In general, offenses fall into one of three categories. Misdemeanors fall in the middle with regards to seriousness and penalties. They may result in jail time and/or fines. Felonies are the most grievous, with more severe consequences. Infractions, the least extreme form of violation, usually involve tickets and monetary fees, but no jail time.
Speeding is an infraction in many states. Ohio classifies it as a misdemeanor, but it does not treat every speeding violation exactly the same.
1. Speed limits
The Buckeye State separates its speed limit laws into basic, absolute and prima facie. The basic one essentially restricts motorists to reasonable speeds according to weather conditions. Absolute refers to the maximum speed a vehicle may travel. Prima facie ones are the same with a caveat. Automobile operators have the opportunity to fight against tickets by proving that their speed was reasonable regardless of posted limits. In incidents involving the first and last kind, there is more room for defense.
2. Misdemeanor levels
Ohio has five misdemeanor levels, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th and minor. Each comes with different punishments. Most speeding tickets, including first and second offenses, only count as minor misdemeanors. However, exceeding the limit a third time within the same year bumps it up to a 4th-degree misdemeanor. Any more violations of this nature that year are now third-degree misdemeanors. Driving over 35 miles per hour in a school district is automatically a 4th-degree misdemeanor.
3. Point system
The state also has a point system. Each traffic violation adds points to a person’s driving record. The accumulation of 12 or more points in two years leads to license suspension for six months.
Speeding may lead to judicial consequences. Following the permitted speed avoids these and other potentially lethal consequences.