Now and then potential clients tell me they got a ticket for not wearing their seat belt and they wonder if there is anything I can do for them. Unfortunately, I almost always say no. Why? First, by statute, conviction of a seat belt violation does not cause one’s insurance to go up nor does it result in any driver’s license points. N.C.G.S. Section 135-2A(f). That’s what most folks are interested in, so there is nothing that we’d have to “reduce it to” to keep their insurance from going up. Second, I have observed over the course of 30+ years of practicing law that when people plead not guilty to seat belt charges, they are almost always found guilty. In fact, as I sit here writing this, I cannot remember the last time I saw a judge find someone not guilty in a seat belt case. I have seen many people found not guilty of more serious cases, such as DWI, but not seat belt violations.
About the only way I can get a seat belt charge dismissed is if the person is charged with something in addition to the seat belt charge. In such a case, the D.A.’s office will sometimes dismiss the seat belt charge if the client will plead guilty to the other charge.