You might be tempted to think that getting a speeding ticket is annoying, but that it's not a big deal and the easiest thing to do is just pay the fine and move on with your life. But don't be so quick to pull out your checkbook because a speeding ticket does affect your driving record, and even "minor" speeding tickets for just a few miles over the speed limit can add demerit points to your driving record.
Points Add Up
Every state has some form of points system to keep track of different categories of motor vehicle related driving offenses. Some states have short lists, while others have long detailed lists that include items such as failing to dim your lights, failing to obey a funeral procession ordinance and fishtailing.
- Points are not added to your license unless you are convicted of the violation you were ticketed for.
- Paying a ticket is an admission of guilt, which is a conviction.
- Points are tracked from the date of the violation, not the date of the conviction.
- Each state has its own point system, and when you reach a certain number of points in a specified period of time your license is usually revoked or suspended.
Many states assess a different number of points depending on how many miles over the speed limit you have driven. In New Jersey you can have your drivers license suspended for having 12 points on your driving record:
- 2 points for speeding up to 14 miles per hour over the speed limit
- 4 points for speeding 15-29 miles per hour over the speed limit
- 5 points for speeding more than 30 miles per hour over the speed limit
Illinois also has a points system, but its scale is quite different and it defines more speeding related violations that can accrue points. Here are some examples:
- 10 points for screeching/squealing tires
- 5 points for speeding up to 10 miles per hour over the speed limit
- 15 points for 11-14 miles per hour over the speed limit
- 20 points for 15-25 miles per hour over the speed limit
- 50 points for more than 25 miles per hour over the speed limit
- 5 points for driving under the minimum speed
- 20 points for driving too fast in a school zone
- 10 points for driving too fast on a bridge
Your Driving Record
In most states, the penalty points that you can earn may come off your driving record, but the actual record of your violation can stay forever. Also, some states will suspend your license for X number of moving violations within a period of time, even if the points earned by those violations would not normally add up to a license suspension.
Talk to An Attorney
Speeding tickets, particularly those that are classified as "excessive" and may also lead to charges of reckless driving, are serious events which can have a lasting impact on your driving record and can cause you to lose your license at some point in the future. You will likely see an increase in your car insurance too. Before you admit guilt and pay the ticket, call an attorney who specializes in traffic law. He or she can advise you of your options under the law, and possibly even negotiate your ticket down to a lesser offense.