What is a Prayer for Judgment Continued?
A Prayer for Judgment Continued, commonly called a "PJC," is a disposition granted by a judge that indefinitely suspends the effects a guilty plea will have on your license or insurance. PJCs are frequently used by individuals charged with minor offenses, such as traffic infractions, to acquire a verdict that will not affect one's driver's license or insurance points. When a person asks the court to grant a PJC, they are essentially admitting guilt, but then asking the court for mercy this one time.
How can I get a PJC?
PJCs are granted by the judge, not the district attorney, although the district attorney can advocate that the judge either grant or deny the PJC. Because PJCs are granted by the judge and not the district attorney, it is important to know when to request a PJC and when it is better to negotiate with the district attorney for the reduction of the charges. You should consult with an attorney before making any decisions regarding which approach you should use for your specific charges.
Can a PJC be expunged from my record?
Some PJCs may be expunged while others may not be, depending on your criminal record and the type of charge you acquired a PJC for. Before deciding to request a PJC, you should think of what consequences it will have on your criminal record, and how that record will impact you in the future.
Should I use a PJC or not?
It depends on your individual circumstances. If you have no other options for a reduction of your charge to a non-moving violation such as improper equipment, then you may want to consider using a PJC to prevent points from being added to your license and insurance. However, you may want to save your PJC as a type of wild card in case you may need it Because of the limitations on the number of times you may receive a PJC within a given period, you should consult with an attorney to make sure you are making the best use of your options.
So can I get multiple PJCs?
The Department of Motor Vehicles will allow you two PJCs in a five year period. However, insurance companies only honor one PJC per policy in a three-year period. Therefore, if you or anyone on your insurance policy receive two PJCs within a five year period, your license points will not be affected, but the insurance company will add points from both your previous offenses.
For example, if your husband or wife is on the same insurance policy as you and they have received a PJC in the last three years, you may be granted a PJC, but your insurance will add points to both your previous and current charges.
Are there times a PJC cannot be used for traffic offenses?
Yes, a PJC cannot be used to resolve DWI charges, speeding 25 miles over the speed limit, and passing a stopped school bus charges. It is important to remember, however, that you are not guaranteed a PJC just because you ask for one. PJCs are granted by the judge and are ultimately, up to his discretion.
What happens if the judge refuses to grant my PJC?
When requesting a PJC, you are essentially telling the judge that you are guilty and asking the judge to give you mercy this one time. However, if the judge does not grant the PJC, he may choose to find you guilty of the charges against you. Instead of requesting a PJC, in some instances, it may be better to have an attorney attempt to get the charges reduced for you instead of risking being found guilty for a more serious charge.
For driver's license purposes, a person can have up to two PJC's within a five year period without any points being assessed or any impact on their driving record. For automobile insurance purposes, a person can have one PJC per household (or insurance policy) every three years without any insurance premium increase. Because of these increased limitations on the use of PJC's for insurance purposes, it is often wisest not to “use up” a PJC unless truly necessary to preserve your driving privileges or avoid insurance points. Notably, North Carolina law generally precludes an insurer from increasing your premiums for a single speeding ticket for less than 10 mph over the limit received in a three year period. So, in some instances it may be better to try and negotiate your traffic ticket to a lesser plea (such as defective equipment, <10 mph over, etc.) instead of asking the judge to enter a PJC, thus preserving your PJC for any subsequent offense.
When granted a PJC by a judge, you will not incur any guilty charges or fines, but you will still be responsible for the court costs, which are usually $188 in Cleveland County. It is important to note that although PJCs do not show as guilty charges on your criminal record, your record will indicate that you requested a PJC for specific charges. Some employers equate PJCs on records with a guilty charge since by asking the court for a PJC, you are admitting that you were guilty.
Our attorneys can help you get PJCs for speeding tickets less than 20 miles over the speed limit, Driving with License Revoked (DWLR), and very occasionally for reckless driving. For some traffic charges in Cleveland County, you can take a defensive driving course and then request a PJC to resolve higher speed tickets.