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If you drive a vehicle, chances are good that you’ve been guilty of speeding at some point in your driving life. Arizona statute 28-701 defines reasonable and prudent speed as well as excessive speed, commonly known as criminal speeding. This page defines criminal speeding in Arizona as well as how state statute defines reasonable and prudent speed. We also look at the penalties for excessive speed in Arizona.

What Constitutes Criminal Speeding in Arizona?

Arizona categorizes speeding violations as either civil or criminal. Most cases fall under the civil speeding umbrella. The state defines each of the following scenarios as criminal speeding:

  • Driving 36 miles per hour or faster when approaching a school crossingDPS motorcycles, criminal speeding in arizona, Liberty Law, Scottsdale AZ
  • Driving faster than 45 miles per hour in an area with no posted speed limit
  • Exceeding the posted speed limit by 21 miles per hour or more when driving in a residential or business district
  • Driving in excess of 85 miles per hour in any location, even when the posted speed limit is 75 miles per hour

If law enforcement charges you with criminal speeding for one of the above violations, it is a class 3 misdemeanor. Secondary charges are also common, such as reckless driving.

Does Arizona Have Felony Speeding Laws?

In a word, no. Even criminal speeding is categorized as a misdemeanor, not a felony. However, if the stop involves another offense, such as DUI, the driver may face felony charges. These are related to the other violation, though, not the charge of excessive speed.

It’s important to note that additional charges contribute to higher fines and penalties.

How Does Arizona Define Reasonable and Prudent Speed?

Before the state can define speeding, it must first define what it calls reasonable and prudent speed.

  • If you are approaching a school crossing and there is no posted speed limit, the speed limit is 15 miles per hour
  • In a business or residential district with no posted speed limit, the speed limit is 25 miles per hour
  • In all other locations without a speed limit, the speed limit is 65 miles per hour

If your speed exceeds either the posted speed or the state’s definition of reasonable and prudent speed BUT falls below the criteria for criminal speeding, you face civil speeding charges.

Class 3 Misdemeanor Penalties for Criminal Speeding

Penalties for a class 3 misdemeanor include up to $500 in fines and 30 days in jail. In addition, a criminal speeding ticket adds three points against your driver’s license. If you exceed 13 points in a 12-month period, your license may be suspended.

You may also have to attend Traffic Survival School if any of the following apply to you:

  • This is your first moving violation AND you are younger than 18
  • You received an additional ticket for failure to yield at a stop sign or red light
  • You received an additional citation for DUI
  • The three points you get for this ticket put your 12-month total at nine or higher

Secondary penalties vary according to your particular situation. For example, if you were arrested during the traffic stop, your vehicle will be towed and impounded. Expect to pay at least $300 to free your vehicle from the impound lot. It could be much higher, depending on how long it remains there. You may also face an increase in rates for your auto insurance.

There may additional consequences for drivers who have a commercial driver’s license (CDL). These vary according to whether you face additional charges. And, of course, by employer, as some employers demand a clean driving record.

Can an Attorney Help?

If you face criminal speeding charges, it’s worth talking to an attorney. At Liberty Law, our goal is getting all charges dismissed. At a minimum, though, we work to have charges reduced to civil speeding. Not only does this lower your penalties, but it can save your license and even your job if you have a CDL. To schedule your consultation, call us at (480) 305-2121 or complete our contact form.