Too many defendants make the mistake of assuming that because a speeding charge is traffic-related that an attorney is not needed to fight it. Even though speeding might have a reputation for being a relatively minor infraction, excessive speeding in the state of Arizona is a criminal offense and can net you a misdemeanor conviction. Although quite common, this is a serious criminal offense and one that warrants the insight of an experienced attorney sooner rather than later.

Within Arizona, a speeding citation can fall under one of two categories: civil speeding or criminal speeding. The majority of minor infractions are classified as civil speeding violations, but it’s important to know the difference and get legal advice if you have been charged with criminal speeding. Only an experienced criminal defense attorney can inform you about your individual case, but you should always take a criminal speeding charge seriously.

A criminal speeding ticket can be applicable in several different types of case, including:

  • An individual exceeding a posted speed limit by more than 20 miles per hour within a residential or business area
  • An individual exceeding 85 miles per hour at any location within Arizona
  • An individual exceeding 35 miles per hour approaching a school zone
  • An individual exceeding 45 miles per hour even if no speed sign is posted in a residential or business area

If you were pulled over due to any of the above situations, you could be looking at criminal speeding charges. Penalties may rack up if you are charged with more than one crime, such as reckless driving. Regardless of your situation, it’s wise to get advice directly from an experienced attorney to discuss possible defenses.

Criminal speeding in Arizona carries penalties of up to $500 in fines plus additional surcharges, 1 year of probation and up to 30 days in jail. If you were also arrested at the traffic stop, you could also be responsible for the towing charges related to authorities moving your car. For a criminal speeding ticket in Arizona, your driving record could be hit with between 3-8 points depending on the cited offense. If  your total accumulated points falls between 8-13, you will be required to complete traffic survival school to avoid a mandatory suspension.  If you cannot complete traffic survival school, either due to having taken it previously or because you miss the deadline, your privilege to drive will be suspended. There are also other ramifications for your life after a criminal speeding conviction, like higher insurance premiums. These higher rates may influence you for months or even years.

The bottom line is that no matter what circumstances were involved in your criminal speeding charge, you need to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately. Depending on the facts of your case, a defense attorney may be able to help you strategize a defense to the charges or get the penalties reduced. Since a criminal speeding charge carries much more weight than a civil speeding charge, you need to take your future into your own hands and hire a criminal defense lawyer with experience in these matters.

This blog should be used for informational purposes only. It does not create an attorney-client relationship with any reader and should not be construed as legal advice. If you need legal advice, please feel free to contact Mesa Criminal Attorney, Garrett L. Smith at 480-540-6021 log on to, or contact an attorney in your area.