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Friday, September 19, 2014

Charlotte Traffic Ticket- What if the Police Officer doesn't show up?

My law office receives phone calls daily from people who received a speeding ticket in the Charlotte area. The two main questions asked are "What happens if the Officer doesn't show up in Court, Is my case then dismissed?" and "Do I need to come to court on my traffic ticket?".

I'll address the first question today.

Every traffic ticket citation will include a promise to appear in court. If the ticket is in Mecklenburg County, the first court date is in Courtroom 1130. Courtroom 1130 is an administrative courtroom where the defendant or the defendant's attorney negotiates the traffic ticket with the District Attorney. As such, in this courtroom, the police officer is not subpoenaed to come to court.

If the negotiation is not successful, the case is then set for trial which will be held on the fourth floor of the Courthouse. The date will be within six to eight weeks. The police officer is then subpoenaed to come to court on the trial date. For whatever reason, should the police officer not attend on the trial date or the District Attorney cannot call the case for trial due to a heavy docket, the case will likely be continued to a new date.

Gaston County traffic and speeding tickets are handled differently than Mecklenburg. The first appearance for a traffic ticket in Gaston County is in front of a Magistrate. There is no judge or District Attorney present. The case is continued for a trial date approximately six weeks later where the officer is subpoenaed.

People are often surprised to hear this multi-step procedure for traffic tickets in North Carolina. Many recall the old days of traffic court where police officers would line the court hallways with everyone waiting for their case to be called. If the officer wasn't present, the case was dismissed. Due to many factors, including the large number of traffic ticket cases each day, this "one-step" practice is understandably no longer feasible.  For example, Mecklenburg County Courtroom 1130 is an administrative courtroom that can docket up to 1300 cases a day.

Most traffic tickets in Mecklenburg, Gaston and Union County can be negotiated and resolved by an attorney without the person coming to court.  Before making a trip and spending all day waiting in court, call a traffic attorney in the Charlotte area to see if they can be of assistance.

Charlotte Traffic Ticket Updates Provided by The Law Office of Carilyn Ibsen PLLC (888)543-2427


posted by Carilyn Ibsen at


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