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Speeding

Speeding tickets are easily the most common ticket issued in the United States. In every state, a traffic ticket can be issued to drivers who violate laws restricting the speed at which a vehicle may travel.

Generally, states have two types of laws related to speed restrictions:

  • Laws that set specific maximum speed limits in certain settings. For example, a state may declare different maximum speeds at which a vehicle may be operated on a state highway (65 m.p.h.) and in a school zone (25 m.p.h.)
  • Laws that require drivers to operate their vehicles at a speed that is reasonable under the circumstances. For example, even if the posted maximum speed limit on a rural highway is 65 m.p.h., driving on that highway at 65 m.p.h. in a torrential rainstorm at night could result in a speeding ticket

Absolute, Presumed, and Basic Speed Limits

There are essentially three types of speed limits being enforced around the country: "absolute," "presumed," and "basic" speed limits. As you might imagine, the defenses differ for each one.

  1. Absolute speed limits are the most common type of speed law. The sign will clearly state 55 mph, so if go 56 mph or faster, you have violated the law.
  2. Presumed speed-limit violations are more nuanced. In states that use this system (Texas, for example), it's legal to drive over the posted limit as long as you are driving safely. Say, for instance, you are driving 40 mph in a 35-mph zone, you are "presumed" to be speeding. But if it is 7 a.m. on a clear, dry morning with no other cars on a wide, straight road, and you can convince the judge that you were driving safely given those conditions, you could well be acquitted.
  3. The basic speed law theory states that you can be charged with speeding by violating the “basic” speed law, even if you were driving below the posted speed limit. An officer must simply decide that you were going faster than you should have been, considering the driving conditions at the time.

See Fight a Speeding Ticket: Is Speeding Always Speeding? to learn more.

State Speeding Laws

Click on the link(s) below to read the statute that corresponds with your state's speeding laws and penalties. 

State Statute
Alabama Reasonable and prudent speed
(AL Code section 32-5A-170)
Maximum limits
(AL Code section 32-5A-171)
Alaska Negligent driving
(AK Statutes section 28.35.410)
Arizona Speed Restrictions
(ARS Title 28; scroll to sections 28-701 to 28-710)
Arkansas Speed Limits
(AR Code Title 27, Ch. 51, Subchapter 2)
California Speed Laws, Generally
(California Vehicle Code sections 22348 - 22366)
Other Speed Laws
(California Vehicle Code sections 22400 - 22413)
Colorado Speed limits
(CRS section 42-4-1101)
Connecticut Speeding
(GSC section 14-219)
Delaware Speed Restrictions
(DE Code Title 21, Ch. 41, Subchapter VIII)
District of Columbia Speeding and reckless driving
(DC Code Title 50, Ch. 22, Subchapter I; scroll to section 50-2201.04)
Florida Unlawful speed
(FS section 316.183)
Georgia Speed limits
(Georgia Code section 40-6-181)
Hawaii Speed restrictions; basic rule
(HRS section 291C-101)
Noncompliance with speed limit prohibited
(HRS section 291C-102)
Idaho Basic rule and maximum speed limits
(ID Statutes section 49-654)
Illinois Speed Restrictions
(625 ILCS 5/11-601 to 5/11-611)
Indiana Speed Limits
(Indiana Code section 9-21-5)
Iowa Speed Restrictions
(IA Code Title VIII, Subtitle 2, Ch. 321; scroll to sections 321.285 to 321.295)
Kansas Maximum speed limits
(KS Statutes section 8-1558)
Kentucky Speed -- Secretary authorized to increase speed limit in certain areas by official order -- Parking [PDF] (KRS section 189.390)
Fines for speeding -- Doubling of fines in school areas with flashing lights [PDF] (KRS section 189.394)
Louisiana Maximum speed limit
(LRS section 32:61)
General speed law
(LRS section 32:64)
Maine Rates of speed
(MRS Title 29-A section 2074)
Maryland Speed Restrictions [PDF]
(MD Transp. Code Title 21; scroll to sections 21-801 et seq.)
Massachusetts Speed limits
(90 MGL section 17)
Speed limit: Massachusetts Turnpike
(90 MGL section 17A)
Michigan Speed restrictions
(MI Vehicle Code sections 257.627 to 257.633)
Minnesota Speed limits, zones; radar
(MN Statute section 169.14)
Mississippi Restrictions on Speed
(MS Code Title 63, Ch. 3, Article 11)
Missouri Definitions, maximum speed limits, violations, penalty
(MRS section 304.010)
Montana Speed restrictions
(MCA section 61-8-303)
Nebraska Speed limit violations; fines
(R.R.S. Nebr. section 60-682.01)
Nevada Restrictions on speed
(NRS sections 484B.600 to 484B.633)
New Hampshire Speed limitations: basic rule and maximum limits
(NH Statutes section 265:60)
New Jersey Rates of speed
(NJ Statutes sections 39:4-98 to 39:4-98.9)
New Mexico Speed regulation
(NMS section 66-7-301)
New York Speed restrictions
(NY Vehicle & Traffic Code Article 30; click VAT and scroll to Article 30)
North Carolina Speed restrictions
(NCGS section 20-141)
North Dakota Speed restrictions
[PDF] (ND Code Chapter 39-09)
Ohio Speed limits
(ORC section 4511.21)
Oklahoma Speed limits
(OK Statutes Title 47; scroll to section 47-11-308a)
Oregon Rules of the Road: Speed
(OR Vehicle Code; scroll to sections 811.100 to 811.127)
Pennsylvania Rules of the Road: Speed Restrictions
(PA Vehicle Code Chapter 33; scroll to Subchapter F)
Rhode Island Speed Restrictions
(RI Code Chapter 31-14)
South Carolina Restrictions on Speed
(SC Code Title 56, Ch. 5; scroll to Article 11)
South Dakota Speed Regulation
(SD Codified Laws Chapter 32-25)
Tennessee Speed limits
(TN Code section 55-8-152)
Texas Speed restrictions
(TX Transportation Code sections 545.351 and 545.352)
Utah Speed Restrictions
(UT Code sections 41-6a-601 to 41-6a-609)
Vermont Local speed limits
(23 VSA section 1007)
Basic rule and maximum limits
(23 VSA section 1081)
Virginia Maximum speed limits generally
(VA Code section 46.2-870)
Washington Speed restrictions: basic rules and maximum limits
(RCW section 46.61.400)
West Virginia Speed limitations generally; penalty
(WV Code section 17C-6-1)
Wisconsin Speed restrictions
(WI Code Chapter 346; scroll to section 346.57)
Wyoming Speed Regulations
(WY Statutes Title 31, Ch. 5, Article 3)

Get Legal Help With a Speeding Ticket

Speeding is the most common traffic ticket in most U.S. jurisdictions, and they typically are paid without incident. However, motorists sometimes face license suspension or other serious sanctions from a speeding ticket, including insurance rate hikes, particularly if the offense is considered "excessive" or the motorist has had prior traffic offenses. If you would like to get the best outcome possible for your speeding ticket, consider speaking with a traffic attorney in your area.

Next Steps

Contact a qualified traffic ticket attorney to help you get the best result possible.

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