Speeding Tickets in Florida
Fighting a Speeding Ticket in Florida
Florida Points – Fines – Reciprocity and Other Issues
Speed limits are broken down into two separate types of categories. One is the absolute speed limit, which is the posted speed limit on the sign on the road. Exceeding the posted speed limit by any amount, even one mile per hour, is considered a violation. When a driver is charged with exceeding a posted speed limit in an absolute speed limit state, the prosecution is only required to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the driver was driving at an excessive rate of speed and that no greater speed than the one posted was permitted at the time and place of the violation. Going over that limit is a strict liability crime, which means that it does not matter if the driver had the intent to speed or not, the act of speeding itself is enough to be in violation. In Florida, the maximum speed limit that you will see, on limited access highways only, is 70 miles per hour (mph), such as on the Florida Turnpike or I-75. The maximum speed limit for all other streets or highways in Florida is 55 mph, 30 mph in business and residential districts.
In addition, there is a presumed speed limit in Florida that all motorists must follow. A driver is presumed to be breaking the law by going above the posted speed limit, and it becomes the driver’s burden to prove that he or she was going a safe speed for the road and traffic conditions. Florida’s statute on unlawful speed states “No person shall drive a vehicle on a highway at a speed greater than is reasonable and prudent under the conditions and having regard to the action and potential hazards then existing.” This means that a driver may be ticketed, even when going the posted speed limit, if it is deemed to be an unreasonable speed given the conditions or hazards present on the road at the time. Rather than creating a conclusive presumption of unreasonable speed, Florida’s statute creates a rebuttable presumption that the driver may overcome by providing evidence showing the reasonableness of his or her rate of speed. For the presumed speed limit, the prosecutor is required to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the driver's speed was unreasonable under the circumstances.
A driver can also be given a moving violation for not driving at the speed that reached the minimum required speed limit. In these cases, a motorist cannot drive “at such a slow speed as to impede or block the normal and reasonable movement of traffic, except when reduced speed is necessary for safe operation or in compliance with law.” Minimum speed limits are sometimes established on certain highways, interstates, and expressways. In Florida it is illegal to exceed the speed limit for even a fraction of a second to pass someone traveling at a speed below the speed limit.
Some states have different speed limits for operators of commercial vehicles. This is not true for Florida. The designated speed limits are the same for all private motorists and commercial vehicle operators, although school buses are not to exceed 55 mph at any time. Speeding in a school zone or through a construction zone will result in double fines.