Save this in case you get caught speeding: Drivers can get tickets reduced online.

Save this in case you get caught speeding: Drivers can get tickets reduced online.

CHARLOTTE, NC (Michael Gordon/The Charlotte Observer) - Charlotte-Mecklenburg drivers now can argue down a speeding ticket without hiring a lawyer or heading to court.

A new pilot program offered by the N.C. Courts System gives ticketed drivers the option of visiting a new online service to get a ticket reduced or to pay their fines.

Marion Warren, director of the N.C. Administrative Office of the Courts say the online service offers both drivers and the court system a more efficient and convenient way to handle the most common traffic offenses. Speeding accounts for almost half of North Carolina's traffic citations – or about 400,000 tickets annually.

Here's how it would work:

  • Ticketed drivers would go to onlineservices.NCcourts.org at least seven days before their scheduled court date to request a speeding ticket reduction. You’ll receive an emailed confirmation that your request has been received and a later notification of whether the district attorney’s office has OK’d or denied it.
  • To qualify, the charged speed in the ticket must be 10-19 mph over the posted limit and below 80 mph.
  • If the district attorney’s office agrees to reduce the ticket, it will either drop the speed to 9 mph over the limit or replace the speeding ticket with one for improper equipment. Other reductions require a court appearance. Drivers will receive an email that includes the reduced charge and the associated costs.
  • The fines and costs of the new ticket must be paid online by midnight of the assigned court date or the offer expires.
  • If the DA doesn’t agree to a reduction or drivers don’t accept the offer, they must show up in court on their assigned date.

Asheville/Bumcombe County started using the system in July. District Attorney Todd Williams says in a court system press release that the service has proven to be "a fast and easy way" not only to request a reduction in speeding tickets, but to also pay costs and fines.

Court officials say they hope drivers will follow the speed limit. But for those who don't, the new system gives everybody a break: less paperwork for courthouse clerks and prosecutors; shorter lines in courtrooms and traffic court.

And then there's your wallet – and that little matter of potentially saving hundreds of dollars by not hiring a lawyer to argue the case.