Can You Go to Jail for Speeding?

For those who are caught going over the speed limit, there can be far greater consequences than just a speeding ticket. Depending on the circumstances, you may possibly be facing a driver’s license suspension and maybe even jail time. Speeding can be much more than a minor traffic offense.

Because of the consequences, you should hire a speeding ticket lawyer. You may be able to avoid serious consequences and have your possible jail time reduced. You should contact an attorney for a free consultation.

A Law Enforcement Officer Has Discretion When They Pull You Over

When you are pulled over for suspicion of speeding, the police officer will know how many miles per hour you have been going over the speed limit. They will ask for your license and registration and run a check of your driving record.

The officer has discretion about whether they will write you a traffic citation. They may decide to let you off with a warning. However, they are less likely to not give a ticker when there are other circumstances.

The more you have been going over the speed limit, the more likely they are to give you a ticket. In addition, if you have been speeding in a school zone or a construction zone, they are also more likely to issue a citation.


Most people caught speeding do not face jail time. However if you drive too fast (or too frequently) you make face time in jail.

The Consequences of a “Regular” Speeding Ticket

A speeding violation is generally not a criminal offense in Illinois, except under the circumstances described below. When you are issued a “regular” traffic ticket, you will be fined a certain amount of money.

If are caught speeding by 1-20 miles per hour over the speed limit, the fine in Illinois is $120. That escalates to $140 for 21-25 miles per hour over the speed limit.

In addition, speeding will also affect your driving record. If you are convicted of enough violations in a short period of time, you could have your license suspended.

Points are assigned for a speeding ticket as follows:

  • 11 to 14 MPH above the speed limit – 15 points.
  • 15 to 25 MPH above the speed limit – 20 points.
  • More than 25 MPH above the speed limit – 50 points

If you have been convicted of three moving violations within a 12-month period, your license will be suspended. The length of the suspension will depend on the number of points that you have accumulated based on your convictions.

Minor Traffic Violations Do Not Result in Jail Time

Even speeding violations may not necessarily result in a jail sentence. These citations are not even considered to be criminal offenses. Nonetheless, you have the incentive to contest the charges against you in traffic court. If you have received enough convictions (and not tickets), you can lose your right to drive.

However, the average speeding ticket is not enough to send you to jail. You can even have a speeding ticket reduced if you show up in traffic court to fight the charges against you.

Increased Insurance Premiums for a Speeding Ticket

You will likely face higher insurance rates for speeding violations. The insurance company will view you as a much greater risk to insure based on your driving record.

Every insurance company will have its own formula for how it raises your rates after a speeding conviction which factors in many things. Research shows that the average premium to insure a driver after a speeding ticket will rise by 10-25%.

You will need to pay the additional fees for roughly two years. The increased insurance is in addition to the fines and penalties that you must pay the government.

Reckless Driving Charges for Speeding

There is a point where a traffic offense can actually become a crime. In Illinois, traveling more than 25 miles per hour over the speed limit is considered reckless driving. Instead of being stopped and given a traffic ticket, you can actually face arrest and a trial.

In the past, reckless driving charges kicked in when you were caught speeding by over 35 miles per hour. In response to a surge in traffic deaths, a new Illinois law lowered the threshold in late 2021.

The new law is found in Section 11-601.5(a) of the Illinois Vehicle Code. A person can be charged with a Class B misdemeanor if they are clocked at 26 mph or more over the limit.

Potential Jail Time for Reckless Driving

Reckless driving is charged as a Class B misdemeanor in Illinois. The potential penalties are as follows:

  • Up to 180 days in county jail
  • A fine of up to $1500
  • Potential suspension of your driver’s license upon conviction

The traffic court judge would have to advise you that you are facing a misdemeanor criminal charge and should consider hiring an attorney. They will make it clear that the answer to the question of can you go to jail for speeding is yes.

Given the possibility of jail time, you will definitely want to hire an attorney. The judge is not obligated to sentence you to jail time, so you will want a lawyer. Your freedom can be on the line.

Depending on how much over the speed limit you were going, and whether you were involved in an injury-causing accident, the judge could be more likely to sentence you to jail.

You May Not Want to Automatically Plead Guilty

If you have been charged with crimes, the best course of action is to always plead not guilty at first. Your attorney can either fight the charges against you or try to negotiate with the prosecutor to help you stay out of jail. As opposed to jail, you may face other penalties, but you can keep your freedom.

You could make the prosecutor prove the charges against you, but if they have proof that you were going more than 26 mph over the speed limit, it may be easier for them to prove. You would need an experienced traffic violations attorney to effectively negotiate on your behalf.

Be Careful to Respect the Speed Limit

As a driver, you should be careful to observe the posted speed limit. The posted number is the maximum that you are allowed to travel under normal circumstances. You should strongly consider traveling below the speed limit in inclement weather.

Not only can you face criminal penalties and the potential loss of your license, but you could also be civilly liable in a lawsuit.

Contact an Illinois Car Accidents Attorney

If you or a loved one have been injured in a car accident, you may be entitled to substantial financial compensation. You should contact a personal injury attorney to review the facts of your case. If the other driver was going well above the speed limit, you may even be able to get punitive damages in a lawsuit.

The law firm of Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers can help you fight for maximum financial compensation. To schedule your free initial consultation, you can send us a message online or call us today at (888) 424-5757.