Speeding Tickets Texas § 545.351, 545.352
For many people, the only contact they ever have with the legal system is a speeding ticket. A ticket can result in a misdemeanor conviction, fines, and a traffic record. It can impact employment.
Understanding speeding ticket laws is the first step to protecting your rights.
Houston Speeding Laws
Houston’s speeding laws come from the Texas Transportation Code.
- 545.351 – Prohibits traveling at a speed that is not reasonable and prudent. It is not specific to a posted speed limit but takes weather conditions, road design and traffic flow into account.
- 545.352 – Prohibits traveling more than the posted speed limit
Penalties for Speeding in Houston, Texas
Most speeding offenses in Texas as Class C misdemeanors. While jail time is not a possibility, the court assesses a fine. The City of Houston Municipal Courts use a schedule of fines to determine penalties for speeding violations:
- 1-5 mph over $224
- 6-9 mph over$234
- 10-14 mph over$259
- 15-19 mph over $284
- 20-29 mph over$309
- 30+ mph over$334
(last updated January 2020)
In addition, a moving violation results in two points assessed to your driver’s license. There are additional fines imposed for speeding in a school zone or where construction workers are present.
Harris County Justice of the Peace Courts use a traffic ticket fee schedule to issue consistent fines for offenses that occur in their jurisdiction. These fines may be different than those issued by City of Houston Municipal Courts.
Defenses for Speeding Tickets in Houston, Texas
If you are charged with speeding in Houston, Texas, you have a right to a jury or bench trial. The state must prove the allegations against you. Defenses may include the accuracy of the police officer’s measurement, improper calibration or use of measuring devices, inaccurate identification of the driver or vehicle in question or constitutional and due process violations. You have the right to representation of an attorney for your speeding ticket defense.
Deferred Disposition Texas Speeding Tickets
If you are facing a speeding ticket in Texas, deferred disposition may be a beneficial option. It allows you to avoid a conviction and a traffic record in exchange for a plea of guilty and payment of a fee.
What is deferred disposition for a Houston speeding ticket?
Deferred disposition for a Houston speeding ticket allows you to give up your trial rights and comply with conditions in exchange for dismissal of your case. You must pay a fee. If you’re 25 years old or younger, you must complete a driver’s safety course. A deferred disposition allows you to avoid a conviction and record in exchange for giving up your trial rights and completing the requirements for the deferral.
How do you get a deferred disposition for a Houston speeding ticket?
To get a deferred disposition for a Houston speeding ticket, apply before your first court date. Complete and submit a Deferred Disposition Application.
Can you get deferred adjudication if you have a CDL?
No, CLD holders are not eligible for deferred adjudication in Texas.
Does deferred disposition appear on a driving record in Texas?
A deferred disposition does not appear on a driving record in Texas.
While deferred disposition may be right for you, it is not best in all situations. If you want a deferral, you must qualify and ask for it before your first court date. An attorney for Houston speeding tickets can help you determine the best course of action and take the right procedural steps to request a deferral.
Speeding in a School Zone
What is the law for speeding in a school zone?
Texas Transportation Code § 545.357 prohibits speeding in a school zone. When an individual operates a motor vehicle in violation of the limit set for a school zone, they face an enhanced fine. A violation is a Class C misdemeanor. There is no jail time. The driver receives two points assessed to their driving record.
What is the fine for speeding in a school zone in Houston?
The fine for speeding in a school zone in Houston is up to $359.00 depending on the speed of the driver. The driver faces a penalty starting at $224 for speeding plus an enhancement of $25 because the offense occurs in a school zone. For each additional five miles traveled over the speed limit, the fine increases up to the maximum of $359 for traveling 30 or more miles over the speed limit.
Note: Offenses charged in Harris County and not specifically in the City of Houston may use a difference fee schedule.
Points on Your License for Speeding
Texas uses a point system for driving offenses. Accumulating too many points results in surcharges and may result in license suspension.
How many points do you get on your license for speeding in Texas?
You get two points on your license for speeding in Texas. If the violation results in a crash, you get three points.
How long do points remain on a driving record in Texas?
Points remain on a driving record for three years.
How many points can you get on your driving record in Texas?
In Texas, if you get six points on your driving record in a three-year period, you must pay a surcharge of $100 to the Department of Public Safety. For each additional point, you pay another $25. There are additional surcharges for operating without a license.
Moving Radar Speeding Tickets
A speeding ticket may be based on an officer’s observations, stationary radar or moving radar. When police rely on moving radar, there are questions of calibration and accuracy. It may seem like a simple traffic ticket, but the police must ensure the accuracy of radar technology and prove the reliability of scientific evidence. An experienced attorney may help you evaluate and challenge the admissibility of moving radar evidence in a Texas speeding ticket case. (See Speed-Measuring Device Operator Training, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration; Hall v. State, Tex. Ct. App. 10-07-00213-CR, 2008)
Speeding Ticket Defense FAQs
How do I fight a speeding ticket in Houston?
To fight a speeding ticket in Houston, plead not guilty at your first court appearance. You have a right to a trial, and the state must prove every element of the allegations. Be sure you understand your rights and all the implications because you have until your first court appearance to request a deferral of the charges. An attorney for speeding ticket defense can defend you.
Does a police officer have to prove that you were speeding in court?
Yes, a police officer must prove that you were speeding in traffic court. The state must prove the allegations against you beyond a reasonable doubt.
Should I just pay a speeding ticket?
A speeding ticket in Texas is a Class C criminal misdemeanor. Whether you should just pay the ticket depends on the charges, the strength of the evidence, viable defenses and your goals for litigation. There are a few ways to respond to a speeding ticket including going to trial, pursuing a deferral or negotiating a plea agreement to lesser charges.
A preliminary motion may prevent the court from accepting evidence gathered in violation of your constitutional rights. If successful, that may make it impossible for the state to pursue charges. Don’t pay a speeding ticket without speaking to an attorney about your rights.
How much is a speeding ticket in Houston, Texas?
A speeding ticket in Houston, Texas begins at $224 and increases with the severity of the violation. In addition, you face fines associated with license points and increased insurance premiums.
How do I get a speeding ticket dismissed in Houston?
To get a speeding ticket dismissed in Houston, you challenge the ticket by pleading not guilty. You may conduct a pre-trial conference with the municipal court’s prosecutor’s office and ask them to dismiss the charges. If they refuse, you may have a trial on the merits of the ticket.
Can police radar while moving in the opposite direction?
While the police can radar while moving in the opposite direction, there are some specific steps that they must follow to ensure that they accurately measure the speed of the oncoming vehicle. Traffic, the slope of a hill, structures in the way and even poor personal observations of equipment can call the reliability of evidence into question.
Fighting a Speeding Ticket in Houston
What happens if you ignore a speeding ticket in Houston?
If you ignore a speeding ticket in Houston, you have a 10-day grace period after your court date. Then, the court issues a warrant. Once a warrant is issued, you must post bail or pay the fine. You could be arrested.
If you missed a court date for a speeding ticket in Houston, our attorneys can help. Contact us for help responding in the best possible way.
Attorneys for Speeding Ticket Defense in Houston
Are you facing a speeding ticket? You have rights. At Kubosh Law, we work fast to get our clients results for a fair price. Contact us today or call (713) 322-7410 to schedule a free consultation.