Speeding Tickets in Virginia
Fighting a Speeding Ticket in Virginia
Reciprocity with other States in Virginia
Virginia Penalties and Other Issues
Speeding laws are generally separated into two categories: absolute speed limits and presumed speed limits. Absolute speed limits are strict liability law; meaning that a traffic violation occurs when you drives over the posted speed limit. Absolute speed limits make no distinction if the violation was one mile over the speed limit or one hundred over the speed limit; both are sufficient for a speeding ticket. Furthermore, absolute speed limits need no showing of intent to speed. In Virginia, the maximum speed limit is 55 miles per hour on interstate highways, limited access highways with divided roadways, nonlinear access highways having four or more lanes, and all state primary highways. However, Virginia has an exception to this speed limit. You can drive up to 70 miles per hour where there are properly placed signs erected by the traffic commission. Furthermore, you can drive up to 60 miles per hour on U.S. Route 29, U.S. Route 58, U.S. Route 360, U.S. Route 460, and on U.S. Route 17 only if there are properly erected speed signs.
Presumed speed limits create a presumption that the driver was breaking the law by going above or below the posted speed limit. In a normal hearing, the prosecutor is required to show that you were driving above or below a speed by clear and convincing evidence. Presumed speed limit laws allow you to rebut this presumption by showing that she was driving at a relatively safe speed. Virginia has no maximum presumed speed limit; but there is one for minimum speed limit. Virginia minimum speed limit goes as follows “no person shall drive a motor vehicle at such a slow speed as to impede the normal and reasonable movement of traffic except when reduced speed is necessary for safe operation or in compliance with law.” In Virginia, the test is speed necessary for safe operation of the vehicle.
Virginia also has minimum speed limits in some circumstances. Under Virginia law, the “Commonwealth Transportation Commissioner or local authorities may…determine and declare a minimum speed limit to be set forth on signs posted on such highway.” If you drive below this limit, you are presumed guilty of driving below the speed limit. But this presumption is rebuttable upon showing that you were driving at a speed necessary for safe operation or in compliance with law.
Elements of Speeding in Virginia
Certain elements are required before a speeding conviction attaches. Normally, the government has to show the description, ownership, driver, location, specific law, and the speed of the vehicle. The identity means what did the vehicle that violated the law look like. Ownership refers to who owns the vehicle. Did the driver drive the vehicle or someone else? Accordingly, the government has to prove the driver of the vehicle. Is the driver of the speeding vehicle the same person in this hearing? If the government cannot show that you drove the vehicle, then a speeding conviction is inappropriate. Furthermore, the government has to show the location refers to where the violation took place. Different highways have different speed limits, violation of one does not mean violation of another (i.e. some highways have a 55 miles per mile while others have a 70 miles per hour). Moreover, if the speeding violation occurred someone outside Virginia law (i.e. Pennsylvania), Virginian courts have no right to punish you. The prosecutor is also required to show the specific law that was broken and the speed of the vehicle. The prosecutor has to show that Virginia set a maximum speed at this location and that you, by driving at an “X” miles per hour, violated that statute.
Under Virginia law, speeding/traffic tickets are not “crimes.” But for legal purposes, speeding is a misdemeanor. Thus, the prosecutor has the burden of proving all these elements by clear and convincing evidence. If the prosecutor fails to show one element of speeding or cannot prove by clear and convincing evidence, you cannot be convicted of speeding.
Speed limits of certain vehicle.
As a general rule, every vehicle on a Virginian highway cannot exceed 55 miles per hour; except where provided. Instead of distinguishing between commercial or personal vehicles, Virginia distinguishes between types of vehicles. On a typical highway, a passenger motor vehicle, bus, pickup or panel truck, or motorcycle can drive up to 55 miles per hours. But only 45 miles per hours, If the vehicle is a truck, tractor truck, or a combination of vehicle designed to transport property, or is a motor vehicle being used to tow a vehicle designed for self-propulsion, or a hour trailer.