Speeding Tickets in Pennsylvania
Fighting a Speeding Ticket in Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania Points – Fines – Reciprocity and Other Issues
A state’s speed limits will generally be broken down into two categories. One is the “absolute” speed limit, which is the speed limit that is posted on the sign on the road. This is the speed limit which a driver must follow and when a driver goes over the absolute limit they are in violation of the law. In Pennsylvania, the maximum absolute speed limit will depend upon the location in which a motorist is driving. The absolute maximum speed limit is 65 miles per hour, and this is reserved solely for freeways. The state has also set maximum speed limit for other types of roadways.
Those speed limits are:
- 35 miles per hour in any urban district
- 25 miles per hour if the highway is classified by the department as a local highway and is not a numbered traffic route
- 15 miles per hour in school zones
- 55 miles per hour in all other locations
Pennsylvania traffic law also has provided a “presumed” speed limit that all motorists are required to follow. A presumed speed limit focuses on whether the speed was a safe speed based on the road and weather conditions at the time the motorist was ticketed. Pennsylvania's presumed speed law reads as follows, “No person shall drive a vehicle at a speed greater than is reasonable and prudent under the conditions and having regard to the actual and potential hazards then existing, nor at a speed greater than will permit the driver to bring his vehicle to a stop within the assured clear distance ahead.” Thus, even if one is driving under the posted maximum speed limit they can still be ticketed for speeding under Pennsylvania's presumed speed law if they are driving at an unsafe speed during a hazardous condition.
In addition, it is against the law to drive at such a slow speed to impede the normal and reasonable movement of traffic. A driver can only reduce their speed to such a low speed if it is necessary for safety reasons or in compliance with law. Otherwise, by law, a driver must pull off the road whenever driving at a speed that is impeding the normal and reasonable movement of traffic. Furthermore, the driver should not go back on the road until they will drive at an appropriate speed and not impede the normal and reasonable movement of traffic. It is not allowed for a driver to temporarily to exceed the speed limit to pass a motor vehicle that is traveling below the minimum speed limit or a vehicle that is impeding the normal and reasonable movement of traffic. Some highways have a posted minimum limited one must follow; for all other roads a driver must use their own discretion on how slow a driver should go before one would impede the normal and reasonable movement of traffic.
Speed Limit for Commercial Vehicles in Pennsylvania
Some states set separate speed limits for commercial vehicles. This is not true for Pennsylvania. The speed limits set by the state include all typed of motor vehicles, whether private motorists or commercial vehicle operators.
Elements of a Speeding Charge in Pennsylvania
Elements of a speeding charged are the requirements that must be proved in order to find someone guilty of the offense. In order to satisfy a speeding charge, the prosecution must prove identity, operation, vehicle, and that driver was driving at the specific speed indicated by law enforcement. Identity means that the defendant being charged with speeding must have been in fact the driver who was operating the motor vehicle at the time of the speeding offense. In addition, the vehicle that was pulled over must have been the motor vehicle that was witnessed as speeding (ex. the officer could not have mistaken the car that was ticketed with another car.) Finally, the speed recorded by law enforcement must be accurate information and the speed alleged must have been over the speed limit or otherwise in violation of the law.
The prosecution has the burden of proving all of the elements of a speeding charge and they must prove all of the elements beyond a reasonable doubt. If they failing in proving even a single one of these elements beyond a reasonable doubt, then the speeding case cannot move forward and the defendant cannot be convicted of speeding.