Most people think of speeding as a minor offense since it is relatively common. The average motorist will most likely receive a civil speeding ticket at least once in their life. However, there is another type of speeding offense that is handled way more seriously by Arizona law enforcement officials and prosecutors. This offense is known as criminal speeding.
Criminal speeding offenses carry more serious penalties than a simple speeding violation, due to the fact that state authorities consider criminal speeders more dangerous. If you have been cited with this traffic infraction, you should be aware of the penalties you could potentially face and the importance of hiring legal representation to minimize the impact of the speeding offense.
Arizona Criminal Speeding Laws
In the state of Arizona, speeding tickets are categorized according to a civil speeding violation or a criminal speeding offense. Arizona statute A.R.S. §28-701.02 explicitly details the distinctions between a civil speeding violation and a criminal speeding offense. Criminal speeding tickets can be issued if a driver is found to be doing the following actions within state lines:
- Driving over 35 mph while near a school zone
- Driving over 20 mph over a posted speed limit
- Driving over 45 mph when a speed limit has not been posted
- Driving over 85 mph at any time (even on highways)
Usually, when criminal speeding tickets are cited, they are issued to motorists who are caught going over 85 mph on the highway. Many Arizona residents commute from city to city on highways for their careers, to visit family members, or for a variety of other reasons. It is tempting to drive over the speed limit in order to reduce the amount of time it takes to arrive at the destination. However, if an individual is pulled over and cited with this relatively serious charge, the penalties may be harsh.
Criminal Speeding Penalties
Criminal speeding is considered a class 3 misdemeanor in Arizona, which may lead to a maximum of 30 days spent in a county jail, a costly fine of $500, and up to one year of probation. However, in most criminal speeding cases, motorists are penalized with a fine only. Although fines are an inconvenience, they are short-lived. Motorists are able to pay their fine and move on with their lives. A conviction, on the other hand, has a lasting effect on drivers for the rest of their life.
Arizona legislature enacted legislation that makes it impossible for drivers to expunge a criminal speeding violation. This means that once convicted, a person will never be able to remove it from their record. Anyone who has access to the internet and public records is able to see a conviction on a motorist's criminal record. A conviction has been known to hinder employment opportunities, prohibit one from receiving aid from government programs and limit access to other important resources. This is why it's important to consult with an experienced attorney. With the help of legal representation, the chances of getting a criminal speeding offense completely dismissed or reduced to a civil speeding violation are substantially increased.
Also, in the event that a person is cited with a criminal speeding ticket, they may face additional penalties that aren't necessarily enforced by the criminal justice system.
The Arizona Motor Vehicle Department tracks and documents the number of run-ins people have with law enforcement, and the number of infractions they have been cited over the course of a year. Both civil and criminal traffic tickets are recorded in this point system. A criminal speeding ticket adds three points to a person's driving record. In the event that a person gets more than 13 points in a year, their license will be suspended. Many criminal violations often result in immediate suspensions. The more points that are accumulated on a record, the longer the suspension will be for a motorist. Also, criminal speeding tickets are often coupled with other infractions, such as reckless or aggressive driving. In these cases, penalties are even harsher.
High Insurance Premiums
In addition to a conviction and the possibility of a license suspension, those cited with a criminal speeding ticket could experience an increase in insurance premiums. In addition to the many factors that influence what a given motorist pays for car insurance - age, sex, the model of the car, marital status etc. - a person's driving record is the most critical when dictating premium amounts. In the eyes of insurance providers, drivers with insurance records that aren't squeaky clean should pay more for these violations. And depending on the violation, acquiring a single ticket from an officer could raise a policyholder's car insurance premium rate by hundreds of dollars a year. According to data compiled by various insurance companies, criminal speeding could raise a motorist's premium by 15% on average. Keep in mind that these findings were calculated based on a driver who had no previous infractions on their record. People who have accrued several traffic tickets will most likely experience a more drastic increase in their insurance premium.
Experienced Traffic Attorneys
The attorneys at the Law Offices of Shawn B. Hamp understand the financial hardships that are associated with being issued a criminal speeding citation. We also empathize with the frightening reality of possibly having a conviction on your record, which, as mentioned earlier, could limit your access to important resources. With so much at stake, you should depend on an attorney who is dedicated to protecting your rights and ensuring you know all your options. The assistance and representation of a legal professional can help you reduce your penalties and fines, reduce your criminal speeding charge to a civil speeding violation or get your speeding offense completely dismissed. Contact the Law Offices of Shawn B. Hamp today for a consultation.