Most of us have received a speeding ticket at some point in our lives. Speeding tickets are generally civil in nature— meaning that they are a civil offense and not a criminal violation. However, in certain circumstances in Arizona speeding can move from a minor civil infraction to a criminal case. When this happens, you have to worry about appearing in court, hefty fines, increased insurance premiums and even possible jail time. Relax, as experienced criminal traffic lawyers, we have helped hundreds of clients charged with criminal speeding and can help.
What is Criminal Speeding?
In Arizona, you can be charged with the crime of criminal speeding under A.R.S. § 28-701.02, if you:
- Exceed 35 mph approaching a school crossing; or
- Exceed the posted speed limit by 20 mph in a business or residential district; or
- Exceed 85 mph elsewhere.
Penalties for Criminal Speeding
Criminal speeding is a class 3 misdemeanor under Arizona law. Possible punishments include:
- Up to 30 days in jail;
- Up to a $500 fine;
- 3 points on your license.
Though these are the possible punishments for criminal speeding, jail time is normally quite rare. In actuality, there are only a few judges in the state that will give jail for a first offense criminal speed ticket. Often times, if you are exceeding the speed limit to the point where judges are imposing jail, you have also been charged with other traffic crimes such as reckless driving or drag racing.
Defenses to Criminal Speeding
The rules and laws surrounding criminal speeding are fairly straightforward. Truthfully, criminal speeding tickets can be fairly difficult to defend as so much of the time it comes down to your word against the officer’s word. That said, there are effective ways to defend and negotiate criminal speeding charges.
- Attacking the Measurement Device. Whether the officer used radar detention, a lidar scanner or a pace system, the device or method requires that the officer follow strict procedures to ensure accuracy in the measurement device.
- Margins of Error. Even when speed devices and procedures are utilized correctly by law enforcement, there is still a margin of error in the result generated. Because A.R.S. § 28-701.02 is so speed specific, attacks on whether you exceeded certain thresholds can lead to not guilty findings.
- Factual Challenges. Because these cases so often end up as your word against the word of the officer, catching the officer in factual inaccuracies is essential in eroding the confidence in the officer’s testimony.
- Statutory Technicalities. Two of the three types of criminal speeding require that the state prove you were approaching a school crossing or in a business or residential district. Undermining the factual accuracy of those findings makes the portion of the statute you were charged under invalid and can lead to dismissal.
Example: If you were 20 mph over on a rural road you are not guilty if the officer charged you under subsection A2 as you are not in a business or residential district.
- Defensive Driving. While not a technical defense, under A.R.S. § 28-3392(2)(A), a judge can allow you attend defensive driving school (DDS) to have the charge dismissed entirely. A judge’s willingness to allow a person to attend DDS is normally very fact specific and some judges are more apt to allow people to participate than other judges.
Criminal Traffic Lawyer
At Feldman & Royle, we have represented hundreds of people charged with criminally speeding. Truthfully, there are many circumstances where hiring an attorney to represent you on a criminal speeding ticket probably doesn’t make sense. However, there are other times such as trials for criminal traffic offenses or to petition the court to allow DDS to have your criminal speeding ticket dismissed where an experienced criminal traffic lawyer can mean the difference between a clean record and a criminal conviction. For a free consultation and to discuss whether hiring a lawyer is right for you case, call us.
Can the Judge reduce the Charge to a Civil Speeding Ticket?
- No. Under the statute, you are expressly prohibited from having your charge reduced to a civil infraction. However, it is possible to negotiate with the prosecutor in order to have the criminal charge reduced to a civil speeding infraction.
Do I have to go to court for a criminal speeding ticket?
- Yes. Criminal Speeding is a class 3 misdemeanor and requires that you see a judge. Failure to appear in court can result in a warrant for your arrest and additional criminal charges.
What is Criminal Speeding?
- Under A.R.S. § 28-701.02, criminal speed occurs when you: 1. exceed 35 mph approaching a school crossing; or 2. exceed the posted speed limit by 20 mph in a business or residential district; or 3. exceed 85 mph elsewhere.
If I’m convicted of criminal speeding, do I have to put it on applications?
- The answer to this depends on the application but keep in mind that criminal speeding is a crime. If you are found guilty, you will have a misdemeanor on your record and man job, school and background applications require that you report a conviction for a misdemeanor offense.