Getting pulled over for speeding is always stressful, but the situation can be even more nerve-wracking when it happens while you're driving in a rental car. Here's what to do if you get a speeding ticket in North Carolina.
How Much Are Speeding Fines in North Carolina?
North Carolina's basic parameters for speed limits are that you should drive 25 mph inside municipal zones, 55 outside those zones, and 70 on interstate highways. In most cases, the fine for a speeding violation in the Tar Heel State ranges from about $10 to $50, depending on how much beyond the speed limit you were driving.
But there's a catch. That fine also comes with court costs, which can add another $150 to $200. And if you're caught speeding in a school or construction zones, get ready for a fine of $250. There also will be the penalty of points to your insurance, which is especially onerous if you're caught speeding in a school zone.
Some parts of North Carolina are more notorious than others in terms of targeting speeders. The three worst towns of the state for speed traps are Hendersonville (outside Asheville), Charlotte and Winston-Salem, according to the National Speed Trap Exchange.
How to Handle a Speeding Ticket in a Rental
Unlike parking tickets and toll violations, which are typically tied to the vehicle, a speeding ticket is generally tied to the driver. If a police officer pulls you over, you'll be able to handle the fine on your own—possibly without the rental company ever finding out. From there, you can pay the fine or fight it. Going to traffic school or taking a defensive driving course online may also be an option for avoiding points on your record.
There is one way the rental company could find out about the issue. Getting caught by a speed camera that takes a photo of the plate would mean that the rental company would be notified of the fine—and pass on to you at a later date with an added fee. If you receive a notice in the mail about a fine triggered by a speed camera, pay it immediately to avoid dealing with collections agencies or you could end up on the Do Not Rent list.
How to Pay a Speeding Ticket in North Carolina
When you are issued a ticket in North Carolina, you'll also be issued a court date. The good news: You might not have to show up in person, and instead can settle up easily online. First, go to Onlineservices.NCcourts.org at least seven days before the court date to request a speeding ticket reduction.
Next, you should get an emailed confirmation of your request and then a notification of whether the district attorney's office has approved or denied it. To qualify for online version, your speed must be below 80 mph and within 10-19 mph of the posted limit.
The easiest way to pay a speeding ticket in North Carolina (especially for out-of-state drivers) is to do it online. Most counties also offer options to pay in person, by phone or by sending a check through the mail. Whether or not you live in North Carolina, you'll have to pay the fine either way. Most states have agreements with one another to report the fines, and sometimes add points on your license.
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