If you are charged with speeding in the State of Texas, it is a traffic violation. While a traffic violation of speeding can leave you with significant fines and/or license suspension, revocation, or even cancellation, you cannot be incarcerated for speeding alone. That said, however, speeding can lead to other charges that can result in jail time, and it is useful to understand this distinction. The best way to protect your rights and make sure that you minimize the consequences you are facing after getting a speeding ticket is to contact a Killeen criminal defense lawyer as soon as you can.
Killeen Speeding Tickets
If an officer stops you for exceeding the speed limit, he or she likely not arrest you but instead will issue a ticket. When you sign the ticket, it amounts to a written promise that you will appear in court on the appointed date. Refusing to sign, however, could lead to arrest. Further, if you fail to show up for your court date (or fail to pay your traffic fine), it is a misdemeanor, and the judge can issue a warrant for your arrest.
If the speeding incident is deemed by the officer to reach the level of reckless driving, it can lead to arrest. Reckless driving refers to actions that demonstrate a willful or wanton disregard for someone else’s safety or property. Reckless driving involves a deliberate and conscious indifference to the safety of others. Speeding that rises to the level of reckless driving is, therefore, generally quite extreme. A reckless driving conviction is a misdemeanor that can carry a $200 maximum fine and/or jail time of up to 30 days.
If your speeding incident is determined to have caused an accident that leaves someone dead, the risk of jail time increases dramatically. Such charges include:
Vehicular Manslaughter – Vehicular manslaughter means recklessly causing the death of another with one’s vehicle, and it is a second-degree felony that carries a sentence of 2 to 20 years in prison and can cost up to $10,000 in fines. Vehicular manslaughter hinges on recklessness, which means that the driver was aware of the danger posed by his or her actions.
Criminally Negligent Homicide – Criminally negligent homicide refers to negligently causing the death of another. The distinction here rests on the perpetrator being negligent in action – though the driver should have been aware of the risk posed, he or she, nevertheless, was not. A conviction can carry a jail term of six months to two years and/or fines of up to $10,000.