Individuals and families in North Carolina who are struggling financially can be devastated by traffic tickets. According to research out of Princeton University, traffic fines disproportionately impact low-income people. In one study, not only were low-income areas targeted more by police for traffic violations, but those affected paid stiffer penalties than those in high-income areas. Anonymous data from credit reports showed that the average ticket cost $175, and car insurance rates typically went up by $120.

Traffic tickets have a variety of negative financial impacts for poor people not directly related to the fine itself. Typically, more bills go unpaid and accounts go into delinquency. Traffic ticket research showed that low-income people experienced a 5 percent drop in their real income as a result of tickets. Traffic violations also made it harder for people to take out loans and access credit.

For higher-income individuals, traffic fines are usually little more than a nuisance. For a poor individual, a $300 unexpected cost can result in many difficult financial consequences. Often, these people end up having to use welfare programs to pay for food and housing. This suggests that traffic fines may be counterproductive from a financial standpoint for the government.

Constitutional rights apply to traffic violations the same way they do for more serious offenses. Individuals who receive a traffic ticket may benefit from Charlotte, North Carolina, traffic violations legal defense. A lawyer may evaluate the circumstances of a violation and recommend a legal course of action that’s in their client’s best financial interests. In some cases, a lawyer may be able to get a ticket dismissed or argue on their client’s behalf in traffic court.