Are the consequences of being issued a traffic ticket for speeding different than a charge of reckless driving?

A Driver Being Issued a Traffic Ticket for SpeedingGetting a traffic ticket for speeding is not at all like being charged with reckless driving in North Carolina. The penalties and long-term consequences are vastly different. Here are four important differences that you need to understand.

Difference #1: Infraction vs. Misdemeanor Offense

If you get a traffic ticket for speeding, the offense is a civil infraction that is punished by the payment of fines only. However, speeding can also be charged as reckless driving in certain situations, such as if you are driving 15 miles or more over the posted speed limit. Reckless driving is a misdemeanor crime, which is a much more serious offense than getting a traffic ticket.

Difference #2: Penalties Are Different

As noted above, the penalty for getting a traffic ticket is often a fine. The fines can range from $10 to $50 to up to $250 if you are caught speeding in a school or construction zone. The penalties for reckless driving are more severe and can include:

  • Jail sentence of up to 60 days
  • Fines not to exceed $1,000
  • Possible driver’s license suspension of 30 to 60 days

Difference #3: Points on Driver’s License

More points will be assessed on your driver’s license if you are convicted of reckless driving than if you are ticketed for speeding. Four points would be added to your driver’s license for reckless driving, while two or three points could be added to it for speeding. Points on your driver’s license can affect your auto insurance costs and can result in your driver’s license being suspended if you accumulate too many points within a certain period of time.

Difference #4: Permanent Criminal Record

You will have a permanent criminal record if you are found guilty of reckless driving since it is a criminal offense. This is not true for a speeding ticket. Having a permanent criminal record can have long-term consequences on your ability to obtain employment, housing, security clearance, and more.

While there are many differences between a speeding ticket and a reckless driving charge, there is one way that they are alike. With both, you need the assistance of an experienced traffic lawyer who can explain your options to you, raise your defenses, and help you achieve the best possible outcome given your situation. To learn how we can help you, call our Charlotte office to schedule your free consultation.

 

Howard W. Long, II
Charlotte Criminal Defense and DWI Lawyer