PJC is kind of what it says. It is a prayer for judgement continued. It's an act of judicial mercy, so to speak, where you'll enter a plea of guilty. Upon being granted a PJC, no judgement is entered, judgement is continued so there is no punishment or fines, just court costs. Despite what many people believe, there is really no limit to how many PJCs you can be granted, but the number that are recognized by DMV and insurance is limited.
Why is this important for traffic tickets and DMV driving issues? Why shouldn't I just let the DA reduce my speeding ticket? In certain cases, if you've been ticketed for speeding in the last few years, a PJC may be the only option to stop insurance increases. If you've already reduced a ticket to 9mph over in the last 3 years, and you reduce and pay off another before the 3 years is up, insurance will surcharge you for the remainder of the "experience" period on the previous ticket, as well as the next 3 years on the new ticket. PJC will circumvent this problem.
In some cases, if you've been ticketed for certain offenses in the last year and get a new ticket, DMV could suspend your license. Keep in mind that DMV sanctions against your license are on top of any insurance increases. Many people have no idea that minor speeding in NC can lead to license suspensions ranging from 30 days to 1 year. There are numerous situations where this could happen, such as speeding more than 15mph over, two speeding tickets in a year where the speed zone is 55 or greater, or a combo of speeding and reckless within a year. There are a number of situations you could be facing where PJC is the only appropriate way to save a license suspension, and you may not even know it.
Well great, why don't I just always ask the judge for PJC? It depends. Sometimes you may not have your PJC granted. It is up to the judge, and some are more likely to grant it than others. Some PJC requests (eg. driving while license revoked after DWI) might be objected to by the DA, which doesn't mean it won't be granted, but it could weaken the chances. As mentioned earlier, if you've used a PJC before, it doesn't mean you can't use it again, it just might not be effective. DMV recognizes 2 PJCs every 5 years for license points/suspension purposes. Insurance will not surcharge you for a PJC granted either, but they only recognize 1 PJC per household every 3 years. In other circumstances, such as speeding 26mph over or greater, a PJC can not be used. Driving while impaired cannot qualify for PJC either, however, driving after consuming under age can be granted a PJC.
PJC requests can save you a lot of money and headache when applied in the proper circumstances. Usually your attorney should be able to represent you on traffic issues by waiver, and can request the PJC in your absence. This is particularly useful for out of town clients, but also anyone who would rather no go to court and hang around half the day. If you think you may need a PJC for your charges or have no idea, call an Asheville traffic attorney who understands local customs, and let us discuss your options: