With a prayer for judgment continued (or “PJC”), you plead guilty to a charge, but the judge never enters an official judgment — at your request ( or “prayer,” in legalese) entry of the judgment is postponed (or “continued”) indefinitely.
For insurance purposes, each household (not just each person) may have one (1) PJC every three years. So, if you plead guilty to a charge that would result in insurance points, but the judge gives you a PJC, your insurance rates will not go up, as long as your household has not had any other PJCs in the past three years.
PJC’s also are useful if a driver is facing a license suspension. For drivers license purposes, each driver is allowed two (2) PJCs every five years. Here is an example of how a PJC could save a person’s license:
North Carolina DMV may suspend the licenses of drivers who get two convictions of speeding over 55 mph within a 12-month period. So, if you plead guilty to driving 64 in a 55 mph zone in March, and then the following February, you plead guilty to driving 68 in a 55, DMV will suspend your license. But, if the judge gives you a PJC on that second charge, your license will not be suspended.
Are you Entitled to a PJC?
No. Just because you have not “used up” your PJCs does not mean that you are entitled to one. Whether a driver will be given a PJC is within the judge’s discretion. A driver (and their lawyer) may have to persuade the judge to give the driver a PJC — so it helps to be polite to the officer.
A Common Misperception about PJCs
Many people believe that if they get a PJC, and then get another ticket a year or so later, the insurance points for that former PJC case will kick in. That’s not how it works. What you can not do is use another PJC on the second case. If you do that, the two PJCs within a three-year period will cancel each other out, and you’ll get the points for both cases. However, if you plead guilty to the second ticket without using a PJC, you will only get the insurance points, if any, that go with the second charge.
Note: This information is for general purposes only. It is not meant to apply to a specific case. Also, this information is based on North Carolina law. If you are licensed in another state, I suggest that you verify how a plea to a traffic case in North Carolina will affect your license where you live.
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