Unfortunately, we see criminal speeding charges all too often and as a Class 3 misdemeanor, it can be a serious offense.
What is criminal speeding in Arizona?
In Arizona, speeding can fall into one of two categories: civil violations or criminal speeding. Civil speeding occurs when you violate the definitions of reasonable and prudent speeds as outlined in ARS 28-701. But criminal speeding charges are much harsher and there are only three ways to get charged with criminal speeding in Arizona.
- By exceeding 85 miles per hour no matter the speed limit
- By exceeding the posted speed limit by 20 miles per hour
- By exceeding 35 miles per hour approaching a school zone
As you can see, what determines excessive speeding is based on your speed, the speed limit and the location where you’re speeding. Below we will give specific scenarios for each of the ways to get criminal speeding charges below.
Exceeding 85 miles per hour no matter the speed limit
Even if you’re driving on a rural freeway or interstate highway, you can be charged with criminal speeding if you’re exceeding 85 miles per hour. We see this quite often, most drivers on the I-17, I-40 and I-10 have used speeds in excess of 85 miles per hour at one point or another. Even Arizona’s rural freeways like the 101, 202, SR 51 move very quickly and oftentimes drivers find themselves in excess of 85 mph just to keep up with the flow of traffic.
The truth is, whatever your reasons for exceeding 85 mph, there is a defense strategy that can get these charges reduced or dismissed.
Exceeding the posted speed limit by 20 miles per hour
Traveling at more than 20 miles per hour over any speed limit in the state is considered criminal speeding. If a speed limit in Phoenix is 55 mph, for example, then traveling 75 mph or more in that zone would be excessive speeding. You can also be charged with excessive speeding in a residential or business area when you’ve exceeded 45 mph and there are no speed limits posted.
Many times we have seen officers reduce the speed of the ticket to 19 mph just to avoid giving criminal speeding tickets. If you weren’t lucky enough to get pulled over by one of these more generous officers. You may be facing a criminal speeding charge.
Exceeding 35 miles per hour in a school zone
School crossings have a strict 15 mph speed limit throughout the state, and for good reason. We all want to keep kids safe. Unfortunately, most of the school zone criminal speeding cases we say occur when a driver isn’t aware that a school crossing is approaching, and may be traveling at what they consider to be “normal” speeds. This is even more common when school is in session and there aren’t any children present on or near the sidewalks or street.
If you’ve been pulled over during any one or more of these situations, you could face criminal speeding charges that can affect your ability to drive, and if you have more than one criminal speeding charge, the penalties can be even greater.
Additionally, you can be charged with other offenses, like reckless driving, while also being charged with driving excessively over the speed limit.
Is Criminal Speeding a Felony in Arizona?
Criminal Speeding in Arizona is a class 3 misdemeanor not a felony in Arizona, unless there are other offenses involved like a DUI or a hit and run. Other related charges may result in a felony but in Arizona there is no felony speeding.
What are the Penalties for Criminal Speeding in Arizona?
The penalties for criminal speeding are serious unfortunately. If you don’t hire an experienced attorney, you are looking at:
- a class 3 misdemeanor on your permanent record
- up to 30 days and jail and
- And up to $500 in fines.
But the penalties don’t end there.
- If you were arrested during the traffic stop, you’ll have to pay to have your car retrieved from where it was towed, and there may be other surcharges involved.
- The Arizona Motor Vehicle Department adds three points for a criminal speeding traffic ticket, and if you get more than 13 points in one year, your license can be suspended. The more points you collect in a year, the greater the suspensions you face.
- Additionally, your car insurance provider could increase your premiums, meaning you’ll pay more for the same coverage. These increases often last months or years, so you could be paying for your speeding ticket for much longer than you thought.
Considering these punishments, a criminal speeding ticket can be costly.
How Long Does A Criminal Speeding Ticket Stay On Your Record In Arizona?
Standard speeding tickets are automatically cleared from your motor vehicle record after a period of time. Unfortunately, criminal speeding offenses are not automatically cleared. .
In Arizona, misdemeanor and felony convictions remain on your record until age 99. As criminal speeding is a Class 3 misdemeanor, that means your criminal speeding ticket will be on your record for life and if you are ever asked if you have been charged or convicted of a misdemeanor, you must answer yes. That may sound pretty harsh for a traffic violation. However, a new law in Arizona as of January 2023, will now allow records to be sealed but you must meet certain criteria to petition the court. Your best bet is still to get your criminal speeding charges reduced or dismissed now.
While some employers may see it as a red flag, most are willing to take a criminal speeding ticket with a grain of salt when your criminal record is otherwise clean. Unfortunately if you are required to do any driving as part of your job duties an employer may choose another candidate over you.
For example, we had a pharmaceutical sales rep client who was driving to a work appointment and charged with criminal speeding in her company car. Not only was she worried that her employer would terminate her since she got charged with a misdemeanor while on the job, she was also afraid she would have to disclose it to all potential future employers, and it would affect her chances to get any sales job that required driving or a company car. Thankfully using defense techniques, our attorneys cast enough doubt on the means in which the officer obtained her speed, and the charges were completely dismissed.
Speaking of defense strategies, how do you beat a criminal speeding ticket? Here are the ways we can defend you, if you were charged with criminal speeding in Arizona.
How Do You Beat a Criminal Speeding Ticket?
Don’t confuse a criminal speeding ticket with a normal traffic ticket, these rarely can be beaten if you go at it alone. And, considering the risk if you don’t beat a criminal speeding ticket, it’s simply not worth it. If you hire the JacksonWhite team, here are a few of the defense strategies we can take depending on your case:
- Poke holes in how the officer obtained your speed, whether they used pacing, radar or Lidar. We can claim miscalibration or misuse of tools the officer was using to obtain your speed.
- Show the prosecutor they don’t have the burden of proof needed for a conviction.
- Humanize you and your situation. Most of our criminal speeding clients are professionals or students who have never been in any kind of legal trouble. Oftentimes the circumstances as to why they were speeding may impact charges being reduced or dismissed.
What are the Possible Outcomes if you Hire JacksonWhite?
Many circumstances will affect your outcome and that’s why we offer a free consultation to see if we think we can help you get the best outcome for your case. But, generally speaking here are the outcomes we have gotten for our clients facing the same charges:
- Dismissal with defensive driving school
- Voluntary dismissal from the state or prosecution
- Reduced to civil traffic ticket
- Negotiated to community service
- Negotiated to non-moving violation
What about your case? Call us 24/7 for a free consultation. Our attorneys are always ready to discuss your criminal speeding circumstances and your best defense strategy.
The criminal defense team can help you:
- Reduce your penalties and fines
- Reduce your charge to a civil speeding violation
- Get your speeding offense completely dismissed
At JacksonWhite, we’re invested in protecting your driving rights. Save money, avoid your maximum sentence and get back on the road quickly with the experienced defense team.
Call the JacksonWhite Criminal Law team at (480) 467-4370 for a free consultation on your case today.