Q: I was wondering if I could get a improper equipment if my child car seat wasn’t hooked properly in the car.?
A: Maybe but if the ADA is willing to reduce it to a rear seat belt violation - that would be way better.
Now that is a REALLY good question. You get a gold star for "stumping the lawyer," or at least this lawyer.
Normally an improper equipment relates to SPEEDING charges, as the "improper equipment" is referenced (tangentially) in that statute, see subsection "o" in NCGA 20-141:
Frankly, when we've seen these in the past (in the Charlotte-Metro region), we've sought help with the police department in hooking the things up. Indeed, there are occasionally clinics or "we'll show you how" Saturdays where law enforcement will take a look and see if the seat is installed correctly.
One would think, and hope, prosecutors would be willing to work something out, especially for someone who had a seat and was trying to do the right thing.
We used to refer to my daughter as Houdini when it came to car seats. She was a master of getting unbuckled and gracious goodness, heaven forbid if you have to move the seat from one type of car to another. Everyone thinks it is easy strapping those things down. . .it's not.
BEST BET: Retain an attorney, as it may be the type of citation that could be bad on insurance. Most criminal defense and NC traffic lawyers provide a free consult, just to give you legal options and guidance.
Again, GREAT QUESTION!
For more info on NC Traffic Law, check out our Podcast episode: https://www.stitcher.com/podcast/bill-powers/nc-law-talk-dwi-traffic-drug-crimes-criminal-defense-tips/e/52721304
A: I applaud your creative thinking! However, you might not even need to negotiate for an Improper Equipment. Depending on your charge and county, you may be eligible for a dismissal. In some counties in North Carolina, simply showing the DA that you have a proper car seat is enough to warrant a dismissal for Failure to Secure a Passenger Under the Age of 16. Speaking personally with the District Attorney's Office or hiring a lawyer to negotiate on your behalf are probably your two best options.
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