What to do if You Missed Your Court Date for a Traffic Citation During the Coronavirus Pandemic

Charlotte DWI Lawyer Brad Smith answers the question: “Can I represent myself on a traffic ticket?”


With North Carolina’s court functions frozen by the coronavirus pandemic and Supreme Court Chief Justice Cheri Beasley announcing that local courts would not resume normal functioning for at least “several months,” what happens if you miss your court date for a traffic violation during the COVID-19 pandemic?


beach-closed-Charlotte-Monroe-Mooresville-Criminal-Defense-Lawyer-225x300COVID-19: What Happens to Your Court Date for a Traffic Citation?

Previously, Beasley postponed court proceedings in North Carolina until June 1, 2020. If you missed your court date, your case might have been rescheduled by the clerk’s office in the county where you received the traffic citation.

Visit the North Carolina Judicial Branch’s website to check if your court date has been rescheduled. Select the appropriate county where you received the citation and enter your name. Enter your last name and then your first name with a comma in between, and do not use any spaces (e.g., Thompson,John).

If you cannot find your name, call the clerk in your county and consult with a Charlotte traffic citation attorney. If you missed your court date before the COVID-19 pandemic and need to reinstate your suspended driver’s license, some county prosecutor offices are still working during the pandemic.


Failure to Appear vs. Failure to Comply in North Carolina

When it comes to contesting traffic tickets in North Carolina’s courts, many people often do not understand the difference between “failure to appear” and “failure to comply.” Normally, you fail to appear when you do not show up for court on your scheduled court date. Meanwhile, you fail to comply when you show up for the court date and are found guilty of the offense but do not pay the ticket within 20 days of that court date.


What is Failure to Appear?

In North Carolina, the offender’s failure to appear for a traffic violation is reported to the DMV by the clerk of court in your county. The offender then receives a letter from the DMV in which the department warns them that their license will be revoked if they fail to resolve their case within 60 days.

If you fail to resolve your case within 20 days after missing your court date, you will face a failure to appear order. At this point, you will be required to pay an administrative penalty of $200 in addition to the fine and court costs. When this happens, any subsequent traffic citation – even a minor one – can lead to revocation of your license and a large court fee.


What is Failure to Comply?

You have failed to comply if you did not pay the ticket within 20 days after your court appearance, your “failure to comply” will be reported to the DMV by the clerk. Afterward, the DMV will mail you a letter warning that your license will be revoked if you do not pay the charge within 60 days.

Failure to pay your traffic fine within the specified period will result in a failure to comply charge that comes with a $50 fine and can cause license revocation.

Talk to our criminal defense attorneys to defend yourself against traffic-related charges and/or restore your driver’s license in North Carolina. Contact Arnold & Smith, PLLC, to obtain a case evaluation. Call our lawyers at Arnold & Smith, PLLC, at (704) 370-2828 to evaluate your options or fill out our contact form. Now taking cases throughout North Carolina with offices in Uptown Charlotte, Mooresville and Monroe.







The criminal defense attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC make it their mission to zealously defend their clients on a wide range of criminal matters at both the state and federal levels. These matters may include any charge from traffic offenses; DWI/DUI; drug charges (from simple possession to possession with intent to distribute and trafficking); gun permit denials; weapons offenses; and property crimes (larceny, breaking and entering, robbery, fraud, embezzlement, white collar offenses); to sexually related offenses (indecent exposure; sexual assault, crimes against nature, removal from sex offender registry); and violent crimes (domestic violence; assault; manslaughter; homicide, murder). Other legal issues that Arnold & Smith, PLLC criminal clients may be facing include restraining orders, restraining order and probation violations, expungements; appeals; and immigration issues related to criminal charges. Our criminal defense attorneys are passionate about ensuring that individuals empower themselves by being informed about their constitutional rights, and stand at the ready to fight in the defense of those facing criminal charges.








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