Can I Be Charged With Speeding as a Crime?

Speeding is a common traffic violation in which a driver exceeds the posted speed limit. Speed limits are set for a variety of reasons to promote safety, reduce the chance of accidents, and accommodate specific road and traffic conditions.

What will happen if you violate speeding? And can you actually be charged with speeding as a crime? Violating the speeding law can cause you fines and penalties, but it’s important to consult with a legal professional to make sure you are on the right side of the law.

Let’s talk about North Carolina speeding laws and determine factors involving speeding, the potential consequences you may face, and the defenses available to you if you find yourself in this complex process.

Speeding as a Criminal Offense

Not only could speeding result in traffic violations, but it can also result in motor vehicle accidents. Motorcycle accident law firm Mitchell Law Corporation believes that seeking immediate help from legal professionals is important when you face such incidents.

When you violate the speeding law, you could face fines, points on your driving record, or even have your license suspended. However, in some cases, speeding can be escalated to a criminal offense, especially if it’s excessive or leads to other illegal activities.

When speeding becomes a criminal offense, the consequences become more severe. You may be charged with reckless driving, which is a misdemeanor in many jurisdictions. This could result in higher fines, probation, or even jail time. If your speeding causes an accident that results in injury or death, you could face even more serious charges, such as vehicular manslaughter.

Note that the threshold for considering speeding a criminal offense varies from state to state, so it’s crucial to familiarize yourself with the specific laws in your jurisdiction. The best course of action is to always obey speed limits and drive responsibly to avoid any potential legal consequences.

Factors That Determine Speeding as a Crime

Speeding can be classified as a crime based on various factors that determine its severity and the legal consequences that may follow. The first factor is the speed at which you were driving. Each jurisdiction has its own speed limits, and exceeding these limits can lead to criminal charges. The higher the speed, the more likely it’s that you’ll be charged with a crime rather than a simple traffic violation.

Another factor is the circumstances surrounding your speeding. If you were driving recklessly or endangering the lives of others, the severity of the crime may increase. For example, weaving in and out of traffic or speeding in a school zone can result in more serious charges.

Your driving history is also taken into account. If you have a prior record of speeding offenses, it can influence the severity of the charges. Repeat offenders are often subject to harsher penalties, including higher fines, license suspension, or even jail time.

The presence of aggravating factors such as driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs can escalate a speeding offense to a more serious crime. These factors show a disregard for public safety and can lead to more severe legal consequences.

Consequences of Speeding as a Crime

If you’re charged and convicted of speeding as a crime, you may face various penalties depending on the jurisdiction and the severity of the offense. These consequences can include hefty fines, suspension or revocation of your driver’s license, mandatory attendance in traffic school, increased insurance premiums, and even imprisonment in some cases.

One of the most immediate consequences of a speeding conviction is the financial burden. You may be required to pay substantial fines, which can range from a few hundred to several thousand dollars, depending on the speed at which you were driving and any additional factors involved. In addition, your insurance premiums are likely to increase significantly, as insurers view speeding convictions as an indicator of high-risk behavior.

Another consequence of speeding as a crime is the potential loss of your driving privileges. Your driver’s license may be suspended or revoked, leaving you unable to legally drive for a specified period. This can have a profound impact on your ability to commute to work, attend school, or carry out your daily responsibilities. A speeding conviction can have long-lasting impacts on your criminal record. 

This can affect your future employment prospects, as many employers conduct background checks and may be hesitant to hire individuals with a history of criminal offenses, even if they’re traffic-related. In some cases, particularly if you were driving at an extremely high speed or in a reckless manner, you may even face imprisonment. While this is relatively rare for speeding offenses, it’s a possibility, especially if your actions resulted in injury or death.

Defenses for Speeding Criminal Charges

If you have been charged with a speeding crime, there are various defenses that you can potentially use to fight the charges. It’s important to remember that each case is unique, and the specific defenses available to you will depend on the circumstances surrounding your situation. Here are some common defenses that you may be able to consider.

First, you could challenge the accuracy of the speed measuring device used by law enforcement. This could involve questioning the calibration of the device or its proper usage. If there are any doubts regarding the accuracy of the device, it could weaken the prosecution’s case against you.

Next, you could argue that there were emergency circumstances that required you to exceed the speed limit. For example, if you were rushing someone to the hospital or trying to avoid a serious accident, this could be a valid defense. However, it’s crucial to provide evidence to support your claims.

Another defense strategy could involve challenging the credibility of the arresting officer. This could involve questioning their training, experience, or their ability to accurately determine your speed. Any inconsistencies or doubts regarding the officer’s testimony could potentially weaken the prosecution’s case.

Lastly, you could argue that the speed limit in the area where you were charged was unreasonable or improperly posted. This defense relies on demonstrating that the speed limit wasn’t justified in that particular location, making it difficult for drivers to comply.

How to Handle a Speeding Criminal Case

When facing a speeding criminal case, it’s important to understand the steps involved in handling your defense. The first step is to hire an experienced criminal defense attorney who specializes in traffic offenses. They’ll guide you through the legal process and help you build a strong defense strategy.

Your attorney will thoroughly review the evidence against you, such as radar gun readings or witness statements, to identify any weaknesses or inconsistencies. They may also investigate whether the speed limit was properly posted or if there were any technical errors in the speed detection equipment.

Your attorney will then negotiate with the prosecution to try to get the charges reduced or dismissed. If a favorable plea deal can’t be reached, they’ll prepare your case for trial. During the trial, your attorney will challenge the evidence presented by the prosecution and present any relevant defenses or mitigating factors.


If you find yourself facing speeding charges as a crime, it’s crucial to understand the factors that determine whether it’s considered a criminal offense. The consequences of such charges can be severe, including fines, license suspensions, and even imprisonment. To navigate a speedy criminal case, it’s essential to seek legal guidance and ensure a proper defense strategy is in place.

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