Speeding Tickets in California
California Points – Fines – Reciprocity and Other Issues
Fighting a Speeding Ticket in California
Absolute Speed Limits in California
California is a presumed speed limit state. This means that the posted speed limits are not necessarily absolute. However, there are still statutory and posted speed limits, they are as follows:
- The maximum speed limit for any highway is 65 mph, but 70 mph is permitted where posted.
- The maximum speed limit for two-lane highways and vehicles towing trailers is 55 mph.
- The basic speed limit for any road other than a state highway, unless otherwise posted, is 25 mph.
- The school zone speed limit is 25 mph.
The speed limit for approaching or traversing railroad crossings or highway intersections where there is not an unobstructed view or driving in alleys is 15 mph.
Aside from the above maximum limits, California’s code provides procedures for determining and adjusting the speed limit for any road in the State.
Presumed Speed Limits in California
California has what it calls a “Basic Speed Law.” This short statutory provision states that, “No person shall drive a vehicle upon a highway at a speed greater than is reasonable or prudent having due regard for weather, visibility, the traffic on, and the surface and width of, the highway, and in no event at a speed which endangers the safety of persons or property.” Although travelling 1 or more mph over the posted speed limit is still presumed to be speeding, this presumption is rebuttable in court.
Because of this law and because California is a presumed speed limit state, going one mile an hour over the posted speed limit is not automatically considered speeding. Instead, 5 mph over the speed limit could be an acceptable speed on a clear day when you are travelling on a large highway in light traffic and when that speed is consistent with the flow of traffic. On the other hand, going 10 mph under the speed limit may be considered speeding in blizzard conditions. The California Department of Motor Vehicles Driver Handbook (which can be found here: http://dmv.ca.gov/pubs/hdbk/speed_limits.htm) advises drivers to take into account the weather, the number of pedestrians or bicyclists, the volume of traffic, and the condition of the road surface when determining the correct speed at which to travel.
Minimum Speed Limit in California
California also has a minimum speed limit law. This law states that no one shall drive in such a way that impedes the “normal and reasonable” flow of traffic. The minimum speed law does not apply in cases where a reduced speed is necessary due to road conditions or other circumstances.
Commercial Vehicles in California
The absolute maximum speed limit for any commercial vehicle in California is 55 mph. This includes tractor trailers, buses, and farm vehicles. Moreover, the charges for commercial vehicles exceeding speed limits are more serious. 15 mph or more over the posted speed limit is a misdemeanor and someone who is charged with a violation in a noncommercial vehicle but who holds a commercial driver’s license is subject to higher charges and penalties, including some that affect his or her commercial driver’s license.