Following Too Closely: Tailgating in North Carolina
Tailgating is one of those tickets that sounds so minor. . .until you get your insurance bill. Unfortunately, it also the type of offense where things can turn deadly in a millisecond – Bill Powers
Consequences of Tailgating in North Carolina
While tailgating may seem like a pretty minor deal, compared to a serious charge like DUI DWI or hit and run, a conviction for violating the law can still result in a painful insurance increase.
In addition to fines and higher insurance premiums, tailgating also carries with it at least the potential for a license suspension, if you have a prior history of convictions in North Carolina traffic citations.
Obviously the factual background of the particular case can make a difference, as tailgating without more, is a normally just moving violation.
- Following Too Closely with a wreck and serious injuries is serious stuff
- Tailgating that escalates to Road Rage and a Fatality may result in a Criminal Indictment for felonies such as:
- Felony Assault
- And even Second Degree Murder.
Reckless Driving: Traffic Violation AND Misdemeanor
Yes, that tailgating ticket might also carry with it another, related charge, such as Reckless Driving.
If that’s the case, then it can be both a Traffic Ticket and a Misdemeanor Criminal Charge.
That’s why talking to a lawyer makes sense.
Clearly, there are a LOT of different possibilities.
If you need help with a Traffic Ticket or just want some answers to questions regarding the difference between Insurance and DMV Points, we’re here to help.
If on the other hand you’re facing a Criminal Charge or Charges, we provide a confidential consultation free of charge.
We’re more than willing to talk to you, answer questions, determine the severity of your matter, discuss the possible best-case and worst-case scenarios, hoping to help you decide what makes sense for you.
That’s why our number is:
In some cases, tailgating can even result in a reckless driving charge.
As a Class 2 misdemeanor, a reckless driving conviction from tailgating could potentially cause your license to be revoked or even lead to incarceration. Obviously that normally would require a prior history of convictions.
Take note: Criminal History Points are assigned for Misdemeanors in North Carolina. Judges, Prosecutors, and Lawyers normally refer to them as “Prior Record Level Points” and are calculated as set forth by the North Carolina General Assembly.
They are different for Misdemeanor and Felony Criminal Charges in North Carolina.
Those Prior Record Level Points establish the Offense Level and therefore set forth the Maximum and Minimum terms for Criminal Convictions.
If another driver is injured or killed because you tailgated, the penalties might become even greater.
What started as perhaps an inpatient or frustrated driver can easily escalate into a lethal road-rage incident.
Even with completely innocent intentions, attorneys experienced handling complicated (and potentially life-changing) criminal cases in North Carolina understand why Law Enforcement, Prosecutors, Judges, and Juries take Tailgating charges serious.
Following Too Closely in North Carolina: DMV and Insurance
As stated, following another vehicle too closely can be inherently dangerous.
You may recall from Drivers’ Ed things called Reaction Time and Stopping Distances. Tailgating decreases the amount of time you have to slow down or stop, which is-and-of-itself related to a higher probability on an accident.
Even with good reaction times and responses, reducing the spacing between vehicles also limits and can exceed the ability of the braking system on your car.
It’s a matter of simple physics. You need to have time to see traffic patterns and the distance for the brakes to slow or stop your vehicle – Bill Powers
The driver of a vehicle that is very close to another may have less time to react to a sudden stop than someone who is a sufficiently safe number of car lengths behind the vehicle in front of him or her, as the case may be.
If several cars are tailgating each other, a chain reaction is not unusual. Increasing the number of vehicles multiplies the opportunity for damages and injuries, as the middle or center vehicles have the opportunity for both front and rear-end collisions.
We’re Here to Help
In the event that you are issued a traffic ticket (or worse) related to tailgating, you may want to contact a North Carolina traffic attorney.
