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Can I Go to Jail for a Speeding Ticket in North Carolina?

If you are speeding down the highway, you may not be considering how serious the penalties can be for traffic tickets in North Carolina. Most traffic tickets only result in a traffic citation for an infraction. Some traffic tickets may result in you having placed your driver's license, being told to go to driving school, or having to perform community service. However, in North Carolina, there is also the potential that you could go to jail if the speeding violation and circumstances surrounding the event are serious enough.

The Penalties for Speeding Tickets in North Carolina

Generally, a first-offense speeding ticket is considered a class 2 misdemeanor in North Carolina. Class 2 carries a penalty of a 30-day driver's license suspension or revocation for those speeding more than 15 mph faster than the posted speed limit while traveling at or over 55 mph. If you were driving at a speed over 80 mph, the ticket could also result in you losing your license for 30 days.

In North Carolina, the number of points that will be put on your driver's license depends on how many miles you are driving above the speed limit. Your driver's license will be suspended if you have been convicted of three moving violations within 12 months. The length of the suspension depends on how many points you have accumulated.

How Would You End Up Going to Jail for a Speeding Ticket?

Jail time for speeding is more likely when a driver has been accused of reckless driving or another aggravated offense. For example, if you cause another person to become injured or the speeding accident resulted in someone's death, you could be sentenced to jail time.

When is Speeding Considered Reckless Driving?

In North Carolina, reckless driving is defined as "carelessly and heedlessly in willful or wanton disregard of the rights or safety of others without due caution and circumspection and at a speed or in a manner to endanger or be likely to endanger any person or property." Reckless driving due to speeding depends on the speed limit and how fast a driver is going. Generally, driving 15 mph over the speed limit is considered reckless driving.


The threshold for reckless driving decreases as the speed limit increases. For example, driving only 5 miles over the speed limit in a 70 mph zone can result in a reckless driving charge. Driving over 75 mph results in your license being suspended immediately, even if this is your first offense. Reckless driving is not an infraction like most traffic violations. Instead, it is a criminal charge, and you may need to appear in criminal court for speeding. If you are convicted of reckless driving, you face up to 60 days in jail in fines of up to $1,000. Driving convictions result in points on your driver's license. If you have 12 points on your driver's license within a three-year period, your license may be suspended for two to 12 months.

Contact a Speeding Ticket Attorney as Soon as Possible

If you have been charged with reckless driving in Southeastern North Carolina, you need an experienced attorney on your side. Contact Coastal South Law today to schedule a free case evaluation and learn more about how we can fight for you.

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