Speeding: Local Ordinance Violation or State Law Infraction?

Suppose a North Carolina city adopts an ordinance establishing a local speed limit of 25 miles per hour for all city streets that are not otherwise marked. Signs are posted on city streets reflecting the 25 mile per hour limit. Absent this ordinance, state law would provide for a speed limit of thirty-five miles per hour inside the municipal corporate limits. The city’s municipal code provides that violations of its provisions are not governed by G.S. 14-4, which otherwise would render the violation of a local ordinance regulating traffic an infraction. The municipal code also states that speeding on a city street is punishable by a civil penalty of $75 and requires that payment be made to the town hall. A local law enforcement officer stops a car that is traveling 40 miles per hour on a city street. May the officer issue a civil citation to the driver, requiring payment of the $75 penalty?  May the officer cite the driver for speeding in violation of state law, an infraction?  May the officer choose between these two methods of enforcement?

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May the police seize and impound cars driven by people charged with minor traffic violations?

The News and Observer reported Sunday on the Hamlet Police Department’s seizure of vehicles from drivers charged with low-level traffic offenses and the subsequent selling of those vehicles as scrap in what the reporter characterized as a “series of questionable and off-the-books transactions handled by the police.” A story in today’s paper states that the … Read more