Speeding as a Crime

Question: Is driving over the speed limit a crime?

Answer: Traffic violations can be felonies, misdemeanors, or infractions. Felonies and misdemeanors are crimes, but infractions are usually not thought to be part of the criminal justice system. Driving over the speed limit is usually classified as an infraction in those systems that use the infraction category and as a minor misdemeanor in the systems that do not. If driving over the speed limit is classified as a misdemeanor, it is technically a crime, but often such crimes are excluded from consideration in a person’s criminal record. Whether speeding is an infraction or a crime, it is usually punished by a fine. It is common for the fine to increase in proportion to the amount over the speed limit for which the ticket is written. Most jurisdictions tell the speeder the amount of the fine on the citation (ticket) and often give instructions for pleading guilty and paying the fine by mail. The offender may have to pay a special fee to contest the ticket at trial and may not be entitled to a jury trial.

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