If you received a letter from the NC DMV stating your license is scheduled to be suspended soon because of unpaid traffic court costs, take the following steps to prevent the driver’s license suspension.
After getting information about the unpaid traffic ticket from the DMV letter, you can prevent the suspension of your driver’s license by either paying the debt or successfully asking the court to eliminate, waive, or reduce the traffic debt. If you do not resolve the unpaid traffic ticket within 60 days, the Division of Motor Vehicles will automatically suspend your driving privilege.
If you CAN afford to fully pay the amount owed, follow these steps to resolve the debt:
- Contact the clerk of court’s office in the applicable county to determine the payment process.
- Pay the court the full amount owed.
- You can pay off certain tickets online at: https://www3.nccourts.org/onlinepayments/menu.sp. Online payment can be made with debit/ credit card; or
- You can pay in person at the courthouse. In person payment can usually be made with cash, debit/credit card, money order, certified check, or cashier’s check, but make sure to confirm with the clerk’s office before going to pay.
The court will notify the DMV once you have paid the full amount owed. If you pay before the 60-day period has elapsed, the DMV will not suspend your driver’s license.
If you ARE NOT able to pay the traffic ticket(s), North Carolina law allows you to return to court and ask the court to
- eliminate the entire debt; or
- reduce the debt amount to an amount you can afford; or
- change the traffic debt into a civil judgment; or
- allow you to enter a payment plan; or
- allow you to do community service in place of the debt.
A judge can take your request into consideration and decide to provide one of the above types of debt relief. It is up to the judge whether to do so.
If the court eliminates the entire debt, the court will notify the DMV that the unpaid traffic court costs, fines, and fees have been resolved. If the debt is eliminated before the 60-day period has elapse, the DMV will not suspend your driver’s license.
To ask the court for one of these options, take the following steps:
- Complete Form AOC-CR-415, Request For Relief from Fines, Fees And Other Monetary Obligations, And Order on Request, to ask the court for relief from the unpaid traffic ticket amount. It is a best practice to fill out three copies of the form. One copy for the court, one copy for the District Attorney’s office, and one copy for your record. Use this toolkit to obtain detailed instructions to help you fill out the form or use the court “guide and file” software to create your petition online (coming soon). Here is a sample of a completed form requesting traffic debt relief.
- Take the three copies to the form to the district attorney’s office and get a signature from the appropriate person who works in the office for each copy. Leave one copy of the form with the appropriate person in the district attorney’s office.
- File one copy of the Motion, the original, with the clerk of the court where the unpaid court debt is owed. The process for filing the motion with the clerk’s office varies from county to county. Contact the traffic and criminal clerk of court to find out the process for filing the motion. Keep one file-stamped copy of the motion for your records.
- Add Case Back on to Court Calendar for a hearing. The process for adding cases back onto the traffic court calendar varies from county to county. Contact the traffic and criminal clerk of court to find out the process to get your specific case put on the court calendar for a hearing so you can resolve the case.
- Attend Court Hearing. Court hearings vary from county to county. Contact the traffic and criminal clerk of court to find out information about the hearing.
- Await the Court’s ruling.
- Repeat the process for each unpaid traffic ticket to prevent the suspension of your driving privilege.
There is no guarantee the court will grant your motion to give you what you ask for. If the court grants your motion, wait until 3 business days after the hearing and contact the NC DMV at (919) 715-7000 to make sure the NC DMV’s records have been updated.