05/25/10 — Violators can now pay waivable tickets online

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Violators can now pay waivable tickets online

By Nick Hiltunen
Published in News on May 25, 2010 1:46 PM

Paying certain "waivable" traffic tickets in Wayne County no longer requires a trip to the courthouse -- or even a postage stamp.

The county is being used as a testing ground for a new online system called payNCticket (www.payNCticket.org), which allows people to pay traffic tickets online.

The system allows for any offense payable by mail -- which is indicated on standard North Carolina traffic tickets -- to also be paid online using the Internet site.

The new system also opens up a new avenue for payment of court fines, fees and other costs, namely credit and debit cards.

Wayne County Clerk of Courts Pam Minshew said that capability will be especially convenient for out-of-county and out-of-state violators of traffic laws.

"We always have people calling in from all over the state, asking, 'Can we mail this in, can we use our credit card, is there any way we can do this other than mailing this?'" Mrs. Minshew said. "Now we can tell them, yes, there is."

When residents of other states get traffic tickets, they often call the Clerk of Courts office asking about their options, the clerk of courts said.

"Now, they don't have to worry about coming to North Carolina to pay it, and they can use their credit or debit card," she said. "I think it's going to be nice for out-of-state people. They can just go online and use it."

Mrs. Minshew predicted that most people who live in Wayne County will still prefer to come to court to pay their tickets, because the online system does not allow a defendant to talk with prosecutors.

Assistant district attorneys sometimes reduce charges, payment amounts or other penalties when a defendant reports to court.

"It's only for waivable offenses, and that's it," Mrs. Minshew said. "They're not going to be able to get anything reduced if (a defendant) pays online."

The system was designed by the state Administrative Office of the Courts to handle the average half-million waivable traffic offenses filed each year in the state.

In the 2008-09 fiscal year, there were about 644,000 citations issued, with about 10,909 in Wayne County. The figures mean that about 1.7 percent of traffic citations issued in North Carolina's 100 counties were logged in Wayne County during that time frame.

The new online system is being implemented on a piecemeal basis throughout the state's counties.

All 100 of North Carolina's counties are expected to be using the system late this summer, Mrs. Minshew said.