In a previous blog, we discussed the legislature’s attempt to outlaw a simultaneously hated and loved vehicle modification in North Carolina, the “Carolina Squat.” Well, that attempt has proven to be successful with the passage of House Bill 692. Now that the bill has officially passed we can discuss what that means for those with the Carolina Squat modification and the possible consequences they face if convicted. This also gives us the opportunity to talk about what we can do as your attorney to get you the best possible outcome if you are charged with this new law.
What Does that Mean?
The new bill addresses some concerns we expressed in our previous blog, specifically how a violation would be measured and what the actual consequences of violating the law would be. The new bill details that a violation of the law occurs when a private passenger automobile is operated on any highway or public vehicular area and has an alteration of the suspension, frame, or chassis, where the height of the front fender is 4 or more inches greater than the height of the rear fender. Furthermore, the bill explains that the height of the fender shall be a vertical measurement from and perpendicular to the ground, through the centerline of the wheel, and to the bottom of the fender. Lastly, the bill elaborates on the consequences of violating the law, stating that a third or subsequent conviction of operating a private passenger automobile with prohibited modifications on any highway or public vehicular area under G.S. 20-135.4(d) results in license revocation for a period of no less than one year.
Consequences for the Carolina Squat
As such, it seems like North Carolina has taken a three strikes and you’re out approach in dealing with the Carolina Squat modifications. Many in North Carolina pushed for this law as they saw these modifications as presenting a serious danger to those on the road, the legislature has responded, and we hope this law does in fact keep those on the road safer and more secure, though undoubtedly there are some wishing they were still “squatting.” Since this isn’t a criminal charge, you aren’t risking any jail time. What you are risking is the suspension of your driving privileges and an increase in your insurance rates. So before you modify that car….make sure that if you are convicted of this charge that the insurance increase doesn’t cost more then the modifications!
What Can an Attorney Do?
As mentioned previously, this is a traffic charge. That means there is a chance to get the charge dismissed or use an alternate method so there’s no points assessed to your license or insurance. Typically with modifications we can get the charge dismissed if the modification is changed to match the language of the law. Given the type of modification the Carolina Squat is and the price of the modification, that could be expensive. There are other options to possibly avoid points without changing the modification made. If you don’t make the changes to the modification and you get pulled over again, then you’re risking that “three strikes and you’re out” policy.
Keep in mind that the Carolina Squat is a new law and the District Attorney’s office may not have set a policy in place for what to do with these charges. That may cause your case to continually get pushed to a new court date until the DA and attorney can come to an agreement on a resolution.
Matheson & Associates stays up to date with all traffic laws and is ready to help with any tickets you receive. Call us today!