Speeding killed over 10,000 people in 2016. This made up 27% of traffic fatalities in that year, according to the NHTSA.
Life has a way of making it difficult to abide by the speed limits. Sometimes we run late for work or get frustrated by the congested roads and bad drivers. Or, if you’re a new driver, you may enjoy the freedom of being able to drive – when you want and how you want.
Yet, speed limits are there for one very good reason: To protect us and prevent accidents.
If you recently received a speeding ticket in Florida, you may have some questions. Is receiving a speeding infraction really a big deal? When is speeding considered a misdemeanor? How many points can you receive on your license and what can you do to reduce the charges?
Read on to find out!
Is Speeding a Big Deal?
A Florida state trooper or police officer pulled you over speeding. So, is it a big deal and is it something you should worry about?
The short answer is: Yes. Driving over the speed limit is a big deal. Speeding puts yourself and others at risk of injury or death. It can result in significant monetary loss and damage, and it can alter lives forever.
In Florida, the maximum speed limit on roads near residences and business is 30 miles per hour. The maximum is 55 miles per hour in all other locations. But this can vary in some counties and municipalities.
The speed limit on highways varies in Florida. On highways with less than 4 lanes, the minimum speed limit is usually 50 miles per hour. On some highways, the minimum speed limit can be as much as 70 miles per hour.
You may have received a traffic infraction or violation. This will depend on how fast you were speeding and where.
An infraction is not the same as a violation. So, what’s the difference?
An infraction is not considered a crime and is less of an offense as a violation. Someone who receives an infraction will not go to jail or pay hefty fines. Nor will he or she need to worry about needing a lawyer or having to go through a jury trial.
Most state laws consider things like illegal turns and not stopping at a red light to be infractions. Speeding within limits is also considered an infraction.
Driving 10-15 miles over the speed limit is usually considered an infraction. It’s not something you could face criminal penalties for. But it’s something that police will pull you over for.
The fines you face from a speeding infraction will depend on where you are at the time when you’re pulled over.
Traffic violations are where things get more serious. Is a speeding ticket a misdemeanor?
In Florida, a traffic violation is a misdemeanor. So, if a speeding ticket cites a traffic violation, this is a misdemeanor.
But depending on the severity of an incident, a misdemeanor can be the minimum charge. Driving 20 miles over the speed limit is unlawful speeding in Florida. The more excessive this is, the more likely it is that you’ll receive a felony charge.
There are other factors that can cause a traffic infraction to become a violation (or even a felony). They include:
- Reckless speeding combined with street racing
- Driving with a suspended license (or without one)
- Expired vehicle registration
- Injury/deaths as a result of speeding
In Florida, all drivers must have car insurance. It’s also considered a violation to drive and commit unlawful speeding without insurance.
Someone charged with a misdemeanor will have the same rights as a criminal defendant. They also have the right to a jury trial and a court-appointed lawyer.
Repeat offenders with multiple traffic violations can become convicted of felonies. For example, someone with multiple DUI/DWI’s not only faces hefty fines but possible prison time.
How to Handle a Speeding Infraction or Violation
If you recently received a speeding ticket, you may be wondering what’s next.
First, find out whether your ticket cites an infraction or a violation. If it’s an infraction, find out about when and where you’ll need to pay the fine. You can do this online, by mail, or over the phone.
If you wish to pay the fine in person, know when and where you’ll need to do so by the appropriate date.
Contact your insurance company immediately. Check to see if your insurance premiums have gone up as a result. This is more likely if you have any previous speeding tickets or points on your license.
If you’ve accrued too many points on your license in the last year, this may result in higher penalties… and even a suspended license.
If you’re a new driver on your parent’s insurance, it’s important to tell them straight away. Now is the time to act responsibly and be honest about what happened.
What About a Speeding Violation?
The same applies to a speeding violation as previously mentioned. If you received a violation for unlawful speeding, find out when and where your court date will be.
Unlike someone who received an infraction, you’ll need to find an attorney in the meantime. They’ll help you to build the case and work to reduce your penalties and fines.
What if you received only an infraction but face a possible license suspension? You should also consult with an attorney and determine the next best course of action.
Handle Your Speeding Ticket the Right Way
It’s natural to worry after getting pulled over and receiving a traffic ticket. Worrying only makes the situation worse. So, the next best thing to do is to take the right steps forward towards rectifying the situation.
That’s where Florida Ticket Firm comes in. Our team of attorneys is ready to help you fight your speeding ticket, all while saving you time and money in the process.
Are you located in the greater Tampa Bay area? Are you located in Miami-Dade, Fort Lauderdale, Broward, or Palm Beach? We can help! Contact us today.