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For minor traffic offenses, you are entitled to attend court or hire a licensed attorney to represent you. However, not all traffic offenses require a court appearance. 

Minor traffic offenses that do not require a court appearance can simply be paid off before your court date. As the reverse-side of your citation informs you, paying a citation before the court date is the same as appearing in court and pleading guilty to the original charge. This conviction may result in points being assessed against your license, cause your insurance premiums to rise and/or may cause a suspension of your license among other penalties. Therefore, it is wise to consult with an attorney and your insurance provider before taking any action. 

The Clerk’s office cannot amend or reduce your citation. The Assistant District Attorney may speak with you on your court date about your ticket but be aware that the District Attorney’s office is prohibited from giving you legal advice regarding the consequences of your ticket or any offered reduction. Likewise, the Judge, Clerks and other courthouse officials are prohibited from giving legal advice. 

Some traffic citations require a court appearance and cannot be paid prior to the court date. If you fail to appear on your court date as required, your driver's license may be revoked by the North Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles and/or an Order for your arrest may be issued. You may also incur additional fees because of your failure to appear. 

If a court appearance is not required, there are three (3) ways to pay a traffic citation prior to your court date:
  • Online. You may pay your citation using a credit or debit card by visiting This online payment system uses a third party vendor for secure transactions. There is an additional minor fee for use of this system at the time of payment.
  • In person. You may plead guilty and pay your citation at the Clerk's Office no later than your court date. If you attempt to pay your citation after your court date a late penalty may be imposed against you and/or an Order for your arrest may be issued, depending on your charge.
  • By mail. Make a cashier’s check or money order payable to the Clerk of Superior Court for the amount shown on your citation.

The Clerk of Court does not accept personal checks. 

Mail your citation and payment to:
Clerk of Superior Court
ATTN: Criminal Division-Traffic Ticket
PO Box 1849
Manteo, NC 27954

If you are unsure whether you must appear in court for your case, please call our Criminal Division at 252.475.5200.