Speeding Tickets in Louisiana
Fighting a Speeding Ticket in Louisiana
Louisiana Points – Fines – Reciprocity and Other Issues
Louisiana speeding law are governed by the Louisiana Revised Statutes Title 32: Motor Vehicles and Traffic Regulation. There are only three sections with regards to speeding. First section describes the absolute maximum speed limits, where Louisiana, in accordance to the recommendations and proper support from the road engineers, can impose different speed limits in different areas. These limits cannot be exceeded in any circumstances, and such violation will hold the driver strictly liable. There are areas in Louisiana, however, that do not have specific maximum speed limits. These areas prevent drivers to speed faster than what seems reasonable and prudent under the surrounding circumstances such as road conditions, weather, and the speed of the other vehicles. The procedural aspect of a speeding ticket is similar to other states, since the Louisiana is a member of the Driver License Compact and Non-Resident Violator Compact with 43 other states. One significant difference in Louisiana is that there is no point-system in Louisiana. This does not mean that the penalties and fines stay the same with multiple violations. An arrest is usually made an officer, who has a reasonable suspicion that the driver has been speeding, or has a laser or radar speedometers.
There are areas in Louisiana where speed cameras are installed or areas where the police would hideout with a radar gun. These types of traps are called speed traps and they are enforced in most of the states. In Louisiana, however, these speed traps are beginning to be discouraged by the state with new legislations that prevent local towns to gather revenue from such practice.
When a driver in Louisiana is given a ticket, he has two choices. He can plead guilty and pay the fine, or he can fight the offense by going to court. The trial will be heard by one judge, and he will determine whether you are guilty of speeding. The state or the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you were speeding, and prove all of the elements of speeding. The elements of speeding include the identity of the driver, the vehicle identification, and the speed that the driver was driving. More than expected, ticketing officers mistaken the Vehicle Identification Number, the make or the model of your vehicle, and this can be an affirmative defense. Other defenses can be raised concerning the credibility of the radar gun, public necessity and selective enforcement.
Fines vary on the speed, the area, and whether it was your first time or not. Lastly, you may negotiate with the judge to take defense driving classes or traffic school to dismiss the ticket or reduce the fine. There is no point system in Louisiana, so you may not get a point reduced by taking traffic school like other states. This does not mean, however, that every citation within the three years will be the same. Any subsequent speeding violations will be fined heavily with possibility of imprisonment, suspension or disqualification of your driver license. When you are faced with a heavy penalty, or you believe that you were wrongfully charged, then you should seek a lawyer immediately.
Absolute Speed Limits
The absolute speed limit in Louisiana varies depending on which road you drive. On an interstate and controlled access highways, the speed limit is 70 miles per hour (MPH). On other multilane divided highways which have partial or no control of access, the absolute speed limit is 65 MPH. For all of the other highways, the speed limit is 55 MPH. Lastly, for residential areas, the speed limit is 25MPH.
In addition to the normal speed limits for all of Louisiana, there is an area where the absolute speed limits differ. This is a bit like “presumed” speed limit because the speed limit depends on the external circumstances like the weather. In St. Tammany Parish area, the speed limits are statutorily decreased due to problems with visibility. When the fog makes the visibility equal to or less than 1,000 feet, the speed limits are significantly cut down. On interstate or controlled highways from the intersection of Interstates 10, 12 and 59 west to Louisiana Highway 433, the speed limit is 55MPH. This area is also called the Old Spanish Trail. On the bridge that crosses Lake Pontchartrain, the speed limit is 45 MPH.
Presumed Speed Limits
Louisiana’s presumed speed limit prevents drivers to speed faster than what seems reasonable and prudent under the conditions and potential hazards while driving on the road also taking into consideration the traffic, the surface and width of the road, and weather conditions. There is no law in Louisiana giving authority or prohibiting the state to impose different highway speed limits for different types of vehicles, various weather conditions or for different times of the day.