A prayer for judgment continued (PJC) is a procedure that may be available in traffic ticket court to allow a person who has received a traffic ticket or citation to avoid some or all of fines, penalties, and other consequences.
A PJC essentially allows the driver to plead guilty to the infraction or offense (or to be convicted by the judge or jury) and for the court/judge to continue the judgment or final effect of the guilty plea or conviction indefinitely—allowing the driver to avoid large fines, penalty points added to their driver’s license or record, increased insurance premiums, and possible suspension of their driver’s license.
In this context, a prayer is a request by the prosecutor/government to enter judgment (a final decision or determination) against the driver based on their guilty plea, and for the judge to indefinitely continue or postpone the entry of judgment, which prevents it from becoming final and effective.
Laws vary from state to state and in states where a PJC is an option, it is limited and in the judge’s discretion—a driver or household may only be allowed one PJC every few years, for example. But if a driver receives a more serious ticket or citation (with a significant fine or penalty points) and is unable to get it dismissed or reduced to a lesser infraction or offense, a PJC may be an option. A driver who gets a PJC may still be required to pay court costs, for example, as they are not classified as a penalty.