Speeding Tickets in Alaska
Alaska Points – Fines – Reciprocity and Other Issues
Fighting a Speeding Ticket in Alaska
In Alaska, posted speed limits represent the absolute maximum speed at which an individual may drive. Driving faster than the posted speed limit is a strict liability crime and automatically a violation of the law, whether or not the driver knew the speed limit. Those limits, unless otherwise posted, are as follows:
- 15 miles per hour in an alley;
- 20 miles per hour in a business district;
- 25 miles per hour in a residential district;
- 65 miles per hour on interstates and parts outside of populated areas;
- 55 miles per hour on any other roadway.
In addition to these maximum speed limits, the State of Alaska has given authority to local (town/city) officials to post greater or lesser speed limits where they deem appropriate. Also, Alaska allows for minimum speed limits, which are usually posted. Motorists also must maintain a minimum speed as to not “impede the normal and reasonable movement of traffic” except when conditions warrant a slower speed.
Alaska also has a “presumed speed limit”. A presumed speed limit is one that does not focus on the actual posted speed but relates the speed that the motorist is going to whether or not it is a safe speed based on the road and weather conditions. The presumed speed limit regulation in Alaska states, “No person may drive a vehicle at a speed greater than is reasonable and prudent considering the traffic, roadway, and weather conditions.” (13 AAC 02.275(a)) In the case of such circumstances, the police officer will be given wide latitude to use his/her discretion at what is a reasonable speed.
Elements of a Speeding Charge in Alaska
There are basic elements that the state must prove to find you guilt of speeding. They must prove that you were actually speeding, they stopped or ticketed the vehicle that they observed speeding, and that it was you driving (identity). It is also important to remember that violating a posted speed limit is referred to as a strict liability crime, or as being per se illegal. This means that you have broken the law by exceeding the maximum posted speed, regardless to whether you thought it was reasonable to do so. However, reasonable speed limits (presumed speed limits) are more subjective. Generally, a police officer will observe you speeding by either matching your speed with his vehicle, using a radar or laser detection device, or aerial observation. Another method of ticketing speeders is the speed camera. Each of the methods have their flaws and may be challenged in court. Second, the state must prove that they stopped or ticketed the correct vehicle. In court, this may be done through police witnesses, the traffic camera photos, or potentially by in-dash cameras that are present in many police cruisers. Finally, they must prove the identity of the driver. Speed cameras take pictures of the vehicle, the license plate, and also of the driver as they pass through. If you are stopped by a police officer, they will take and verify your license. This information will go into the record, and that record can also be used to refresh the memory of the police officer to get a positive identity.