What is a Prayer for Judgment? Definition
A prayer for judgment continued (or sometimes referred to as “PJC” or “continued judgment”) is a device that in the courts discretion may be granted even though a person charged with certain offenses has plead guilty or responsible. The Court does not enter a final judgment of conviction in the case. By not entering a final judgment in the case, the plea is not entered against a person.
A prayer for judgment continued is unique to North Carolina; but other States may have similar remedies.
Is there a difference in Prayer for Judgment and a PJC?
No. A prayer for judgment continued in NC is the same as some may call a PJC.
How does a Prayer for Judgment Work?
A PJC works because if granted within the Court’s discretion upon pleading or being found responsible of a traffic violation or misdemeanor the Court will continue judgment upon your compliance with certain conditions. These conditions most often are payment of the court costs.
A PJC is rarely effective for out-of-state drivers therefore it is often not encouraged to request a PJC if you are from a State other than North Carolina unless you have consulted with and been advised by an attorney from your State of license.
When can you use Prayer for Judgment?
Keeping in mind that the allowance of such is in Court’s total discretion, you may receive a PJC on most every type of infraction and some misdemeanors.
The North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles allows two PJC’s every five years for DMV purposes
Therefore a third conviction within a five year period in which a PJC was allowed is treated the same as any other conviction.
Insurance companies only allow one prayer for judgment per Household / Insurance Policy every three years.
When should a Prayer for Judgment not be requested?
A Prayer for Judgment may not always be the best result.
For persons attempting to enlist in the military, a PJC may be treated as an unresolved legal matter and prevent enlistment. If a person is pleads not guilty and after a trial is found guilty, then that person may not desire the Court enter a prayer for judgment because the prayer for judgment may prevent the defendant from appealing the trial court’s decision because a PJC is not a final judgment.
A commercial drivers license (CDL) holder / driver should not request a Prayer for Judgment because it will not be recognized as a method to prevent insurance points or license points.
When are you not allowed to use a Prayer for Judgment?
You will not be eligible to receive a PJC for speeding convictions in excess of 25 mph over the posted speed limit.
A driver found guilty of passing a stopped school shall not receive a PJC under any circumstance.
You will not eligible to received a Prayer for Judgment Continued if you are being sentenced for Driving While Impaired.
Will a Prayer for Judgment affect my insurance?
A PJC will usually not affect your car insurance. When a prayer for judgment continued is entered in a traffic matter the result is that judgment is not entered against the person and as such insurance points and license points may not be assessed.
However, if certain situations exist a PJC may not be effective in preventing negative affects to your insurance. Prayer for Judgments are ineffective for driver’s holding Commercial Driver’s License and for speeding convictions in excess of 25 miles per hour over the posted speed limit. Out-of-State drivers that are not licensed in North Carolina should consult an attorney in their licensing state to determine how a Prayer for Judgment Continued in NC may affect their license.
Is a prayer for judgment a conviction?
Yes, No, and Maybe. A PJC may be treated as a conviction for misdemeanor or felony sentencing points later on should you be convicted of another crime in a determination of sentencing points is required. However, for purposes of traffic offenses technically a Prayer for Judgment Continued is not treated as a conviction unless the limitation specified later on in this page (3 – 5 years) is applicable.
Is a PJC recommended for my case?
Each case is different and to best answer this question I would strongly encourage you speak to a local and experienced traffic ticket attorney so that the traffic law expert can analyze your unique situation and provide you specific answers to whether a prayer for judgment continued may be recommend in your case.