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What Is a Prayer for Judgment in North Carolina?

Each state sets its own laws for civil and criminal offenses. These laws may vary greatly from one state to the next. Some states, including North Carolina, have laws that are completely unique. This applies to the prayer for judgment continued, which can apply to both traffic and minor criminal offenses. What is a prayer for judgment continued, and when should you use it? Continue reading to learn more and if you have any questions, reach out to an experienced Raleigh traffic ticket lawyer.

A Prayer for Judgement Continued (PJC)

A prayer for judgment continued, or PJC, is essentially a free pass from a judge. Think of it as North Carolina’s “get out of jail free card,” though it’s for non-jailable offenses. Under a PJC, a judge can find a person guilty of a violation without entering any judgment for a criminal or traffic offense.

In other words, a person may be guilty of a traffic offense, but will not receive any points on his or her license, nor will the courts assess a fine for the citation. You will, however, be responsible for court costs, which generally total around $190. An individual can use a PJC once every three years to offset insurance points and two PJCs every five years to avoid DMV points. In certain situations, you can use a PJC to avoid the consequences of a traffic offense, aside from the court costs.

Who Can Use a PJC?

Not everyone can use a PJC under North Carolina law. For example, you cannot use a PJC if you’re going in excess of 25 mph over the speed limit. It also does not apply to serious traffic offenses like driving while intoxicated (DWI). Those with a commercial driver’s license cannot invoke a PJC, even for minor offenses.

People most commonly use PJCs for traffic offenses like speeding, running a red light, or anything else outlined in Chapter 20 of North Carolina’s motor vehicle violations. Only the courts can offer a PJC to a motorist, not a district attorney.

When Should I Use a PJC?

Many people believe that they should invoke the PJC whenever they have the opportunity to offset insurance premium hikes. However, this is not necessarily the case. Keep in mind that for insurance purposes, you’re only allowed one PJC per household every three years. Obtaining a PJC for a minor offense may limit the options of the other members of your household.

North Carolina offers another remedy to those with a clean driving record to plead guilty to driving 9 mph or less over the posted speed limit. In this case, you can receive another free pass and avoid insurance points. If this situation applies to you, it would not be wise to invoke the PJC.

Misconceptions About the PJC

Understanding the PJC can be confusing, even to those who have used it before. Many North Carolinians are still under the impression that if they use a PJC, it will “come back” in a few years’ time. This is true, but it applies to an entire household – not one person.

Many also fail to realize that insurance PJCs and DMV PJCs are separate. You may only have two PJCs every 5 years to avoid points on your license. In other words, using two PJCs may not impact your license points with the DMV, but it would negatively impact your insurance policy.

To sum up, motorists should not use the PJC as an excuse to drive poorly or not observe the rules of the road. PJCs help insulate responsible drivers who make mistakes from the judgment of the insurance company or the DMV. Continue to drive with caution and know when invoking a PJC makes sense for your household, both for insurance purposes and to avoid points on your license.