Every day we learn of a new misconceptions that surrounds the Prayer for Judgement Continued (PJC) in North Carolina. One specific misconception is that many folks believe that once you get a PJC, you cannot get another ticket in the next three-year period or else that PJC will come back to haunt you in some way.
To be straightforward - back in the olden days, when a PJC was rendered, the court would keep track of that PJC. If you received another offense in the next few years, the court may reassess whether they should reopen the case and bring that original charge back to bear against the defendant. Nowadays, that is no longer really the case, because there are so many citations in NC issued every year. Over a million citations, in fact. With so many PJC's, if the court had this burden on them that they had to go back and reassess every single case where a PJC was entered, every single time somebody got a new citation, that would just be an unbearable burden for the court.
So the court now basically looks at a PJC as a final resolution in traffic matters. Once that Prayer for Judgement Continued is entered, it is a final resolution. It is in such a small set of circumstances (such as vehicular homicide) that the court may go back and reassess a prior conviction for PJC, that we don’t even really consider it as an option in today’s day and age.
The idea that the PJC is something that should be avoided because of the fact that it could be reopened or that the PJC could become null and the original charge could come back to get you; that is a misconception that is often overblown.
As we discussed in prior posts, obviously there are limitations to the PJC that one needs to be aware of, and that our attorneys need to think about when we are deciding whether to use a PJC. But this misconception that a new charge will come back and bring the PJC into a non-effective state (or bring the original charge back to get you), this is not correct. It’s something that we don't want you to worry about. The PJC is a final resolution and it's a good outcome when our attorneys determine that it is the appropriate way to proceed.