- We have the benefit of years of traffic court and criminal court experience
- We’ll take the time to talk to you and answer your questions
- We are willing to explain the best-case and worst-case scenarios
- We provide helping, information, and advice
We help people navigate a sometimes complicated legal system in North Carolina. Our job is to offer advice and guidance, not judgment for a bad choice – Bill Powers
Here’s How We Help:
- We will want to review a Copy of all the Charging Documents, including the Uniform Citation
- We will ask you a LOT of questions about:
- Prior Driving History
- Record of Convictions
- Past Accidents
- Insurance Coverage
- Driving School PJC Prayer for Judgment
- We will want to review the factual basis of the case
- Was there an accident?
- Was anyone hurt?
- How did the wreck occur?
- Who was at fault?
- Were there any witnesses?
- Were there any passengers in YOUR vehicle?
- Were they hurt?
- Were there any passengers in OTHER vehicles?
- Was anyone transported to the hospital?
- Who responded to the scene?
- Have you given any statements?
- Was the statement Oral or in Writing or Both?
- Have insurance companies contacted you?
- Have Law Enforcement contacted you?
We believe good decisions, especially as it regards legal matters, after a careful consideration of the facts, the law, and the individual particularities of any individual case. Each case is different.
That’s why we encourage you to call an experienced attorney. Whether it is our attorneys at Powers McCartan, PLLC or some other law firm, you likely would benefit from seeking legal advice.
Even if you decide to go it alone, which is entirely legal, you will have more information to decide how to proceed.
Modified Transcript of “Tailgating in North Carolina” for the Hearing Impaired
Hey, this is Bill Powers, and I appreciate you watching the video on tailgating, often times referred to as following too closely.
Sometimes it’s unsafe movement, sometimes it’s reckless driving, and sometimes it’s more serious than that if someone got seriously hurt or killed.
Tailgating is one of those offenses, it sounds so minor and then you get your insurance bill and you’re like “Wait a second, time out, I have a clean record. Why is suddenly, why are my rates going through the roof?”
What we like to do when we see a tailgating charge, or any type of traffic violation, for that matter, is to stop and take a snapshot of where you are with your Motor Vehicle Points as may be defined by the General Statutes and the DMV (Department of Transportation division Motor Vehicles) and Insurance Points under the Safe Driver Incentive program, and we like to consider the snapshot of driving school, maybe prior unsafe movements, prior wrecks, whether you received a PJC (even if you didn’t go to driving school), your age, the status of your license, the type of license you have. I don’t think I’ve talked about this on the website yet, but there are differences between how some of these things are applied, and in fact there are different point values depending on what type of license you have.
So in North Carolina, are you a class A or B, as in Alpha or Bravo, versus a class C, which most people just have an ordinary driver. So if you drive a truck for a living, over a certain weight, drive a big rig, dump truck or something like that, you may have a class A or B license. What may be a no brainer for a normal, ordinary person like me is a big deal for a commercial driver. Charlotte’s got, well, let me think. We’ve got 85, 77, and 74 going through time. Those are dangerous roads. Then we’ve got 277, which is kind of around the center. Highway 16, 485.
We see a lot of truck trafficking and Charlotte also is the home of [inaudible 01:46:23] it has been for years, a center for trucking traffic. So we see a lot of trucking cases, and because of that, we got the DMV people out there on the road. Can’t remember if they’re Highway Patrol now or DMV, they used to be separate, and I think they’ve now merged. I think the Highway Patrol is handling those cases now, or at least that’s what you see in court, mostly.
So if you’re a commercial driver, how we react to a ticket and the options available to you may be worse or less options available. So for example, a CDL by statute may not be eligible for something called a Prayer for Judgment. With a CDL, just being charged with driving while impaired, even if you’re driving your individual vehicle, could revoke or take away your right to drive a truck for a living, even without a hearing. So you can keep your C license but they take away your A or B.
Gracious, it’s complicated. That’s why lawyers exist. That’s why we do what we do. We handle a lot of traffic tickets every year. I personally enjoy doing it because we get a sense of accomplishment from it. They’re complicated, they’re intellectually stimulating, and we know that we’re helping people understand the system. We’re helping people, and that’s why our telephone number is 704-342-HELP. Free consultation, confidential consultation. We’ll give you the skinny on what we think the most appropriate way is to proceed. So give us a ring.