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Arizona Criminal Speeding Ticket & Charges of Excessive Speed

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Navigating the roads of Arizona comes with certain responsibilities, one of which is adhering to the state’s stringent speeding laws. In Arizona, criminal speeding is not just a minor traffic violation; it’s a serious offense that can lead to significant legal consequences.

There are three distinct types of criminal speeding violations in the state, each carrying its own set of penalties and implications.

From exceeding the maximum speed limit to zooming past a school zone, understanding these violations is essential for any driver in Arizona. This article delves into the different types of criminal speeding violations, their penalties, and how a seasoned criminal defense attorney can assist you in such situations.

What This Article Covers:

  • Types of Criminal Speeding Violations in Arizona
  • Penalties for Criminal Speeding in Arizona
  • The Legal Process for Criminal Speeding Charges
  • Classification of Criminal Speeding in Arizona’s Legal System
  • The Longevity of Criminal Speeding Records
  • Common Questions About Criminal Speeding Charges
  • How a Criminal Defense Attorney Can Help

Criminal speeding in Arizona can result from a variety of situations, whether you’re traveling through the scenic routes between the Grand Canyon and Sedona or the bustling streets of Phoenix. Understanding these nuances is crucial, as the penalties can range from fines and points on your license to jail time and permanent records.

In the following sections, we’ll explore each type of criminal speeding violation under Arizona Revised Statutes (ARS) 28-701.02, outline the legal process from citation to potential trial, and address common questions surrounding these charges. Additionally, we’ll highlight the invaluable role of a criminal defense attorney in mitigating the impacts of a criminal speeding ticket.

Stay informed and drive safely. Let’s delve into the complexities of criminal speeding violations in Arizona.

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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 probationOther 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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