Speeding Tickets: What You Need To Know
Driving too fast is not smart ... and it can be expensive.
Driving at unsafe speeds is, obviously, unsafe... It's unsafe for you, but more importantly it's not fair to put other motorists at risk. Furthermore, besides the fact that speeding can lead to fatalities, it can also put a dent in your wallet.
By The Editors
Mon, Oct 4, 2021 12:05 PM PST
It's difficult to determine the average cost of a speeding fine because some states like Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wyoming have penalties based on the number of mph over the speed limit. However, the majority of states have a fine of about $150 for speeding - excluding additional costs and court fees.
Bottom line: If you like to cruise at high speeds where you shouldn't, you might want to break that bad habit. Besides the fact that speeding can lead to fatalities, it can also put a dent in your wallet (pun intended).
Continue reading this post to learn various ways a speeding ticket can affect you.
Cost of a Speeding Ticket
The words ticket and citation are often used interchangeably as they are essentially the same thing - a written record of an error / traffic violation you committed in the course of travel. Based on the latest data from 2021 for state speeding fines, the median cost of an offense for speeding is $150. The average increase in full coverage insurance amounts to $355.
Moreover, the cost of a speeding ticket can be based on several factors, as listed below:
Speed: It can significantly affect the cost of the speeding ticket, leading to the issuance of criminal charges, license suspensions, or even jail time.
State: Where you reside also matters. States such as Nevada have a far stricter penalty for driving than other states.
Type of zone: If you're caught speeding in a high-risk zone - such as an office/residential, school, or construction zone - you could be facing a much greater penalty than you would on a bigger road. You would also greatly be increasing the risk of something going very wrong.
Level of severity: If a cop observes infractions other than speeding - like drunk or reckless driving - the consequences of your ticket for speeding are likely to be more severe.
Driver record: If you've had a history of speeding or other moving violations, you may receive a much more severe penalty in comparison to first-time offenders.
Speeding Ticket: Felony or Misdemeanor?
The way a speeding ticket is issued depends on a wide range of aspects. Based on the jurisdiction you reside in, your speeding offense could be classified as an infraction misdemeanor or a felony. However, the majority of speeding tickets are viewed as a common infraction or violation and come with no criminal consequences. It could result from speeding or other minor violations - such as not coming to a complete stop at a stop sign, not yielding correctly, using inappropriate lighting, or not wearing your seatbelt.
Traffic Court vs. Criminal Court
There's a distinct difference in the way that violations are handled in the courtroom. In general, less serious offenses are resolved in traffic court, and more serious offenses are handled in criminal courts. This varies depending on the local and state jurisdiction.
Multiple Wrongdoings -> Compounding Problems
Drivers whose record has multiple speeding tickets - or other violations - are likely to incur more serious consequences than those who have an impeccable driving record. If there's property damage, injuries, or fatalities, you're likely to be subject to harsher penalties than a case with no such outcomes. In addition, some states consider it reckless driving if you're over the limit by a certain amount. Scenarios with a combination of speeds deemed reckles, a poor driving record, and property damage or injuries will most probably result in the driver facing significant problems, the cost of the ticket being only one of them.
Speeding In School Zones - Just Don't
If you speed through a school-zone you will probably be subject to severe penalties - courtesy the police - and the wrath of parents. Even if the cops didn't see you, parents dropping off their kids did - and being labeled a reckless driver by your community can be just as problematic as a traffic violation.
Speeding Ticket And Insurance Costs
There's no doubt that speeding has an impact on your auto insurance premiums. The average annual cost of car insurance is around $1,674, nationally. Your rates, regardless if you're currently above or below the average, will increase if you get a ticket - expect an increase of more than $355 on your annual premium. Interestingly, Louisiana motorists - who already face the highest insurance rates with an average cost of coverage at $2,724/car annually - can expect an average increase of $793 of their insurance premiums after getting just one ticket for speeding. Ouch!
Some states allow you to clear a moving violation by taking a traffic school class, which is basically a refresher course on driving laws and rules of the road. The benefits of such a course vary from state to state but, here in California, you are still required to pay the total fine associated with your violation, plus a court processing fee to allow you to take traffic school, plus the traffic school fee itself. Traffic school courses range from $15 to around $30. So, while taking such a class may keep the violation point from going on your driving record, getting a traffic ticket is still a very expensive experience.
I Got A Speeding Ticket - Now What?
Adjusting your driving speed helps in steering clear of a ticket. However, if you do get a speeding ticket in California, you'll want to figure out your next steps. Using the information mentioned above will be a good start, but you might need more - custom - assistance.
By driving safely and legally you can avoid several hassles - not only the inherent hassle of being pulled over and fined. Remember that a traffic ticket is what we have in place to help keep our roads as safe as possible - reminding and gently nudging us towards safe driving behavior. A ticket can be paid and a driving record repaired (with time), but there is one consequnce that can not be undone or fixed... A driver who accidentally causes a fatality - regardless if they were speeding or not - will live the rest of their days with the burden of taking a life. This, by far, will be the absolute biggest impact on the driver. Keep that in mind, and stay safe!