Criminal Speeding Tickets in Arizona

Matthew Cline Sept. 7, 2022

Arizona's Strict Criminal Speeding Laws

Arizona is famous for Route 66 and its countless other wide-open roads. It’s easy to find yourself speeding between Arizona’s famous sites like Horseshoe Bend and Antelope Canyon near Page, Arizona, or between the Grand Canyon and the towns Williams or Flagstaff, Arizona. Be advised, however, that Arizona Highway Patrol officers patrol these areas every day.

Drivers — especially drivers from out-of-state — are often surprised to learn about Arizona’s strict speeding laws. Consider that in Texas, for example, there are places you can legally drive 85 miles per hour. Not so in Arizona, where driving 85 miles per hour or faster can earn you a criminal speeding ticket.

What is Criminal Speeding in Arizona?

Arizona’s criminal speeding statute (A.R.S. § 28-701.02) states that a person shall not:

  1. Exceed thirty-five miles per hour approaching a school crossing.

  2. Exceed the posted speed limit in a business or residential district by more than twenty miles per hour, or if no speed limit is posted, exceed forty-five miles per hour.

  3. Exceed the posted speed limit by more than twenty miles per hour in other locations.

Criminal speeding can leave you with a Class 3 misdemeanor on your criminal record, and may affect your insurance rates, job status, or driving privileges. While jail time is rare for criminal speeding tickets, a judge could order you to serve jail time for your criminal speeding ticket. Moreover, if you are not a United States citizen, a criminal speeding conviction could negatively impact your work visa, student visa, or other legal status in the U.S.A. Finally, for Arizona drivers, criminal speeding convictions can lead to your license being suspended.

Special Consequences for CDL Drivers

Drivers with a commercial driver's license ("CDL") are held to a higher standards than the rest of us. If you have a CDL, then an Arizona criminal speeding conviction can cause you to lose your CDL, which could in turn cause you to lose your job and your ability to earn a living. Fortunately, CDL drivers are currently in high demand and many employers are willing to pay legal fees rather than risk losing a valuable employee. If you are a CDL driver with a criminal speeding ticket, call The 928 Law Firm right away to discuss your situation with one of our experienced criminal speeding attorneys.

What to Know When You're Pulled Over for Criminal Speeding

Whether you are pulled over by highway patrol, federal marshals, local police, or even park rangers, it’s good to know what to expect during a stop.

Officers can use various tools to determine if you are speeding. Sometimes they use RADAR or LiDAR to measure your speed. Other times, an officer may simply rely on their observations and pacing to claim you were going too fast. None of these methods are fool-proof and an experienced traffic ticket lawyer can cast doubt on the accuracy of your recorded speed and potentially get your charge dismissed.

RADAR and LiDAR are often mounted in an officer's patrol vehicle, and these devices can be used while a patrol vehicle is stationary or even when the patrol vehicle is driving down the highway. However, the accuracy of these devices can be affected by objects other than your car such as other vehicles or highway signage. RADAR and LiDAR devices also need to be calibrated and tested regularly, and officers using them need appropriate training. An experienced traffic ticket attorney may be able to get your criminal speeding ticket dismissed by casting doubt on the way that a RADAR or LiDAR device is calibrated or used.

When an officer stops you, the first thing they often want to know is whether there is a legitimate reason for driving fast such as rushing someone to a hospital. Assuming there is not, the officer may ask you questions to see if you will admit to speeding. Be aware that many officers now wear body cameras and anything you say may be recorded so that it may be used against you in court later. The best strategy is usually to be polite and respectful and respectful to the officer and, if you don’t want to answer a question, simply say “Respectfully, I’d like to speak to a lawyer before I answer any questions.”

At the end of the traffic stop, the officer will either arrest you and take you into custody (which usually only happens if you have a warrant for your arrest or if the officer is citing you for something more than speeding), or they may give you a citation and send you on your way.

Your traffic or criminal citation will have information about the court that will handle your case. The ticket will likely instruct you to call the court on or before a certain date to schedule your initial appearance. If you choose to fight the charges, you can expect a series of court appearances leading up to a final trial. It’s important not to ignore or forget about your citation because failing to appear for court can result in a warrant being issued for your arrest.

Do I Need a Traffic Ticket Attorney?

The 928 Law Firm's experienced traffic ticket attorneys know exactly what to look for when reviewing evidence. We know what questions to ask the arresting officer to cast doubt on their version of the traffic stop, and we can also help you assess the overall strength of your case and the ways that a conviction might negatively impact your pocketbook, your driver's license, or your professional career.

Most traffic courts will allow The 928 Law Firm's lawyers to handle most or all court dates without you needing to appear in person. This is especially valuable for out-of-state drivers who may not have the time or money to appear in person for each court date. We also may be able to convince the prosecutor or judge to allow you to complete an online defensive driving program in exchange for a dismissal of your criminal speeding ticket. Finally, if you have no alternative but to take your matter to trial, you will want an attorney experienced in courtroom procedure and the rules of evidence.

What If This Is Not My First Speeding Ticket?

Arizona allows most convictions to be “set aside.” A set aside allows a convicted individual to petition the court to have the conviction "vacated" and dismissed. Until recently, criminal speeding was not eligible for set aside; however, Arizona lawmakers recently changed the laws so that criminal speeding convictions may now be set aside.

Contact The 928 Law Firm for a Free Consultation

If you you've received a criminal speeding ticket, or some other traffic citation, or if you'd like more information on having a past conviction set aside, contact The 928 Law Firm for a free consultation using the information below. We look forward to working with you.