The basic definition of a "Prayer for Judgment" (PJC) is a plea that can be entered in a courtroom and is neither an admission of guilt nor a plea of innocence. If the plea is accepted by the judge the charge against the accused is dismissed though the judge usually has conditions for the violation to not go on the person's record.

 

The conditions normally include that if within a certain time period the accused repeats the crime or a similar one he/will face both charges. However if the accused stays clean for the time period the record is expunged and the accused will face no trial or punishment for the alleged offense. In North Carolina the probationary time period is typically three years.

 

In NC for automobile insurance purposes, one can have up to one PJC per household every three years that will not cause insurance premium increases. For driver's license purposes, a driver can have up to two PJCs within a five year period which will not result in driver's license points nor have any effect on the driving record of the person receiving the PJC.

 

For criminal defendants in federal court, a prayer for judgment may be considered a conviction for the determination of the sentencing level upon conviction of a federal crime.

 

PJC is like a deferred prosecution. After a plea of guilty, the judge can make a finding of guilt without entering judgment and set a new court date, usually a year later, at which time if the defendant has met the conditions set out by the judge, then the charge can be dismissed.