ARS 28-701: Reasonable and Prudent Speed in Arizona


If you have been caught driving too fast in Arizona, you are not alone. In fact, in 2016 there were just under 17,000 speeding tickets issued throughout Arizona, including many violations of ARS 28-701.

In Arizona, you can be given a civil speeding violation or criminal speeding charge, though most speeding violations in the state are civil. Being charged with driving faster than what is considered reasonable and prudent speed is a common but serious violation in Arizona. If you’ve been given a civil speeding violation, continue reading below to find out more about your options moving forward.

ARS 28-701 Explained

According to ARS 28-701, Arizona’s statute for speeding, a person shall not drive a vehicle at a speed that is greater than the reasonable and prudent speed of the road, which may cause a potential hazard to others on the road under the conditions. A driver disobeys this law when they drive faster than the posted speed limit or if they fail to reduce their speeds in times of high traffic or rough weather.

From ARS 28-701:

A person shall not drive a vehicle on a highway at a speed greater than is reasonable and prudent under the circumstances, conditions and actual and potential hazards then existing. A person shall control the speed of a vehicle as necessary to avoid colliding with any object, person, vehicle or other conveyance on, entering or adjacent to the highway in compliance with legal requirements and the duty of all persons to exercise reasonable care for the protection of others.”

Not all cases of being pulled over for driving faster than is reasonable and prudent end in a criminal charge in Arizona. Most of the time, when the speed is below a certain threshold the driver only ends up with a warning or a civil violation which results in a fine, but if the speed is too high the driver can be charged with a criminal offense.

Excessive speeds are further explained by ARS 28-701.02. If you’re pulled over for going more than 20 mph over the posted speed limit, you may be charged with criminal speeding in Arizona.

The Speeding Ticket Process

When you receive a speeding ticket, it is important to keep the ticket in a safe place and check for the court date that will be listed on it. This court date, which is often referred to as a civil arraignment, is the date by which you must take one of three options and if you do not perform any of these actions you must show up to the court date or else your license will be suspended.

By the court date you should do one of the following:

  1. Pay the fine
  2. Attend a defensive driving diversion class (must be completed 7 days prior to the court date)
  3. Request a traffic hearing to fight the charges

If you choose to fight the speeding ticket, you have the right to defend yourself, but it is best to hire an experienced criminal defense attorney to assist you.

Possible Defenses for ARS 28-701 Cases

There are a number of possible defenses that can be used for speeding cases in Arizona, here are three commonly used defenses:

  • Contesting how your speed was determined. Far too often officers are using faulty or uncalibrated detectors which can give incorrect readings.
  • Contesting the officer to ensure your car was the one the radar detector was pointed at and that your car simply looked like the car the radar detected was pointed at
  • Claiming that you were faced with an emergency and trying to prevent further harm or damage to yourself or an individual in your car

If you have been charged with driving faster than is reasonable and prudent, contact JacksonWhite Law today, to meet with an experienced speeding defense attorney.

Arizona’s Point System for Drivers

Arizona operates on a point based system to ensure drivers on the road are driving responsibly. If you are cited for speeding you face the following points being added to your license:

  • 2 points for a violation of any provision of § 28-701
  • 8 points for either reckless driving or racing on the highways
  • 2 points for any other violation

Speeding violations of ARS 28-701 are some of the most common reasons for receiving points against you, and if you accumulate more than 8 points on your license within 12 months, you face the following penalties:

  • Your driver’s license may be suspended for up to one year
  • You may be required to attend traffic school
  • You may be required to pay fines

Can I go to traffic school for a ticket for speed greater than reasonable and prudent?

It is possible to go to defense driving school – or traffic school – for civil speeding.  To be eligible, your violation must appear on this list of eligible violations, and you must not have attended a defensive driving course within the last 12 months. There are other eligibility requirements you must meet in order to attend defensive driving school that you can find here.

Get Help with Your ARS 28-701 Violation

Our criminal defense team at JackonWhite Law has assisted many clients with civil and criminal speeding matters, with great success helping clients receive reduced penalties for their charges.


Call the JacksonWhite Criminal Law team at (480) 467-4370 to discuss your case today.

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