If you’ve ever been in a North Carolina court, you may have heard of something called a Prayer for Judgment Continued (PJC). When a PJC is granted by the judge, it is a small act of “mercy” from a conviction and resulting fines, but it is not a release without any possible adverse effects.
What is a Prayer for Judgement?
A PJC can be used by a North Carolina resident to reduce the impacts of a traffic violation. Essentially, when a defendant driver uses a PJC, it means that he or she pleads guilty, with the understanding that the conviction is not considered “final” but is continued until an undetermined time. This can be a “win” situation for the driver; however, there are restrictions and consequences to take into consideration when using a PJC.
When Can You Use a Prayer for Judgement?
A PJC can be used when trying to avoid points being added to your driving record or insurance record and sometimes to keep a “moving violation” plea from revoking your driver’s license. It is typically used when a driver does not have a viable defense but wants to avoid some of the consequences of the charges. However, if you have to pay a fine in addition to court costs the PJC has no effect and is treated as a conviction.
In North Carolina, the DMV can recognize two PJCs within five years without any points being added to your driving record. Although you are not convicted of the crime, it will still appear on your criminal history, and most employers treat a PJC as a conviction.
Insurance companies will allow one PJC every three years per household (all drivers on the same insurance policy) without any increase in premiums.
When Can’t You Use a PJC?
A PJC cannot be used for any charge against a driver with a commercial license or by any driver charged with DWI, passing a stopped school bus, or speeding in excess of 25 mph over the speed limit.
Additionally, if you are granted a third PJC within your five-year time frame, DMV will not consider the PJC and it will be a plea of guilty.
Is a PJC right for you?
Because of the limitations and possible consequences of a PJC, you should consult with an attorney before deciding whether it’s your best action. It may be wise not to use all of your PJCs within the given time frame or to use in a case where no PJC was needed. In most cases, an attorney can negotiate your traffic ticket to a lesser plea even when using a PJC.
Contact us if you would like a free consultation regarding your traffic case.
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