The District Attorney’s Office prosecutes more than 50,000 traffic cases every year in New Hanover and Pender Counties. To assist community members and ease the burden that the high volume of traffic cases puts on the local court system, the DA’s Office offers options that allow members of the public to address their traffic tickets prior to the scheduled court date. Please note that the District Attorney's Office cannot explain your charges, insurance or driving license points, or give you any legal advice as to your charges. You must consult a private attorney for legal advice.
IMPORTANT: Please read this press release for information about Traffic Court procedures during COVID-19.
If you would like to know if your traffic fines* have been forgiven as part of the recent Driver’s License Restoration Project (see the attached WECT article from December 8, 2020), please search the attached files for your name and case number: click here for New Hanover and click here for Pender. Presently, the clerks of court are updating the court records to enter the relief in each case; we will update our website once all of the cases have been entered.
*Please note that the motion only applies to fees that were assessed in 2018 or earlier, and does not apply to serious offenses like DUIs, drag racing, or excessive speeding. The order does not affect pending charges, cases in which the defendant failed to appear, or outstanding fines in other counties.
The DA’s Office is unable to reschedule court dates or negotiate pleas over the telephone, so if you have received a traffic citation, please come to court or utilize one of the options described below before your court date:
1. Come to court
Your traffic citation should list a court date (traffic court is held each Friday in New Hanover and the first Wednesday of each month in Pender). If you’d like to come to court to resolve a traffic citation or contest the citation, you should appear at the courthouse in the county where you received a citation on your scheduled court date. If you’d like to address your traffic citation prior to your court date, you may utilize one of the other options provided below.
2. Hire an attorney
You may wish to hire an attorney. The DA’s Office cannot provide legal advice or advise you as to whether you should hire an attorney.
3. Have your case moved up to an earlier date
If you would like to come to court before the date listed on your citation, you need to appear in person at the Criminal Clerk's Office on the first floor between 8:00am and 8:30am and ask for your case to be "sent up" to the courtroom on that day. Please note that the Clerk will not send up any cases after 8:30am. Also note that you will likely have a longer wait in court if you send up your case rather than come on your assigned court date.
4. Pay online
Some traffic citation fines issued in North Carolina and related costs can be paid online with a credit card using the payNCticket system. If you plan to not contest this citation and want to pay your fine and related costs online, visit www.payNCticket.org. If you or your attorney have negotiated a reduced charge, you should not use payNCticket. Before proceeding to pay your citation fine and costs, please carefully read the "Notice to Defendant" on your citation. It contains important information about your obligations and options.
5. Electronic Compliance and Dismissal
Through the online Electronic Compliance and Dismissal (ECAD) system, you can request the dismissal of traffic violations pertaining to your driver’s license, registration and inspection if you have obtained compliance with the N.C. Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV). This system, which is linked to the DMV database, allows you to electronically submit a request for a dismissal to the District Attorney’s Office. Requests for a dismissal through ECAD must be made prior to seven business days from your scheduled court date. Whether a request is approved or denied, ECAD will notify you by email if you need to appear in court on the assigned date. There is no cost associated with requesting dismissal of a case via ECAD. Some exclusions apply. For more information and to access ECAD, visit the North Carolina court system’s online services.
Defensive Driving School
The Defensive Driving School is a driving school that traffic offenders can attend if they were charged with going less than fifteen miles over the speed limit and have not attended the school within the last three years. These are the only two driving schools that are recognized by New Hanover and Pender County traffic courts:
Cape Fear Community College Defensive Driving Courses (drivers over 25)
910-362-7175 or 910-362-7219
StreetSafe (drivers under 25)
Please watch these helpful videos that explain the traffic court procedures for each county.