If you’ve ever received a traffic ticket (and maybe if you haven’t) you probably know the term “improper equipment.” When I got my first speeding ticket everyone seemed to know that “improper equipment” was the outcome you wanted, but no one knew how to get it – thankfully, the attorney I hired did! So, what is improper equipment and why should you bother spending time at the courthouse instead of just paying your ticket and going on your way? If you’ve read our previous blog post about traffic tickets, you’ll know the biggest reason – MONEY! Improper equipment is a non-moving violation, which has two major impacts: no points on your license and no insurance increase. That sounds like a great deal because it is! The catch? There are certain factors that will determine if you are eligible for an improper equipment reduction such as your driving record, the county you are in, and what infraction you committed to get ticketed in the first place. For instance, if you received a speeding ticket for going 25 miles per hour or more over the posted speed limit, you would not be eligible for an improper equipment reduction. This is just one of many reasons why you should speak with an experienced traffic lawyer if you receive a traffic ticket. There is also an additional $50 fee if you receive an improper equipment reduction. This means that you may end up paying more than the fine amount listed on your ticket (in Forsyth County you will pay $263). The good news is that $50 up front could save you quite a bit of money in the long run due to an increased insurance premium.

Fun fact: Improper equipment reductions apply to more than just speeding tickets! Depending on your prior driving record we may be able to get you a reduction for tickets such as running a stop sign or stop light, reckless driving, driving left of center, or unsafe movement! You may have also heard someone in traffic court ask for something called a Prayer for Judgment Continued, or “PJC.” One major difference between improper equipment and PJC is that a PJC can only be granted by a judge; in other words, the DA cannot offer you a PJC as part of a plea. Without getting lost in the details, a PJC continues the judgement that would otherwise be handed down by the judge. By continuing the judgement, no drivers’ license or insurance points are issued and it can also prevent the imposition of a fine. Although the outcomes are similar, PJCs are a little trickier than an improper equipment. Aside from needing the judge’s approval, a PJC can only be used once every 3 years for insurance purposes (per policy, NOT per driver) and twice every 5 years for DMV purposes. So, if you and your spouse are on the same insurance policy, only one of you could request a PJC in a three-year period for insurance purposes. If more than one PJC was granted in a three-year period, the insurance company would assess points for both tickets – that is the opposite of what you hope to accomplish!  Also, CDL holders are not eligible for a PJC and neither are drivers who were driving more than 25 miles per hour over the posted speed limit. These tricky and sometimes confusing conditions are exactly why you should contact an attorney before attempting to handle a traffic ticket on your own! 

When used appropriately, either of these options are a great alternative than simply paying your ticket and facing the insurance and DMV consequences. If you’ve received a traffic ticket in Forsyth or a surrounding county, contact us and we can determine if you qualify for an improper equipment reduction or a PJC!

Author Bio

Ronald D. Payne II
Ronald D. Payne II is the CEO and Managing Attorney of Apple Payne Law, a North Carolina law firm he founded in 2018. With more than 11 years of experience practicing law, he is dedicated to representing clients in a wide range of legal matters, including business law, estate planning, family law, probate, and traffic law.

Ronald received his Juris Doctor from the Wake Forest University School of Law and is a member of the North Carolina Bar Association. He has received numerous accolades for his work, including being awarded the 2020 Client’s Choice Award by Avvo and multiple Rising Star awards from Super Lawyers.

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