Following a shutdown of Missouri courts because of the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic, the Missouri Supreme Court is allowing Missouri courts to begin re-opening on May 18. Individual courts will determine for themselves when to re-open and what in-person activities will be permitted. We will notify our clients individually about whether they should attend their next court date.

In the meantime, we remain OPEN and hard at work on our clients’ cases. Although we cannot conduct “open office hours” or in-person meetings at this time, we are meeting with clients and prospective clients by video conference. Our telephones will continue to be answered 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Is Speeding a Misdemeanor?

If you ‘re ever busted for going a little heavy on the gas pedal, you ‘ve probably wondered—once you ‘ve stopped grinding your teeth and beating the steering wheel in frustration—how it will affect your permanent record. Depending on where you are, it can get a little confusing as to whether or not speeding is a misdemeanor or just an infraction. and if you are going to need a criminal defense lawyer.

This answer will vary from state to state and even from municipality to municipality. Take Missouri, for example. Under Missouri state law, exceeding the posted speed limit by five miles per hour or less is an infraction and will not result in any points being assessed against the driver ‘s license (§ 304.009, RSMo). The maximum penalty for an infraction is a fine of $400 (§ 558.002.1(6), RSMo) and therefore, for five miles per hour or less over the speed limit, speeding is NOT a misdemeanor.

However, exceeding the posted speed limit by more than five miles per hour is a Class C misdemeanor (§ 304.010.11, RSMo). The maximum penalty for a Class C Misdemeanor is 15 days in jail (§ 558.011.1(8), RSMo) and a fine of $750 (§ 558.002.1(4), RSMo). The Department of Revenue will assess three points against a person ‘s driver ‘s license for this offense (MO DOR Form 899).

Exceeding the posted speed limit by more than 20 miles per hour is a Class B misdemeanor (§ 304.010.11, RSMo) and can carry a punishment of six months in jail (§ 558.011.1(7), RSMo.), and a fine of $1,000 (§ 558.002.1(3), RSMo). The Department of Revenue will assess three points against a person ‘s driver ‘s license for this offense (MO DOR Form 899).

Driving at a rate of speed that endangers the property or safety of another is itself a separate criminal offense—regardless of the posted speed limit. This is often called “Driving Too Fast For Conditions” or “Reckless Driving,” and in Missouri, it is called “Operating a Motor Vehicle in a Careless and Imprudent Manner,” (§ 304.012, RSMo). Operating a Motor Vehicle in a Careless and Imprudent Manner is a Class B Misdemeanor, unless it involves an accident, in which case it is a Class A Misdemeanor. The maximum penalty for a Class A Misdemeanor is one year in jail (§ 558.011.1(6), RSMo), and a fine of $2,000 (§ 558.002.1(2), RSMo). The Department of Revenue will assess four points against a person ‘s driver ‘s license for Careless and Imprudent Driving (MO DOR Form 899).

Speeding in a construction or “Travel Safe Zone” does not change the offense level; however, courts are required to impose enhanced fines. Specifically, speeding in a construction zone requires an additional fine of $35 for a first offense and $75 for a second offense (§ 304.582.1, RSMo). Speeding in a construction zone with workers present requires an additional fine of $250 for a first offense and $300 for a second offense (§ 304.582.2, RSMo).. Speeding in an area that the Department of Transportation has designated as a “Travel Safe Zone” requires a fine of double the amount otherwise authorized by law (§ 304.590.3, RSMo).

For county and municipal streets, county and municipal codes (rather than state law) determine the speeding regulations. County and municipal codes vary, so each individual code must be consulted. To reach for a generalization, most county and municipal codes in Missouri consider speeding to be a misdemeanor, without reference to a class of misdemeanor. By state law, as long as the motorist was not more than 19 miles per hour over the speed limit and the violation did not occur within a construction or school zone (§ 479.350(3), RSMo), the maximum penalty for speeding on a county or municipal street is $225, and jail time is not authorized (§ 479.353, RSMo.), although many municipal codes purport to authorize more severe penalties. If the motorist was more than 19 miles per hour over the speed limit or the violation occurred within a construction or school zone, then the state cap does not apply, and the penalty can be whatever the count or municipal code authorizes – usually, up to 90 days in jail and a $1,000 fine. The Department of Revenue will assess two points against a person ‘s driver ‘s license for speeding on a county or municipal street (MO DOR Form 899).

To summarize, as a matter Missouri state law, exceeding the speed limit by more than five miles per hour IS a misdemeanor, and exceeding the speed limit by five miles per hour is NOT a misdemeanor. And on county and municipal streets, speeding is generally a misdemeanor, although individual county and municipal streets must be consulted.

Contact
Us

X

Contact