According to the Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles Department, Floridians racked up over 187,000 speeding tickets last year.
Even though speeding in Florida is a non-criminal offense, experts note that police officers in Florida tend to give out speeding tickets in pairs.
This means that, if you’re not careful, you can earn another ticket that might go on your record. But, the question still remains, can you go to jail for speeding in Florida?
Here’s everything you need to know in order to stay safe on the road.
What is a Non-Criminal Traffic Violation in Florida?
It’s important to understand the difference between a criminal traffic violation and a non-criminal traffic violation.
In the state of Florida, there are hundreds of non-criminal traffic violations. These include:
- Going through a stop sign
- Driving in the HOV lane
- Illegal U-turn
- Driving without headlights at night
These are just some of the most common. What’s important to know is that even though you might not go to jail for speeding, if you get a non-criminal moving traffic violation, you can get points on your license.
This means that even though it’s not a criminal violation, because it’s a moving traffic violation, you should fight the ticket. If you go to court and pay the speeding ticket, then you’re admitting guilt and they can add points to your license.
This can lead to higher insurance rates and eventually even the suspension of your license.
Here, it’s also important to understand that reckless driving is a criminal misdemeanor in Florida.
This means that if you’re driving at 100 MPH on I-75 during rush hour, then they’re probably going to arrest you for reckless driving. You won’t be going to jail for speeding per se, but it contributed to the recklessness of your driving.
How Fast to Get Arrested for Speeding?
Again, it’s very unlikely that an officer will arrest you for speeding if you’re not committing any other moving violations.
However, this is a question we get asked a lot. According to the Florida DHSMV Point System, you will get points added to your license for minor moving and speeding violations.
Speeding, in this sense, means that you are driving 15 MPH or less over the posted speed limit. If you get a ticket for speeding in this kind of situation, you will have 3 points on your driving history.
This is the least severe penalty, and you can usually get the points removed by taking a Basic Driver Improvement Course.
4-point infractions will add, well, 4 points to your driving history. If you are caught speeding over 15 MPH of the posted speed limit, then it counts as a 4-point infraction.
So, if you’re thinking, “Can I go to jail for speeding?” The answer is technically no. If you’re just speeding, then they’re not going to haul you off in handcuffs.
However, let’s say that an officer pulls you over for speeding over 15 MPH of the speed limit. You’ll get 4 points added to your license.
If you receive the same speeding ticket two more times for speeding over 15 MPH, then you’ll have a total of 12 points.
In Florida, if you receive more 12 or more points within a 12-month period, then authorities will suspend your license for 30 days.
This is on top of what’s going to happen to your insurance rates.
If you continue to rack up speeding tickets, then it’s likely that your insurance provider will eventually deem you as a “habitual offender” and it will be harder to get car insurance at a fair price.
What is Reckless Driving in Florida?
So, we’ve made it clear that you can’t go to jail for speeding in Florida. You can, however, go to jail for reckless driving.
What’s difficult about this is that it’s not very well-defined under the eyes of the law.
Florida Statute 316.192 says that the definition of reckless driving in Florida is “any person who drives any vehicle in willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property.”
This is pretty hard to prove, right? While one officer might think that you driving 20 MPH over the speed limit on a residential street counts as reckless driving because you were close to a school, another might not agree.
This is what makes it so important to have a legal team on your side if you receive a ticket for reckless driving.
Because reckless driving is a misdemeanor in Florida, you can get arrested for speeding if the officer deems it to be “reckless.”
The one other important factor to consider is that if you get caught speeding 50 MPH over the speed limit and it’s your third offense, then they might charge you with a third-degree felony.
This carries up to 5 years in prison, up to $5,000 in fines, and the possibility to have your license revoked for 10 years. Any felony offense in the state of Florida will result in your arrest.
Can You Go to Jail for Speeding in Florida?
So, can you go to jail for speeding in Florida? Technically, no.
You can go to jail for speeding if you’re speeding more than 50 MPH above the speed limit and have other offenses, of if your speeding is so excessive and reckless that officers charge you with reckless driving.
Have you been caught speeding in Florida? Sometimes hiring a traffic violation lawyer can save you money, especially if you truly believe you weren’t actually speeding.
Instead of admitting guilt and getting more points on your driving history, contact us.
At Florida Ticket Firm we specialize in traffic violations and serve residents in both South Florida and Tampa Bay.
We have years of experience in both non-criminal and criminal traffic violations, which means that we know how to ensure that your record stays clean even if you were driving recklessly or without a license.
Contact us today for more information or submit your ticket online to get the process started.