Criminal Speeding in Arizona

Why Speeding is a Serious Matter in Arizona

Criminal speeding in Arizona is a Class 3 misdemeanor according to ARS 28-701.02.

Although excessive speeding may seem like a minor violation compared to DUI or other crimes, it’s still considered a criminal offense.

Read below to learn more about the criminal speeding laws in Arizona, and what you can do if you’re facing excessive speeding charges in our state.

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.

In most cases, a speeding ticket is a civil violation.

There are three main ways to get a criminal speeding ticket in Arizona:

  • exceeding 85 miles per hour no matter the speed limit
  • exceeding the posted speed limit by 20 miles per hour
  • exceeding 35 miles per hour approaching a school zone

In most cases, what determines excessive speeding is based on your speed, the speed limit and the location where you’re speeding.

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.

This is common on the I-10, I-40 and I-17 with drivers traveling between California, New Mexico, the Grand Canyon and other destinations around the state.

Exceeding the posted speed limit by 20 miles per hour

Arizona has a basic speed rule that says drivers must travel at speeds that are “reasonable and prudent” under any condition (ARS 28-701).

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.

Exceeding 35 miles per hour in a school zone

School crossings have a strict 15 mph speed limit throughout the state, and traveling at 35 mph is considered criminal speeding.

These cases often 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.

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?

Excessive speeding in Arizona can be a class 3 misdemeanor, but criminal speeding alone is not a felony.

If there are other offenses involve, like a DUI, that can result in felony charges.

But in the state of Arizona, there is technically no felony speeding.

There may be related charges, such as a hit and run, which may also change the outcomes and charges of your situation.


What are the penalties for criminal speeding in Arizona?

As a class 3 misdemeanor, criminal speeding carries up to 30 days and jail 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 when 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 do not.

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.

That may sound pretty harsh for a traffic violation, but the good news is that employers and government agencies that run a background check will be able to see the circumstances of your Class 3 misdemeanor conviction.

While some employers may see it as a red flag, most people are willing to take a criminal speeding ticket with a grain of salt when your criminal record is otherwise clean.

If your criminal speeding ticket becomes an obstacle for employment background checks, the bad news is that you’re stuck with the Class 3 misdemeanor for life.

Arizona law doesn’t allow records to be expunged, and criminal speeding tickets are not allowed to be “set aside” like many other misdemeanor convictions.

What’s my next step?

Our Mesa criminal defense team can provide superior legal counsel during your criminal speeding case.

Instead of letting a public defender control your outcome, the attorneys at JacksonWhite Law will be invested in making the most of your day in court.

You’ll have the best chance of avoiding the maximum sentence and minimizing the impact of your speeding offense.

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 to discuss your case today.

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