Detroit Speeding Ticket Lawyer
Speeding is usually a civil infraction, which does not involve any jail time. There are situations, however, under which your speeding could result in misdemeanor or even felony charges that involve hefty fines and a jail sentence. In any event, getting caught driving over the speed limit will cause points to be added to your Michigan driver’s license, and a corresponding increase in your insurance premiums. For this reason, you should consider hiring a Detroit traffic attorney to assist you in fighting your speeding citation.
A Speeding Ticket Will Add Points to Your Driver’s License
Points will be added to your license any time you commit a traffic offense, and they will stay on your driving record for 2 years. The more serious the offense, the more points will be added:
- 2 points — for driving 10 mph or less over the speed limit, or for driving below the minimum speed on a highway
- 3 points — for driving between 11 and 15 mph over the speed limit
- 4 points — for driving over 15 mph over the speed limit
If you get 4 points within a 2-year period, the Secretary of State will send you a letter telling you to change your driving habits. After 8 points, you’ll receive a warning letter. Once you reach 12 points, you’ll have to appear at the Driver Reexamination office, where officials will look over your driving record and possibly suspend your driver’s license. In some cases, you may have the opportunity to get these points removed from your record by successfully completing a Basic Driver Improvement Course (BDIC).
What Are the Fines for Speeding in Michigan?
In addition to added points to your license, a speeding citation will result in fines that can reach into the hundreds of dollars:
- 1 – 5 mph over the limit—$90
- 6 – 10 mph over the limit—$105
- 11 – 15 mph over the limit—$120
- 16 – 25 mph over the limit—$140
- Over 26 mph—$155
If you fail to respond to your ticket in a timely manner, you will be considered guilty by default. If you don’t pay the fine, the Secretary of State may suspend your license.
Should I Pay the Fine or Fight the Ticket?
If you pay your fine, you are admitting that you are guilty of speeding. Since the fines are not especially high, it may not seem like a big deal. But in the long run, it could cost you. As discussed above, pleading guilty to speeding will result in points being added to your license. Eventually, this could lead to your license’s suspension and the obligation to take a driver’s education course—at your own expense. The worst consequence of pleading guilty to speeding is that your insurance rates will likely increase, which can be very costly over time.
On the other hand, if you contest your ticket at trial, you stand a chance of avoiding points on your license and a hike in insurance premiums. Even if you win, however, you’ll need to pay your lawyer and the court fees. This means that losing your trial to contest the speeding ticket can prove very costly. But if you already have points on your license, or can’t afford an increase in your auto insurance rates, it may be worth it to contest your ticket.
What if I’m an Out of State Driver?
If you’re an out of state driver, the police officer making the stop may take your driver’s license as a guarantee that you will show up on your court date or pay the fine. If you don’t want to give away your out of state license, you can give the officer $100, in exchange of which he or she will give you a receipt. This money will be returned to you when and if you comply with the court order. Michigan government does this because it does not have the authority to suspend a driver’s license issued by another state.
When Might Speeding Constitute a Misdemeanor?
In some cases, the authorities can use evidence of your speeding as evidence of your reckless driving, which is a misdemeanor that can result in up to 93 days in jail and fines reaching $500. You could get charged with reckless driving if an officer observes you driving on a highway, road, or even a parking lot in a manner that shows willful disregard for the safety of others. For example, driving 25 mpg over the speed limit in the rain may constitute reckless driving.
Can Speeding Ever Result in Felony Charges?
The answer is yes, but rarely. Felony operation of a vehicle is a similar but more serious charge than reckless driving. The prosecutor may charge you with felony operation of a vehicle where there is evidence that you drove in a way that was careless and involved the wanton and willful disregard for the safety of others. Basically, the prosecutor needs to show that your driving was deliberately reckless and posed a risk of serious bodily injury to others.
If convicted, you could face up to 2 years in prison and fines reaching $2,000. These are serious penalties, but luckily a good Detroit speeding attorney may be able to have the charges reduced to misdemeanor reckless driving, or even to a citation for speeding. The vagueness of what constitutes felony operation of a vehicle as opposed to misdemeanor reckless driving allows lawyers plenty of room for argument on your behalf.
Whether you’re facing a citation for speeding or a more serious misdemeanor or felony charge, an experienced Detroit speeding attorney can help. At Davis Law group, we’ve helped numerous clients overcome both civil infractions and criminal charges resulting from the illegal operation of a vehicle. Let us put this experience to use in your case. Call us today at (313) 818-3238 for a free and confidential consultation of your case.