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While it may seem obvious to you to avoid committing felony acts such as murder or robbery, you may not realize how much minor violations can affect your life. Misdemeanors and traffic offenses can lead to unexpected complications involving your career, your family and your future encounters with law enforcement.

North Carolina, like most states, assigns points in addition to fines and other penalties for certain traffic violations. If you reach 12 points within three years, the state will suspend your driver’s license. Think about your current job and your family obligations, and imagine trying to accomplish them without the use of your driver’s license.

Your points and your job

The court can place points on your record after convicting you of a moving violation – such as speeding – or non-moving violation – such as parking in a handicapped zone. The more serious the infraction, the more points you may earn. Some violations result in automatic suspension of your license. These include drag racing, extreme speeding and driving under the influence of alcohol. If there is even the remotest possibility that you may change jobs, having a clean driving record is especially important.

Potential employers may check your record, especially if they pay insurance for you to use a company vehicle. In fact, even if the work you do now does not require you to drive, your clean driving record may make you more valuable to your employer. Points add up quickly, and having them on your record can tarnish your reputation in the eyes of your current or future employer.

Unintended consequences

In addition to affecting your ability to keep your present job or qualify for future positions, you will certainly experience a hike in your insurance premiums, which may remain high for three years until the points disappear from your record. You may find your driving record affects other areas of your life in ways you never expected.

You may think the best thing to do when you get a speeding ticket is to pay the fine and get it over with. However, paying the fine means the conviction goes on your record. You may even be able to negotiate to have the points removed for a certain violation, but the conviction remains. This may not be a chance you want to take. If you are facing even minor charges, you should think about your future and reach out for skilled legal assistance.