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Penalties for Driving at an Excessive Rate of Speed

Penalties for Driving at an Excessive Rate of Speed

While a speeding conviction is generally not considered a serious offense, it may have serious implications. If the speed is considered “excessive,” (e.g. 30 to 60 miles over the posted speed limit), the conviction will include a fine, imprisonment, and possible suspension of a driver’s license. Other criminal actions related to speeding may include “reckless driving” and “racing.” Moving violations are either traffic infractions or criminal misdemeanors, and they may necessitate a court appearance.

The seriousness of the offense is enhanced by statutory penalties. The base penalty is usually a fine, ranging from $ 500 to $ 5,000. Violators may be ordered by the court to attend a driver’s education course or traffic survival school. In addition, a judge has the statutory authority to suspend the offender’s driver’s license. Depending upon whether it was the motorist’s first offense or a repeat offense, the license suspension may range anywhere from 30 days to 12 months. If the offender is repeatedly convicted of excessive speeding within a certain time period, such as three offenses within 24 months, the offender is at risk of having his or her license revoked. These enhancements fall under a state’s “habitual offender” statutes.

In addition, the offender may be sentenced to imprisonment and/or community service. Again, enhanced statutory penalties will attach to the motorist who has previous offenses or is charged with other criminal actions related to speeding. In that event, the offender could be imprisoned anywhere from five days to six months.

A licensing action is also possible through the point system. Accumulation of a certain number of points within a given period of time will result in suspension or revocation of the motorist’s license. For example, there may be a base suspension of 90 days for 20 points and an additional 30-day suspension for each additional five points. Some jurisdictions provide that the number of points that will trigger the loss of a license depends on the status of the driver. For example, a professional driver may be allowed to accumulate more points than a nonprofessional driver. Some jurisdictions accord a different point system to new or young drivers. Many states provide for the removal of points from a driver’s record under certain circumstances, such as passage of time, attendance at a driver improvement program, or satisfactory completion of a motor vehicle accident prevention course.

Copyright 2011 LexisNexis, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc.