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Arizona criminal speeding tickets are one of the most common traffic violations. You can get a criminal speeding ticket for exceeding 85 miles per hour, or 20 miles over the posted speed limit. There are also criminal speeding tickets possible if you are going more than 35 miles an hour near a school zone.

In Arizona, criminal speeding is a Class 3 misdemeanor that identifies a speeding violation as a criminal infraction under Arizona Revised Statutes 28-701.02.

This article will talk about how to avoid criminal speeding in Arizona and what happens when you do receive a criminal speeding ticket there.

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Arizona Criminal Speeding Ticket & Charges of Excessive Speed


What are the Types of Criminal Speeding Violations?

There are three methods to obtaining a criminal speeding violation in Arizona, all of which are outlined below.

Traveling at speeds of more than 85 miles per hour is considered Excessive Speed Under ARS 28-701.02a3

Excessive speed is the most frequent sort of criminal speeding violation. Even in a 75 miles per hour speed limit zone, traveling 86 miles per hour is a violation of this section.  

Those who travel through Arizona’s more rural areas, particularly between significant tourist destinations such as the Grand Canyon, Sedona, and Flagstaff, are frequently charged with this type of crime.

Exceeding posted speed by 20 miles per hour Under ARS 28-701.02a2

This is another frequent type of traffic violation, which is generally seen in the major cities of Arizona’s more urban areas. This infraction takes place at any speed that is over 20 mph above the legal limit.

Some examples are as follows:

  • Traveling 46 miles per hour or above in a 25 mile per hour zone
  • Traveling 56 miles per hour or above in a 35 mile per hour zone
  • Traveling 80 miles per hour or above in a 55 mile per hour zone

Exceeding 35 miles per hour near a school zone Under 28-701.02a1

The least frequent criminal speeding charge is this one, but it may happen in more populated regions around school zones. This violation must occur within a designated school zone, which usually includes the presence of signs.

Many people are surprised to find out that this infraction is punishable by potential jail time.

What are the Penalties for a Criminal Speeding Ticket in Arizona? 

The minimum penalties for a criminal speeding ticket are punishable by up to 30 days of jail, a fine of up to $500 plus surcharges, and up to one year of probation. Other negative effects can be far more serious, including:

  • This charge permanently remains on your record, unable to expunge
  • 3 points to your MVD record will be added
  • Potential loss of job opportunities
  • Increased insurance rates
  • Driver’s license suspension
  • Disqualification of commercial driver’s license status (CDL)
  • Loss of professional licenses
  • Potential citizenship can be affected
  • Removal of certain security clearances
  • The requirement of having to state “yes” to being charged with a criminal offense.

Other states do not have the same laws, but Arizona records all motor vehicle infractions, including criminal speeding out-of-state. 

If you do go to trial for criminal speeding or any other traffic violation, there are several phases that you must go through before the final verdict is reached.

These stages are:

  • First appearance
  • Pretrial conference
  • Trial de novo (meaning a new review)
  • Sentencing hearing
  • Restitution hearing, if applicable.

All of these stages take place at different times after your initial criminal speeding charge, with first appearances occurring usually within 48 hours following arrest or citation issuance. 

Is Criminal Speeding a Felony in Arizona?

Excessive speeding in Arizona is a class 3 misdemeanor, but criminal speeding alone does not result in a felony conviction.

If there are additional charges, such as a DUI on Alcohol, Marijuana DUI, or other types of DUI drugs, the outcome and penalties can be significantly different.

There may be associated offenses like hit and run, vehicular manslaughter, or aggravated assault with a deadly weapon that can be charged as a felony in Arizona and may alter your case’s outcomes and penalties.

How Long Does a Criminal Speeding Ticket Stay On Your Record In Arizona?

After a certain amount of time, moving violation citations are automatically erased from your driving record. Unfortunately, criminal speeding charges are not covered by this legislation. Misdemeanor and felony convictions in Arizona remain on your record permanently.

Because criminal speeding is classified as a Class 3 misdemeanor, your criminal speeding citation will be on your record for the rest of your life. 

Although a traffic infraction is considered a minor offense, the good news is that employers and government agencies performing a background check will be able to see your Class 3 misdemeanor conviction. While some companies may consider it a potential warning sign, most people are willing to take a criminal speeding ticket with a grain of salt after learning about your otherwise clean criminal history.

The bad news is that if your criminal speeding ticket becomes an impediment to job background checks, it will remain on your record for life.

Currently, Arizona’s laws do not allow records to be expunged, and criminal speeding tickets are not eligible to be “set aside” in the same manner as other misdemeanor convictions.

What are some Common Questions about Criminal Speeding Charges?

Is it possible for the Judge to reduce the Charge to a Civil Speeding Ticket?

  • No. You are expressly prohibited from having your criminal charge reduced to a civil speeding infraction under the statute. However, in order to have the criminal charge lowered to a civil speeding violation, you may negotiate with the prosecutor.

Is it necessary for me to appear in court for a criminal speeding violation?

  • Yes. Criminal speeding is a class 3 misdemeanor, and you must appear in court. A warrant for your arrest and additional criminal charges might follow if you fail to appear in court.

Can I go to Defensive Driving School instead of Criminal Speeding on my Record?

  • One of the most popular defenses in Arizona is that the court was granted the power to allow someone to participate in Defensive Driving Schooling (DDS) for criminal speeding under ARS 28-3392(A)(2). If you haven’t been to DDS within a year, this is an excellent alternative. The ticket will be dismissed from your record.

    The problem is that unlike DDS for civil tickets, it is entirely optional. You must persuade the court or prosecutor to show compassion. There are several potential risks when doing so, but it’s preferable to a conviction.

Do I have to disclose my criminal speeding conviction on applications if I am convicted?

  • The answer varies based on the application, but keep in mind that speeding is a crime. You will have a misdemeanor conviction on your record if you are convicted, and many employers, school applications, and background checks may require that you disclose a misdemeanor conviction.

How a Criminal Defense Attorney can Help Beat a Criminal Speeding Ticket in Arizona

At Colburn Hintze Maletta, we have worked with hundreds of people charged with criminal speeding. There are several occasions when hiring an attorney to represent you on a criminal speeding ticket may not be necessary, such as a parking meter violation.

Other areas where the assistance of an experienced criminal traffic lawyer might make the difference between a clean record and a criminal conviction include criminal speeding, excessive speed, an exhibition of speed (street racing), or any other moving violations that result in a crime. 

Call Colburn Hintze Maletta now at (602) 825-2500 for a free consultation and to discuss whether hiring a traffic lawyer is beneficial for your situation.

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Real Client Reviews

Below are just a few of what our clients have to say!

Arizona attorney Darin Colburn

“The calm in the middle of my storm…”

I, recently, consulted with Darin after my wife filed for divorce. He was referred to me by a friend whom I very much trust. Darin was the antithesis of the first two attorneys I consulted (who were matter-of-fact and had very little empathy about the fact that I was struggling emotionally with what was transpiring). From the first few minutes of speaking with Darin, it was obvious that he was very knowledgeable and skilled with divorce and family matters. While that was most important to me, the thing that made the difference was his calming, logical, and empathetic approach. He took the time to listen and empathize with me. He took the time to understand what I wanted to achieve through this process and laid out my options. After the consultation, I knew he would be my attorney if I had to pull the trigger. I, ultimately, didn’t have to engage Darin’s services due to a reconciliation with my wife. I hope I never have to go through that process again, however, if I do, I know beyond a shadow of a doubt who I will be hiring to represent me…Darin R. Colburn. Darin, thank you for caring and being more than an attorney.

