When Can You Go To Jail for a Speeding Ticket in New York?
While it’s rare to go to jail for a speeding ticket, it can happen. Technically, a judge can send you to jail if you are 11 mph over the limit or more.
If you go 11 to 30 mph over the speed limit you can be sent to jail for 15 days. If you go 31+ over the limit you can be sent to jail for 30 days.
It’s more likely to happen if you are:
- In a school zone.
- In a construction zone.
- Involved in an accident where your speed was a factor.
- Rude or combative in court.
- Don’t show up to court or don’t pay your fine.
You can also be sent to jail for a speeding ticket if the judge deems that your driving was “unsafe for the conditions.” This is known as imprudent speed.
If you were going 20 mph over in snowy, icy weather, for example, you could spend 15 days in jail for a first offense. A second offense can send you to jail for 30 days.
There’s another type of speeding that can get you sent to jail for a lot longer. That’s racing. It’s a crime to race in New York, and you can be sent to jail for 30 days for your first offense no matter what speed you were going. If you receive another charge within one year you can be sent to jail for up to 6 months.
There’s one more time where you might be sent to jail for speeding. That’s if you’ve had multiple tickets in a short period of time, multiple license suspensions, or multiple speed related-accidents.
None of this should be confused with reckless driving. Reckless driving is a misdemeanor in the state of New York. It happens when your driving “unreasonably interferes with the proper use of the public highway” or you are “driving in a manner unreasonably endangering users of the public highway.”
See also: What is Reckless Driving in New York?
It’s a type of driving that is so egregious that it can’t be considered mere negligence anymore. The judge does have a lot of leeway in defining reckless driving, as does the police officer who offers the charge.
These are all great reasons to get a speeding ticket lawyer, especially if you’ve got points on your license already.