If you haven’t received a speeding ticket in the past decade or so, you might be surprised to discover that fines have grown considerably. In some states, speeding fines are now double or even triple what they were just a few years ago. Not only that, the license penalties for speeding have increased in many places, not to mention the rate at which an insurance company will increase your rates when you get points on your license.
Still, some places are worse than others. Here are some of the most expensive states to get a speeding ticket:
- Georgia. Georgia is one of several states that have a so-called “superspeeders” law. This law automatically adds a state fine of $200 on top of any speeding ticket you get where you’re going over 75 miles per hour. This limit increases to 85 miles per hour on a freeway. This comes on top of the fine that the local municipality levies, which can in some cases be as high as $1,000. Bottom line: if you’re going to speed in Georgia, keep it under these limits.
- Illinois. Illinois is known for its hefty speeding fines. If you’re pulled over for speeding, you can be fined $1,000, depending on how far you’re going over the limit. This includes first-time offenders.
- Michigan. There are several states that have what’s called a “driver responsibility fee system.” What this means is that, each time you get a speeding ticket, you’re getting dinged twice: once from the municipality, and once from the state. When combined, fees can approach $1,000 for a single ticket. (Michigan is one state where this system applies not only to speeding, but also to reckless driving, DUI, and other traffic-related offenses.) In addition, Michigan charges you a fee each year if you have a certain number of points on your license.
- Nevada. Nevada – with its many open desert highways – is a tempting place for travelers to try to make up time by speeding. As in North Carolina, many jurisdictions charge $1,000 or more for first time speeders, depending on how fast you were clocked.
- New Hampshire. This New England state also sees speeding ticket fines near the $1,000 mark, and has at various times considered the same kind of “superspeeder” legislation found in Georgia.
- New Jersey. Like Michigan, New Jersey uses the “driver responsibility” system. If you get one ticket in New Jersey, you’re going to face charges both from the local authorities as well as from the state.
- North Carolina. North Carolina is an interesting mix. Under state laws, local jurisdictions can charge as much as $1,000 for a first-time speeding ticket. While not every jurisdiction is going to have these kinds of hefty fines, many do.
- Tennessee. Tennessee isn’t necessarily known for its high fines, but it is known for its efficiency in catching speeders. One small city in Tennessee installed speed cameras, and issued more than 40,000 tickets in less than a year and a half. That worked out to $1.6 million in traffic fines for the city – several times more than what the city brought in via property taxes over the same period.
- Texas. Texas is another “driver responsibility” state. Local fines in Texas can be hefty, often over $1,000; and that’s before the state takes their share on top.
- Virginia. Virginia’s driver responsibility laws were repealed in 2008, but there are those fighting to get them back on the books. If you’re speeding on a state highway, you’re going to get a minimum fine of $300, no matter how fast you’re going over the limit. What makes Virginia more interesting (and more expensive) is its reckless driving law. If you’re clocked going just 10 miles an hour above the speed limit, you can be charged with reckless driving. If you’re going over 80, you’re automatically charged with reckless driving. Reckless driving can be a felony charge, which means a speeding ticket turns instantly into a criminal record.
Some states tend to be a little kinder, giving fewer tickets and having easier fines. Wyoming, Idaho, Montana, Nebraska, and Kentucky, for example, are all known for their relatively low speeding penalties.
Do a little legwork before you travel. Know what to expect in the states you’re going through, and decide whether or not it’s worth pushing your luck to gain a little bit of extra time. Chances are that, at least in these 10 states, you’ll want to keep that speedometer wrapped right around the posted limit.
Scott Desind is a Los Angeles traffic ticket attorney, helping drivers in the Los Angeles area get their driving tickets dismissed. With over 20 years of combined, Scott Desind and his Traffic Attorneys have a 90% success rate in beating tickets.