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Can you lose your license for speeding?

Speeding is a common traffic violation that many drivers commit at some point. While most speeding offenses just result in a fine, repeated or excessive speeding can lead to your driver’s license being suspended or revoked.

What is considered speeding?

Speeding refers to exceeding the posted speed limit on a particular roadway. Speed limits are set by state and local transportation agencies based on engineering studies that consider factors like road design, weather patterns, and traffic volumes.

Exceeding the speed limit – even just 1 or 2 mph over – qualifies as speeding from a legal perspective. However, most police officers allow a buffer of 5 to 10 mph over the limit before pulling drivers over. Anything over 10 mph is considered excessive speeding and is more likely to get you a ticket.

What are the penalties for speeding?

For a first minor speeding offense, the typical penalties are:

  • Fine between $50 to $200 depending on the state
  • Points on your license – usually 3 points per 10 mph over the limit

The fines and points increase for subsequent speeding offenses within a certain time period (usually 12-36 months). Other possible penalties include:

  • Mandatory court appearance
  • Increased insurance rates
  • Traffic school

Excessive speeding offenses can also be charged as reckless driving or racing, which are criminal misdemeanors. This may involve much higher fines and jail time.

When does speeding lead to a suspended license?

Most states follow a point system that tracks traffic violations on your driving record. Points remain on your license for 1-3 years and accumulate with new offenses.

If you reach a certain point threshold within a given time frame, the DMV can suspend your license. The exact point thresholds vary by state but typically fall in the range of:

  • 12-15 points within 12 months
  • 18-20 points within 24 months

Since speeding citations are usually 3 points, you could have your license suspended after:

  • 4 speeding tickets within 12 months
  • 5-6 speeding tickets within 24 months

However, some states have stricter penalties specifically for excessive speeding offenses over 15-20 mph over the limit. Just one or two tickets for extreme speeding may lead to an automatic license suspension.

When can your license be revoked for speeding?

While license suspension is usually temporary, you may face permanent license revocation for certain speeding offenses. Reasons your license could be revoked for speeding include:

  • Multiple excessive speeding tickets showing a pattern of reckless behavior
  • Extreme speeding over 25-30 mph over the limit
  • Speeding at over 100 mph which may be charged as “super speeder” in some states
  • Causing an accident while speeding that results in serious injury or death
  • Speeding in a school zone
  • Speeding with a suspended or revoked license

Depending on the circumstances, your license can be revoked for 6 months up to a lifetime in the most serious cases. Getting your license reinstated after revocation usually involves a hearing and taking driver improvement courses.

Are there any defenses against a speeding ticket?

While the evidence is fairly straight-forward in most speeding cases, there are some legal defenses you can raise to fight a speeding ticket including:

  • Radar gun calibration – Police radar guns need regular calibration and the officer’s training should be up-to-date.
  • Incorrect speed limit – Make sure the posted speed limit matches state law requirements.
  • Impossible identification – If conditions made it impossible for the officer to identify you clearly.
  • Emergency – You can argue there were emergency circumstances like rushing someone to the hospital.

Having an experienced traffic lawyer helps evaluate defenses and negotiate with the prosecutor, possibly getting charges reduced or dismissed.

How to check your driver’s license points

To check your license status and number of points accumulated, you can:

  • Check online – Most DMVs offer an online service to view your driving record.
  • Request a copy by mail – Fill out a drivers record request form through the DMV.
  • Visit in-person – Go to your local DMV branch and request a copy of your record.

Review it at least annually and after any traffic citation to stay on top of your points. Being aware of your driving record can help you avoid license suspension or revocation.

How to reduce your risk of a speeding suspension

To keep your driving privileges intact, make sure to:

  • Obey all speed limits – Never exceed speed limits, allowing for a small 5 mph buffer.
  • Adjust driving habits – Give yourself extra time so you aren’t tempted to speed.
  • Avoid frequent violations – Space out tickets over a longer time frame.
  • Don’t speed with existing points – Adding points on top of a poor driving record makes suspension more likely.
  • Complete traffic school – You may be able to remove 1 point per class.
  • Check record regularly – Monitor your violations and points so you know if you’re at risk.

Following these guidelines and driving defensively can help keep your license clear of excessive points from speeding tickets.

How to regain your license after a speeding suspension

If your license does get suspended for speeding tickets, here are the steps to get it reinstated:

  1. Serve the full suspension term – Wait out the entire period you are not allowed to drive. Driving in violation of the suspension will extend the duration.
  2. Pay tickets and reinstatement fees – Clear up any unpaid speeding tickets and pay the DMV fees to process your license reinstatement.
  3. File SR-22 insurance – Your insurance company must file an SR-22 form with the DMV proving you have active insurance coverage.
  4. Complete driver improvement course – You may have to pass a defensive driving class or traffic school.
  5. Request license reinstatement – Submit the appropriate DMV form and documentation so your privileges can be restored.
  6. Get new license – Once approved, you will have to visit the DMV to get a new physical driver’s license.

Following the reinstatement process gets your license restored so you can legally drive again. Going forward, you need to demonstrate responsible driving behavior.


Speeding is a common driving offense but excessive speeding can put your license at risk. Many states impose license suspensions after accrual of 12-20 license points, which can happen after just a few speeding tickets. Permanent revocation may even occur depending on the circumstances. To preserve your driving privileges, obey posted speed limits and maintain a clean driving record over time. If your license is suspended, fulfilling the reinstatement steps can get you back on the road legally.