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Can a Non-NC License Holder use a Prayer for Judgement Continued (PJC)?

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One of the things that we get a lot of questions and calls about are from out-of-state drivers who are wondering whether they are eligible to use a PJC (Prayer for Judgement Continued). The answer to this question is a little bit complex, so we need to take a second to back up and revisit the laws surrounding the PJC and where they come from. As we have discussed previously, the PJC is a very old resolution, and many other states do not recognize it. This means that using a PJC could have negative consequences for an out-of-state driver.

For example, a driver - say they are licensed in the state of Maryland - is coming through North Carolina on their way down to Florida and they get a ticket for speeding 15 mph over the limit. Could this person use a PJC? Yes - they could in fact retain an attorney and have that attorney seek a PJC on their behalf. If the judge approved of this relief, a PJC would be entered in that case. Now with that said, a problem arises in the way that driver's conviction for a PJC may be sent back to their home state - the place where they are currently licensed. Once that conviction gets back to Maryland and it says PJC on the outside of it, we don’t know whether Maryland is going to accept that, or whether they’re going to see that - as we’ve talked about previously - as a plea of “guilty” to the underlying violation. There are fifty states out there and our office is unaware of any other state that accepts the PJC in the exact same way that North Carolina does. That means there is a very good possibility that even though someone could use a PJC as an out-of-state driver, that PJC likely would not translate back to thier home state in a way that would be beneficial. In some instances, it could even translate back to the home state in a way that appears as a guilty verdict on the underlying traffic charge, potentially causing a revocation or suspension of the person's out-of-state drivers license.

With this in mind, we do not advise clients who are our out-of-state license holders to seek or use a PJC in any circumstance unless there is absolutely no other option available for them. As discussed, we are unaware of any other state that would recognize the PJC in a beneficial manner. To recap, PJCs have a number of limitations and because of that we have to be careful on how we use them.