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Does Arizona punish speeding as a criminal violation?

It is natural to think that speeding will not land you in much trouble with the law. You may only pay a $150 fine and move on without giving the matter additional thought. But sometimes law enforcement looks at speeding more harshly. To your surprise, you could end up before a criminal trial in an Arizona courtroom. 

Speeding violations may be either civil or criminal offenses. It depends on what state law has to say about the circumstances. As provided by the Arizona state legislature website, here is a look at some examples of criminal speeding. 

Limits in business or residential districts

Speeding a few miles above the limit in a business or residential district is likely to land you in civil court. A judge may fine you or could determine your speeding did not amount to a danger to the public and let you go without penalty. But if your speeding goes above 25 miles an hour, law enforcement may charge you with a criminal speeding violation. 

You might not see a speed limit sign at all while driving. Some residential or business districts lack posted speed limits. However, do not think you are safe to drive at any speed. Arizona law forbids motorists to go above 45 miles per hour in areas without a posted limit. The state also punishes people who drive 85 miles an hour anywhere else. 

Speeding near school crossings

State law also punishes speeding violators who approach a school crossing. A driver who speeds too fast may not be able to stop in time before hitting adults or children walking across a school crossing. For this reason, a person who goes above 35 miles an hour when approaching a crossing is eligible for criminal charges under law. 

Punishment for criminal speeding

If a court finds you guilty of a criminal speeding violation, you could incur a fine that goes as high as $500 and you might go to jail for as long as 30 days. Your conviction may also result in increases in your auto insurance rates as well as the personal shame of the conviction. Fighting a criminal speeding charge may help avoid these undesirable outcomes.