Shortly, I will explain what can be done to "undo" a carelessly resolved traffic ticket issue. But first, I'll write about what commonly goes on in traffic court leading to the need for a good traffic attorney to help with this. 

    A common problem with many traffic ticket cases is that the driver charged will just head up to the courthouse on court day and allow the district attorney to negotiate their ticket. Usually this is done by way of speed reduction for speeding tickets. Other types of traffic tickets may be reduced to a different charge or lowered to a lower fine, or whatever seems best at the moment.

   The first problem with negotiating with the DA yourself is that they do not represent you, they represent the state of NC. They can't advise you on what to do, or what is the best course of action for your charges. I painfully watch this awkward exchange go on in traffic court each month as defendants try to inquire with the DA about their options and what is best. Secondly, assistant DA's do not spend a lot of time studying and dealing with DMV issues that arise with licenses. It just isn't what they do. I've had assistant DA's offer negotiations to me that would've been more detrimental to the client's license and insurance than the ticket I was holding in my hand. It's not that they intend this additional harm, it's that they just don't get paid to care. For example, sometimes the negotiated charge with the lowest fine is not the best outcome. You save $50 or $100 on a fine and could end up paying multiples more in insurance premiums over time, or maybe even lose your license!

   Here is another scenario that occasionally comes up. Sometimes lawyers try to cover more areas of law than is humanly possible. Regardless of how high your IQ is, there are only so many areas you can competently cover in the practice of law nowadays. Think about it: you do not visit an eye Doctor when your stomach hurts. You should likewise seek counsel for traffic issues from attorneys who do a lot of tickets. There are a number of areas of law that I refer away to other attorneys, even within the criminal realm. It's just not possible to competently cover all areas. I've had to remedy situations for clients when they've relied on an attorney who meant well in helping them with their ticket, but who really didn't know the ramifications of the action they were taking in resolving it. An experienced traffic lawyer will interview you about your driving past, review your driving record to check for issues there, and ultimately spend more time planning an approach to solve your problem as opposed to just running by in traffic court and getting a PJC or a reduction. 

   With all this in mind, what happens now that the ticket is paid, resolved, and costing you and your license? There is a method of reopening the ticket for hearing, and then resolving it in the proper  manner. This method is referred to as a "Motion for Appropriate Relief", or MAR. An MAR is usually consented to by an assistant DA, and the motion will be heard by a judge. Once the judge consents to, and signs the motion, It can then be filed with the Clerk of Court. At this point, DMV will be notified by the Clerk's office that this case has been reopened for hearing. This effectively backs out any negative impact that has previously occurred from paying out the ticket.

   For example, say your license is revoked for whatever reason, and you get a speeding ticket while your license is revoked.  If you pay the speeding ticket you just received in order to square everything up and get your license back, regardless of how you negotiate it, that ticket will trigger an extra year of license revocation from DMV for a moving violation while revoked. An effective MAR would allow this new year of revocation to be backed out, and would re-calendar the speeding ticket. At this point you would do whatever is necessary to get the revoked license fixed, then you would resolve the newer speeding ticket. 

   I spend a great deal of time on the phone with DMV on behalf of my clients, and traveling from one district to the next to fix their traffic ticket related issues. It really helps to make sure you've retained an attorney who dedicates a great deal of time to traffic and speeding related matters. Even though these well intended mistakes can usually be resolved, it's much cheaper to fix correctly the first time.  If you've attempted to negotiate a ticket on your own, or through counsel, and the outcome was not good, call an Asheville traffic lawyer to find out what options you have. 


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