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Q

What is the violation code for a broken tail light in the State of North Carolina and can the individual be fined for it and what is the penalty?


A

Equipment laws are mostly under North Carolina General Statutes Chapter 20, Article 3, Part 9. The portion of law that discusses the lighting needed on Motor Vehicles is Section 20-129 of the North Carolina Statutes. Lighting laws go on to 20-134 if you want to read through all of these laws that speak about equipment that is required or prohibited on a motor vehicle.

Section 20-176 of the NC Statutes notes the penalties for breaking these laws. Here it states in part that violation of a provision of Part 9, 10, 10A, or 11 of this Article is an infraction unless the violation is specifically declared by law to be a misdemeanor or felony. Violation of the remaining Parts of this Article is a misdemeanor unless the violation is specifically declared by law to be an infraction or a felony.

Then it states that unless a specific penalty is otherwise provided by law, a person found responsible for an infraction contained in this Article may be ordered to pay a penalty of not more than one hundred dollars ($100.00).

From the fine lists for North Carolina that we have read it appear mechanical / equipment tickets written up under this portion of law (G.S. Chapter 20, Article 3, Part 9) typically come with a $25 fine plus court costs. We have seen that you may be able to call the court though and have this become a fix-it ticket. This would mean that you would go to court and show that you fixed the broken tail light and the ticket would be dismissed. There may still be court costs to pay to dismiss it, the court on the citation could tell you for certain.

If you have been cited by law enforcement for a broken tail light the statute you were ticketed for should be listed on the ticket. You can call the court listed on the ticket to see the fine amount and/or see if you can get the ticket dismissed if you have the tail light repaired. If you can make it a fix-it ticket, be sure to find out what proof is required and how long you have to make the repair and show the proof to the court.

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