Overspeeding a lot

I have got today misdemeanor class 3 citation from the Officer for speeding 20mph over the speed limit, and I’m old enough. Will this affect my clearance process (TS) and employment in federal agencies as I’m looking to apply soon or it is the denial case now? Also, should I hire a lawyer right now to try it to reduce it to non-moving violation or simple speeding ticket or just go to court myself and accept judge’s rule?

A citation for 20 mph over the speed limit is reckless driving and a mandatory court appearance. If that is your only one it will not affect your ability to obtain a clearance. If you have a history of several traffic violations over a short period of time it is an indicator that you have a problem with following rules, regulations, and laws and would be an issue.


Getting the charge reduced will help you financially . . . It will not likely help with your clearance since the investigation is more interested in what actually happened than with what you plea to .

Having said that . . . See what Marko said . . .

All due respect to the moderator but: without knowing what state the original poster was cited in, there no way to know if 20 mph over constitutes “reckless driving” or if a court appearance is required. The law varies greatly from state to state. Any other reply about this particular charge is speculation.

Speaking generally as someone who got his fair share of speeding tickets back in the day, contest the charge. Hire an attorney. Do your best to get the case pleaded down or dropped. If that’s means $250 to the lawyer and $250 to the DA’s benevolent fund to get 20 over turned into a defective cowl lamp, then so be it. Clearance issues aside those citations are hard on your insurance. A conviction makes your record look worse and a lack of conviction makes your record look better. Always work all legal angles (be nice to the officer, ask the judge for traffic school in lieu of a conviction, hire local counsel to work out a deal with the prosecutor) to mitigate the citation

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Thanks for advices, calmed down me a little bit. Yes, I got citation to appear in court, however, the citation doesn’t contain Reckless driving anywhere, happened in NC. Beside this, my driving and criminal is clean, that’s the first offense ever.
I will definitely will go with attorney to make sure everything is done right.

As said prior, a reduced charge does not matter to an Adjudicator as much as what exactly occurred and what the original charge was

I am sincerely not trying to troll the more experienced posters here. But: successfully getting rid of a speeding ticket, or getting it downgraded, can absolutely help with your clearance.

Sure, the investigator may be more interested in what actually happened than what you plea to. However, with luck and skill and money many moving violations can be pushed below the $300 threshold that requires reporting on the SF-86. Thus the investigator won’t be interested because he won’t know about it because it will be outside of scope.

For example: You’re cited for going 20 over, which carries a fine of $310. (I am making these numbers up for the sake of argument.) But you’re able to cut a deal where you plead guilty to going 9 over, take a driver improvement class and pay a fine of $225. Voila, that just helped with your clearance because you don’t have to list the incident on your questionnaire.

Other ways to push the incident under the SF-86 reporting threshold is by paying a lesser fine while making a charitable contribution as directed in a plea agreement. A district attorney might agree to a plea to a lesser charge with a minimal fine if there’s also a donation to the DA’s youth sports fund or whatever. (Completely legal. Happens all the time.) There’s also the age-old question of whether the framer’s intent of the SF-86 anticipates fines AND costs - often the costs are worse than the fine - or exclusively the fine.

As someone who has gotten his share of tickets I obviously have put a lot of thought into this matter. As stated earlier, hire an attorney. Preferably local counsel. Be willing and able to appear in court in person if your attorney thinks it will help. (More than once I have traveled to another state to do this. It works.) Be contrite and pleasant and respectful to the cop and the DA and the judge. Wear a suit. Be willing to utilize any and all legal means to mitigate any moving violation that could cause a problem for your insurance or your clearance. Good luck.

@CrazyForts, While I follow your logic, I am not in agreement with it for few reasons.

First, a mandatory court appearance is automatic reportable under Section 22. If the ticket does not contain an amount,there is a presumption that the ticket carries maximum “punishment.” This would be at least $300; thus, it is reportable.

Second, using your example of $310. This is automatic reportable per section 22. Section 22 doesn’t ask for “plead down”/final payable amount. Third, adjudicator is the one who makes the determination and adjudicator is more interested in the original amount rather than the plea. Fourth, minor issues like traffic violations, I believe, are part of new continuing evaluation program. So, adjudicator will see those. Fifth, by the appearance of “gaming” the system, applicant runs the risk of lack of candor. Government doesn’t take Guideline E lightly.


Pushing the fine below $300 doesn’t mean the record won’t be pulled. When state law enforcement and court records are “searched”, we don’t look for just the specific incident — but any incident - and we search even when a charge is not listed.

Just today - two more Subject’s “forgot” to list required legal actions I found through statewide court record searches… one because he believed plea bargaining a DUI to reckless driving (a red flag to an investigation) means the arrest/charge/incident didn’t have to be reported.

Believe it or not, the background investigation program is not naive enough to believe that everything is reported on the SCA/SF86.

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I’m always surprised that people seem to think we’re not going to check the most basic of records.

I know I shouldn’t seem surprised but I am.


Thank you for your responses. The legal discussion is still on-going, lawyer is hired!
Not sure if it suppose to take that long, 3 month, 2 rescheduled court hearings, next in NOV.