Speeding Tickets in North Dakota
Fighting a Speeding Ticket in North Dakota
North Dakota 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 by a preponderance of the evidence 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. Proving by a preponderance of the evidence requires one to show an act more likely than not happened (51%). Going over the speed 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 North Dakota, the maximum speed limit that you will see on controlled-access, paved and divided, multilane interstate highways only, is 75 miles per hour (mph), while other highway speed limits range from 55-70 mph. Speed limits may be increased by local officials if determined to be reasonable, but not to exceed 55 mph in urban districts. Due to weather and other varying conditions in North Dakota, the speeding statute lists many exceptions, such as for unpaved roads, business or residential districts, school zones, railways, and heavy snow.
In addition, there is a presumed speed limit in North Dakota 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. North Dakota'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. North Dakota has certain factors it takes into consideration, such as “assured clear distance ahead.” Ordinarily a driver of a motor vehicle must drive at a speed that will enable him to stop within the assured clear distance ahead. Rather than creating a conclusive presumption of unreasonable speed, North Dakota'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 by a preponderance of the evidence that the driver's speed was unreasonable under the circumstances.
Minimum Speed Limit in North Dakota
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 a reduced speed so as to impede 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 North Dakota 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. North Dakota allows overtaking a stopped car or a moving vehicle on the left, so long as it is at a safe speed (the speed limit) within a safe distance.
Speed Limits for Commercial Vehicles in North Dakota
Some states have different speed limits for operators of commercial vehicles. This is not true for North Dakota. The designated speed limits are the same for all private motorists and commercial vehicle operators. Speeding through a construction zone with a posted sign with a modified speed limit and workers present will result in double fines, starting at $80. Speeding in a school zone results in an additional $50 on top of the $40 (base) fine.