What Are the Toughest States on Felony Speeding Offenses?

We’ve all seen it — law enforcement hidden from the roadway to catch an unexpected driver traveling over the posted speed limit. In worse circumstances, perhaps you were the one who wasn’t watching your speed and ended up with the red and blue lights behind you.

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    Depending on which state you’re pulled over in, the penalty for driving too fast could cost a pretty penny, or worse, time in jail. 

    The economic cost of speeding-related crashes in the U.S. is $40 billion annually and that’s not to mention the 9,378 fatalities it caused in 2018 alone. So, it’s no wonder why some states are cracking down on the consequences of speeding on their roadways. 

    With that, we had to know: what are the worst states to get a speeding violation?

    States with the most jail time for speeding

    Did you know you could get jail time for a first offense speeding ticket?

    On the first speeding offense in Georgia and Illinois, violators can get a maximum of one year behind bars. However, even though it is the law, many speeding tickets don’t typically result in jail time. 

    As you can imagine, the potential for jail time varies depending on the driver’s speed and circumstances. For example, if a driver is in a school or construction zone, the punishment in some states may be harsher.

    Once a driver gets into reckless driving territory, which is defined differently in each state, the consequences get much higher. In Massachusetts for example, reckless or negligent operation could land drivers in jail for 2 weeks to as long as 2 years. 

    Other states that carry up to a year in jail for reckless driving are Alaska, Rhode Island, South Dakota and Washington.

    Second and third offenses also come with harsher lower limits and higher consequences. In New York, for example, a judge can sentence someone to jail for 15 days for going 11-30 MPH over the speed limit and 30 days for going 31 MPH or more over the limit. But a second or third offense within 18 months can result in 30 days of jail time for 11 or more miles per hour over the limit. 

    Does that make you think twice about driving over the speed limit?

    States with the highest fines for speeding

    Speaking of the consequences for reckless driving, getting hit with a speeding ticket can weigh heavily on the wallet in some states. In fact, a whopping $6 billion is paid out in speeding tickets every year in the U.S.

    In Washington, the state with the highest fine for speeding, reckless driving is classified as a misdemeanor, and anyone convicted is looking at coughing up $5,250 in fines and penalty assessments. Not to mention up to 364 days in jail and a possible 30-day license suspension. 

    Here are the states with the harshest fines for speeding: 

    Beyond these states with high fines, there are 12 other states that have fines up to $1,000 for speeding tickets including Alaska, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, Nevada, North Carolina, Utah, Vermont and Virginia.

    States with the strictest license suspension laws

    Some states have laws that take their drivers off the road if they violate the speed limits. First time speed violators in Rhode Island, Hawaii and Virginia face up to one year of a license suspension for traveling faster than the posted speed limits. 

    The consequences of speeding go beyond a violation enforced by the police. Consider that speeding vehicles have a greater potential to lose control of the vehicle, inability to stop in time, increased severity of a crash and more.

    If you want to avoid the burden of some harsh consequences, keep an eye on your speedometer. 

    Sources: NHTSA 

    Drew Page

    Contributing Writer

    Drew is a writer from San Diego, California. He is a student of history and loves to learn how things work at their fundamental level. Studying a wide variety of subjects on personal finance, from both a macro and micro perspective, allows him to simplify the subject matter and paint a higher resolution picture.

    He loves learning, writing and playing music. When not surfing the web, you can find him actually surfing, in the kitchen or reading a physics book (of which he understands close to nothing).