Is a Speeding ticket a Misdemeanor, Infraction, or Felony?

is a speeding ticket a misdemeanor

Suppose you’ve just received your first speeding ticket or a particularly severe ticket, such as for reckless driving. You may wonder if it is a minor or a more heinous crime. If neither, will it show on your record? The following article will give answers to every question and doubt of yours regarding a criminal speeding ticket.

Are Speeding tickets a Misdemeanor?

Generally, a speeding ticket is an infraction that is usually not considered a misdemeanor. As an infraction, a speeding ticket is born by a small fine and license demerit points. But a speeding violation levied as a Misdemeanor can come with more severe penalties such as jail time

Misdemeanor Speeding tickets

In several states, all traffic transgressions (including speeding) are considered Misdemeanors. However, in most states, a speeding violation will be a misdemeanor only if it involves certain aggravating factors.
Some of the common reasons why speeding may get charged as a misdemeanor include:

Excessive speeding 

The most common speeding offense is an unreasonable charge for crossing the speed limit. In other words, you could face a misdemeanor charge if caught driving at a speed above the speed limit. In some states, speeding is a misdemeanor to get caught exceeding the speed limit by a certain amount. Depending upon the state, this amount can be anywhere from 15 to 35 miles per hour throughout the speed limit. In some states, misdemeanor charges can result in anyone traveling over a specific speed. For instance, driving over 100 miles per hour may amount to a misdemeanor.

Commercial vehicles

Depending upon the type of vehicle operated standard speeding fine can also be charged as a misdemeanor. Commercial vehicle drivers, especially school buses, taxis, and transports of dangerous substances – are subject to stricter standards than other drivers. So for commercial drivers, excessive speeding by a small amount can also sometimes lead to misdemeanor charges.

Reckless driving

The excessive speed that poses a significant risk to others or property can get charged with reckless driving, which is usually a misdemeanor. For example, driving extremely fast through areas with heavy pedestrian traffic can lead to reckless driving charges, and street racing on public streets and highways is generally an offense charge.

However, each state’s laws are different, so the specifics of what makes speeding a misdemeanor is also varied by state.

What are some common penalties for a speeding Misdemeanor?

Different penalties get charged based on the severity of traffic violations and the state where the speeding misdemeanor occurs.

Speeding is usually punishable by up to a year in jail maximum of one year, and $1,000 in fines. Depending on circumstances and the laws of your state, a misdemeanor of speeding can also come with license demerits and a possible license suspension.

For example, laws for speeding violations can be as follows:

Exceeding the speed limit by one to ten miles per hour (mph) is punishable anywhere between $45 to $150, three driver penalty points, and possible jail time up to the above fifteen days.

Speeding ten and less than 30 miles per hour over the limit carries a fine of $90 to $300 and an apparent jail period of 30 days. Speeding 21-30 mph over the limit results in an assessment of six points. Exceeding the speed limit by more than 30 mph is fined $180 to $600 and possible jail time of 30 days. Speeding over 40 mph over the limit results in an assessment of 11 points.

The above fines, points, and jail time apply for a first conviction, and these penalties, jail tenure, and point assessment get severe in the second conviction. Most states penalize second offenses more severely than first offenses.

Consequences to License 

A criminal speeding ticket can have considerable consequences on a defendant. For example, a person may have their license suspended after the proliferation of too many driving points or infractions.

Additionally, a misdemeanor may affect a person’s professional license. Many jobs require an individual to maintain specific ethical standards, including positions in governmental offices, teachers, nurses, lawyers, and individuals who act as fiduciaries. The individual may be required to report this information to the professional licensing board and face suspension, revocation, or non-renewal of their license.

Dealing with speeding Tickets 

When you pick up a misdemeanor charge, you’ll have to go to a criminal court instead of a traffic court. And unlike traffic court, you usually can’t get out of having to go to criminal court by paying the fine in advance.

Criminal court is usually more formal than traffic court. But in a criminal court, you will have too many rights than you would get in a traffic court. For example, in a criminal court, you have the right to a court-appointed attorney if you cannot afford to hire an attorney. You can on the traffic court either represent yourself or hire a lawyer – the state is not responsible for providing legal representation counsel and indigent defendants.


Generally, speeding tickets are infractions unless aggravated factors lead to getting charged as a misdemeanor. Different states have different rules for considering speeding violations as misdemeanors. Excessive speeding or reckless driving are common reasons for speeding tickets to be charged as a misdemeanor which can cause the imposing of severe penalties.
No one wants a criminal conviction on their record, so consulting an attorney is the best step one should go for after receiving an illegal speeding ticket.

Frequently asked questions

Is a speeding ticket a felony?

A Speeding ticket is generally an infraction. However, in some states, it can be a misdemeanor depending upon the traffic rules of that particular state and speeding limits.

Is Street racing on public roads a misdemeanor?

Street racing on a public road is generally considered a misdemeanor having severe penalties.

Should I hire an attorney to help me with my misdemeanor traffic charge?

If You ever get charged with a misdemeanor traffic charge, you should contact a criminal lawyer. An experienced criminal defense attorney near you can check the facts of your case, explain your rights and options, and represent you at the plea and trial hearings.

Where would I have to go for a misdemeanor speeding ticket?

For a Misdemeanor speeding ticket, one must go to a criminal court for proceedings. A criminal court is more formal than a traffic court, and you are provided more rights there.

Are commercial vehicles prone to misdemeanor speeding charges?

Commercial vehicles are subject to stricter traffic laws. So, excessive speeding, even by a small amount, will lead to misdemeanor speeding charges.

What is the point system, and how will it affect my license?

Depending upon the situation, a speeding transgression can add demerit points to a driver’s record, and the proliferation of too many points may lead to license suspension.