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Archive for May, 2015

The Elusive IE

There is a traffic infraction in North Carolina called Improper Equipment, or IE.  It can pertain to several different parts of your vehicle, including speedometers, but it isn’t charged by police very often.  It is a non-moving violation, which means it will not affect your driver’s license or insurance rates.  Because it is a non-moving violation, it is usually much better to be convicted of an Improper Equipment charge than a Speeding ticket.  Most District Attorney’s offices in North Carolina have policies where they will reduce speeding tickets to improper equipment charges in certain circumstances.  Until recently, Wake County’s District Attorney did not allow charges to be reduced to Improper Equipments.

Last week, Wake County District Attorney Lorrin Freeman announced that her office, in an attempt to make the court’s limited resources operate more efficiently, would start offering Improper Equipment pleas in certain circumstances.  If eligible, it is our opinion that an Improper Equipment is the best possible outcome, short of having a case dismissed.  While there are slightly higher fees associated with an IE, it essentially operates as a “freebie,” there are no insurance points or driver’s license points. It amounts to little more than a parking ticket.  Unless we have a strong indication that a speeding ticket can be dismissed, we will recommend an IE plea on all eligible speeding tickets.

Who is eligible for an Improper Equipment plea?

  • The driver does not have another IE conviction on his or her record in the last three years.
  • The driver does not have more than one other moving violation in three years, and no more than three violations in the last ten years.
  • The original charge is for no more than 20 miles per hour over the speed limit, and the total speed is less than 85 MPH.
  • Work Zone and School Zone tickets are not eligible.

In addition, per the new policy and its goal of making courts more efficient, any plea to Improper Equipment must be done by the third setting, and it must be done in Disposition Court (where the officer is not present).  Because of this, we generally will not get to speak to the charging officer prior to making a decision about pleading to an Improper Equipment.

What does all this mean for your speeding ticket? It is probably great news if you are eligible.  Give us a call and we are happy to discuss it with you.  If you are eligible for an Improper Equipment, we are probably going to recommend you go that route.  If you are not eligible, we will defend you to the best of our abilities and not enter a plea to any charge unless we are reasonably certain you would be convicted, as we currently do for all charges.

Regardless of eligibility, give Mahlum Law Office a call today to help you with your Wake County speeding ticket.