Can a Speeding Ticket Land You in Jail?

By Daniel Taylor, Esq. on August 05, 2014 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Most people consider speeding tickets to be a pain in the neck, not to mention a pain in the wallet.

But in some circumstances, speeding tickets can have far more dire legal consequences. A writer for car website Jalopnik found this out the hard way after having to spend three days in a Virginia jail following a speeding citation.

When can a speeding ticket land you in jail?

  • Reckless driving. In the case of Jalopnik writer Patrick George, he was cited for going 93 mph in a 55 mph zone. He was charged with reckless driving, which is typically considered driving with a willful or wanton disregard for safety and in Virginia is punishable by jail time.
  • Failing to pay your fine or show up for your court date. In some states, failing to either appear in court or pay your ticket may lead to enhanced penalties and additional charges.
    • Know someone who has been arrested or charged with a crime? Get in touch with a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney in your area today.
  • Speeding near a school, or other restricted zone. In some states, being caught speeding in near schools, military bases, construction zones or other restricted areas can lead to jail time. For example, speeding in a school zone in Arkansas is punishable by a minimum of one day in jail and a maximum of 10, even for a first offense.
  • Multiple convictions. If you have multiple speeding or other criminal convictions on your record, new speeding violations can trigger jail sentences in some states. In Ohio, three speeding tickets in a year can get you up to 30 days in jail.
  • Speeding without a license. If you are caught speeding and also found to be driving without a valid driver's license, you may be looking at more than just the typical fine depending on what state you're in.

If you are cited for speeding, a traffic ticket lawyer can fight your ticket in court and help keep you out of jail.

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