Texas's Speeding Laws

Read about Texas’s speeding laws and the consequences of getting a speeding ticket.

Texas has two types of speeding laws: a "basic speeding law" and "prima facie speed limits." This article explains the differences between the two and the consequences of each type of violation.

Basic Speeding Law in Texas

Texas's basic speeding law prohibits driving "at a speed greater than is reasonable and prudent under the circumstances then existing." In other words, motorists must always drive at a safe speed. What a safe speed is will depend on the circumstances.

For instance, 55 miles per hour might be safe on a bright, sunny day. But if it's dark and the road is icy, going 55 miles per hour could be dangerous and a violation of the basic speeding law.

Texas's Prima Facie Speed Limits

Some states have "absolute speed limits." With absolute limits it's simple: If the sign says the speed limit is 40 miles per hour and you drive faster than that, you've violated the law.

Texas, however, uses prima facie speed limits. If you exceed a prima facie speed limit it doesn't necessarily mean you're guilty—you still have the opportunity to prove in court that your speed was safe. If you're able to do so, the judge (or jury) is supposed to find you not guilty.

Texas's prima facie speed limits include:

  • 15 miles per hour in an urban district alley
  • 15 miles per hour on beaches or county roads adjacent to a beach
  • 30 miles per hour on urban district streets
  • 70 miles per hour on numbered highways outside urban districts, and
  • 60 miles per hour on unnumbered highways outside urban districts.

Prima facie speed limits are typically posted.

Penalties for a Speeding Ticket in Texas

The penalties for a speeding ticket in Texas depend on the circumstances.

Speeding is a Misdemeanor

Speeding violations are normally misdemeanors in Texas.

Fines for Speeding in Texas

Generally, anyone convicted of speeding will have to pay a fine plus court costs. Fines and costs vary by location but usually range from about $130 to $300, depending on the amount by which the driver exceeded the speed limit.

For example, speeding tickets in Houston Texas will cost the driver:

  • $224 for exceeding the limit by 1 to 5 miles per hour
  • $234 for exceeding the limit by 6 to 9 miles per hour
  • $259 for exceeding the limit by 10 to 14 miles per hour
  • $284 for exceeding the limit by 15 to 19 miles per hour
  • $309 for exceeding the limit by 20 to 29 miles per hour
  • $234 for exceeding the limit by at least 30 miles per hour.

In all areas, the fines will be more expensive if the speeding violation was committed in a school or construction zone. Fines can also be higher if the speeding violation involved an accident.

Points for Texas Speeding Tickets

Texas no longer uses a traffic violation point system.

Texas Reckless Driving Charges

Depending on the circumstances, speeding could lead to a reckless driving conviction. Reckless driving is a misdemeanor. Convicted motorists face up to 30 days in jail and/or a maximum of $200 in fines.

Felony Charges Related to Speeding in Texas

If a speeding violation leads to the death of another person, vehicular manslaughter or homicide charges. Vehicular manslaughter or homicide is a felony. A conviction could carry prison time and thousands of dollars in fines.

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