Frank - AVVO Review

Divorce / Reconciliation Client
Attorney David Maletta

“There is NOBODY I would rather have defending me than David”

I hired David Maletta and it was the best decision of my life. His knowledge, genuine interest, overall attitude, and ability to connect with people is incomparable. I could talk about all of this at length. I COULD do all of that, but that wouldn’t do David justice. He first and foremost demonstrates his interest and genuine care for his client. Being in uncharted territory with a criminal charge and nowhere to turn, David’s presence and personality put all nerves at ease. I went through a jury trial with David beside me. The trial ran for 3 days and I spent a significant amount of time with David one-on-one. During this stressful time, he wanted to hear my input and thoughts on everything. David was incredible from the first day I met him. Not only is he a great attorney, but he is also a great person who cares about people and finding justice for his clients. He connects to the human side of people. I can’t put into words how much David cares about the individual in a case. When it comes to the courtroom, there is NOBODY I would rather have defending me than David.

Jacob - AVVO Review

DUI Defense Client
Arizona attorney Darin Colburn

“Because of Darin I got my daughter back”

Before I hired Darin I went through a total of 3 different attorneys in two different states fighting a jurisdiction battle, when my daughter was taken to a different state. It was a very difficult decision to switch attorneys at one of the most difficult, time sensitive and important times in my case, but I’m very glad I did. Upon receiving my file from previous attorneys Darin came very familiar with my case quickly. Like other people have explained he took the time to lay everything out and explain how the process was going to proceed and what to expect and continued to do this as new issues arrived. He is also very quick at responding to emails and phone calls. My case was getting close to trial as told by my previous attorneys, I did not want to go to trial as I know this is very costly (most attorneys will convince you that you need to.) Darin knew my situation, fought for what was right and got the results I wanted while avoiding a costly trial. He is extremely knowledgeable in the Child Support Guidelines as well. Because of Darin I got my daughter back. I would highly recommend him and would hire again for any future issues. Thanks Darin!

Chris - AVVO Review

Child Custody & Support Client
Attorney David Maletta

“I was found NOT GUILTY. Dave won the trial for me.”

Dave stayed with me while he pushed back and forth with Covid-19 and the delays with court. Once cited, the state basically decides that you’re guilty through the automatic suspension of your drivers license. Dave immediately took care of that problem and I never lost the privilege of driving. Dave took notes like crazy and was upfront about our uphill battle. I was also well aware that the plea deal that was given to us, was unacceptable and through Dave’s knowledge and experience I had put my trust in him to guide me to make the right decision on how to proceed. With Dave’s guidance I had decided that we needed to fight for something better than what the prosecutor was offering and Dave was 100 percent behind me on that decision. We knew the risks, be we also knew we had very little to lose based on the prosecutions stance. We decided to go to trial… Watching the prosecution and then watching Dave was night and day!! It was clear to the jury that the prosecution didn’t have their facts straight and were not addressing the facts that they could not address…There was a lot at stake for my personal life and my work life. I was found NOT GUILTY. Dave won the trial for me.

Gregory - AVVO Review

Criminal Defense Client
Arizona Attorney Timothy Hintze

“Tim was absolutely amazing and worked diligently”

I had an incident and was Given the catch-all charge. There wasn’t really anything I could do by myself to get out of it. Tim was absolutely amazing and worked diligently to ensure that I would have the best possible outcome from my case. Which he successfully achieved! As of right now I am on the path to having my case fully dismissed. A couple things that really helped me through this process was that Tim did an amazing job at was answering my questions. He was available almost anytime and would respond promptly when he got my emails. He was also very approachable and comforting to be around while we had in person meetings and especially when I was at the court house. I would trust him and the company he works for with any other cases in the future and as of right now they will be my first choice if I need a lawyer in the future.

Dylan - AVVO Review

Criminal Defense Client
Arizona Attorney Timothy Hintze

“Listens to every request that you make on a case”

I honestly just want to let it be known to any and everyone looking for an attorney on a case. Whether it be DUI, possession, or your every day to day traffic violations where you need representation attorney Tim Hintze is your man. You have to respect a man that listens to every request that you make on a case and he gets in there and gets it done. Tim has my respect as an attorney and being a well-rounded representer. From him being honest on the possibility and options for your case to him being easy to work and communicate with via over the phone or face to face Mr. Hintze is working it out.

Ben - AVVO Review

Criminal Defense Client
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