Is Speeding a Traffic Offense or a Crime?

5Is Speeding a Traffic Offense or a Crime?

If you get pulled over for speeding, you may think that you will simply get a warning or, at worst, a traffic citation. A traffic ticket will cause you to pay a fine, and you will also accumulate points on your license. Your insurance rate could go up after you get a traffic ticket. While a traffic citation will not make you happy, there are actually some circumstances in which speeding is considered a crime.


Speeding Violations in North Carolina

Generally, in most circumstances in North Carolina, speeding is a driving infraction. The most common speeding infraction is simply driving over the posted speed limit. Penalties for speeding above the posted limit are based on how fast you were going over the limit. Fines typically range from $5 to $50 plus court courts and fees. Additionally, you will get points assessed against your license for each infraction. If you accumulate 12 points in a three-year period, you will be subject to a suspension of your driver’s license.


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Speeding is a more serious infraction when you do it in a school or work zone. School zones are designated areas where the posted speed limit is reduced during specified hours on days when children are present. Fines and penalties are increased if you are guilty of speeding in a school zone. Likewise, work zones are dangerous areas, and thus, the speed limits are reduced in these areas. Failure to slow down in a work zone will result in fines of $250 or more. You will also be assessed points against your driver’s license.


Criminal Speeding Offenses

There are several speeding offenses that may be misdemeanors rather than traffic violations. It is helpful to understand the circumstances in which you could be held criminally accountable for speeding in North Carolina.


  • Excessive Speeding – If you are found to be speeding by more than 15 MPH over the posted limit or are traveling at a speed of more than 80 MPH, you could be charged with a Class 3 misdemeanor.
  • Drag Racing – Drag racing is a Class 2 or Class 3 misdemeanor. You could be charged with drag racing if you are found to have been racing with another vehicle, whether it was an arranged race or spontaneous, as long as it was willful.
  • Reckless Driving – Reckless driving is a Class 2 misdemeanor. Reckless driving is driving in a careless manner or speed that is dangerous to others or property.


Penalties for Speeding Crimes

Speeding crimes are generally misdemeanors. The penalties, if convicted, may include a variety of sentences such as fines, community service, and jail time. For example, if you are convicted of reckless driving, you could face fines of up to $1,000 and up to 60 days in jail. A conviction of drag racing could result in the seizure of your vehicle. The judge will review the severity of the crime along with other factors, such as your prior record. In addition to fines and other penalties, you could get a suspension of your driving privileges.


Speeding can be a serious concern. If you are charged with speeding, you will want to seek immediate help from an experienced criminal attorney. Call us today at Arnold & Smith, PLLC, at (704) 370-2828 to request a consultation.








The criminal defense attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC make it their mission to zealously defend their clients on a wide range of criminal matters at both the state and federal levels. These matters may include any charge from traffic offenses; DWI/DUI; drug charges (from simple possession to possession with intent to distribute and trafficking); gun permit denials; weapons offenses; and property crimes (larceny, breaking and entering, robbery, fraud, embezzlement, white collar offenses); to sexually related offenses (indecent exposure; sexual assault, crimes against nature, removal from sex offender registry); and violent crimes (domestic violence; assault; manslaughter; homicide, murder). Other legal issues that Arnold & Smith, PLLC criminal clients may be facing include restraining orders, restraining order and probation violations, expungements; appeals; and immigration issues related to criminal charges. Our criminal defense attorneys are passionate about ensuring that individuals empower themselves by being informed about their constitutional rights and stand at the ready to fight in the defense of those facing criminal charges.



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