Traffic Matters: The PJC

A Prayer for Judgment Continued, or PJC, is one device that North Carolina attorneys might try to use to help their clients in traffic court. However, there seems to be a lot of confusion among people as to what a PJC is and is not. Determining when to use a PJC is complex, and obtaining a PJC is at the discretion of the judge—a PJC is not guaranteed.

In short, a PJC is:

When a person requests a Prayer for Judgment Continued, this means the person has pled guilty, but requests that the judgment is indefinitely postponed. A person receiving a PJC will not be assessed points or fines, but court costs will still apply.

Sounds easy, right?

Well one of several reasons PJCs are misunderstood and complicated is that there are two points systems to consider when there is a traffic violation. These are DMV driver license points, which affect your driving privileges, and insurance points, which affect insurance premiums.

  • A person can have two PJCs every five years for DMV purposes to preserve a license. Upon the third PJC in the five year period, the PJC will be treated as a conviction and points will be assessed. However, for driver license purposes, you don’t lose your previous two PJCs.
  • One PJC is available every three years per household (meaning per insurance policy, not per individual) for insurance premium purposes. However, if one person on the policy receives a PJC for a traffic violation, and then another person on the same policy would like to use a PJC, the use of that PJC might provide little value for insurance purposes.

Another complicating factor is that since that the PJC is unique to North Carolina. Using a PJC can have uncertain or unintended results for out of state drivers.

Additionally, a PJC cannot be used in certain instances such as: Drivers who are charged with speeding in excess of 25 miles per hour over the posted speed limit, drivers charged with passing a stopped school bus, CDL drivers, and for DWIs.

The PJC is a tool that can be used to provide relief from the consequences of a traffic violation. A driver’s unique situation ultimately determines when a PJC can or should be used. You should consult a local traffic lawyer that practices in the North Carolina county where you received your citation.

Carla Gray is a North Carolina lawyer and sole practitioner of her law firm, located in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. She practices traffic law in Orange and Chatham counties. Please remember the disclaimer below, which states that this blog is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice.