforcement officer can observe an action and determine it is reckless driving based whether they think it is endangering others or they aren’t taking proper precaution to avoid causing a collision. This can include: 

  • Aggressive driving
  • Tailgating
  • Illegal passing
  • Failing to yield right of way

Unlike most moving violations, reckless driving is a Class 2 misdemeanor, punishable by up to 30 days in jail and a $1,000 fine if it’s the first offense with harsher penalties on a second offense. Convictions of reckless driving also add four points to your driver’s license and often include a suspended driver’s license.

Failing to Have Insurance

All North Carolina drivers are required to have the state minimum automobile insurance. Typically referred to as “liability coverage,” this type of insurance covers the cost of injury and property damage to another driver and vehicle if you cause a collision. If you are charged with driving without the state minimum insurance coverage, at minimum, you are facing the following: 

  • $50 fine and $50 license reinstatement
  • Vehicle registration suspended for 30 days
  • Up to 45 days probation

Subsequent penalties are more serious, with higher fines and up to 45 days in jail. 

Driving with a Suspended License

In North Carolina, your driving privileges may be revoked for a wide variety of reasons: 

  • Accruing 12 points in three years on your driver’s license
  • Failing to pay court ordered child support
  • Failing to appear in court
  • Driving without insurance
  • Failing to pay a traffic ticket
  • DWI convictions

In some cases, drivers may not even be aware their license is suspended. However, if you are pulled over and are charged with driving with a revoked license, you are facing a Class 3 misdemeanor which is punishable by up to 20 days in jail and a fine of $200. 

Long Term Consequences of a Traffic Violation

In addition to the penalties we’ve outlined above, a traffic violation can have long-term personal consequences. Specifically, you may face a serious increase in your car insurance premiums - reckless driving alone can increase your premiums by up to 90 percent. In a worse-case scenario, you may be dropped by your insurance provider and find it nearly impossible to be approved for a new policy.  

Speak with a Traffic Ticket Lawyer in Raleigh Today

If you’re facing a traffic violation, The Law Offices of J.M. Kotzker, P.C. can help reduce or eliminate the ticket and penalties or get your license reinstated. When you need a traffic violation attorney in Wake County, Johnston County, or Cumberland County, call us at (919) 439-5104 or fill out the form below to get started.