Can You Go to Jail for Speeding in Arizona?

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Can You Go to Jail for Speeding in Arizona?

The penalty for speeding in Arizona isn’t always just a ticket. Depending on how much you exceeded the speed limit and where you were speeding, you could end up facing jail time for a criminal speeding offense. Here’s everything you need to know about the differences between civil and criminal speeding in Arizona. 

Civil vs. Criminal Speeding Penalties in Arizona

Speed limits are one of the most commonly broken laws. In Arizona, a speeding charge is either a civil violation or a criminal speeding offense. The penalties for criminal speeding in Arizona are much harsher than civil speeding. 

Civil Speeding

A civil speeding violation is when you exceed the “reasonable and prudent speed” outlined in Arizona Revised Statute (ARS) 28-701. A reasonable speed doesn’t always refer to the posted speed limit. You can still get a civil speeding ticket for driving the posted speed limit when there are hazardous conditions, such as inclement weather or debris on the road, that would require you to slow down. 

Can You Go to Jail for Civil Speeding? 

A civil speeding violation does not earn you jail time because it is a non-criminal offense. The penalties for civil speeding are a fine, three points against your license, and possible mandatory defensive driving school. 

Criminal Speeding

Driving at excessive speeds is considered criminal speeding. According to ARS 28-701.02, you may face a criminal speeding charge if you:

  • Drive 85 mph, no matter the posted or presumed speed limit
  • Exceed the posted speed limit by at least 20 mph
  • Drive 35 mph or faster when approaching a school zone

Can You Go to Jail for Criminal Speeding?

Criminal speeding is a class 3 misdemeanor. The penalties for criminal speeding include three points against your license, a maximum of 30 days in jail, and up to $500 in fines, plus additional surcharges. 

Is Speeding Ever a Felony in Arizona?

No type of speeding is a felony in Arizona. A civil violation is a non-criminal infraction, and criminal speeding is a misdemeanor. However, there can be related felony charges along with a speeding charge depending on the circumstances of the incident, such as a DUI or hit-and-run (leaving the scene of an accident) charge. 

Will Your Driver’s License Be Suspended for Speeding?

A speeding conviction does not automatically result in a suspended license. However, civil speeding and criminal speeding convictions each earn three points against your license. And additional charges like a DUI, hit-and-run, and reckless driving will add more points to your license. 

If you earn eight or more points within one year, your driver’s license may be suspended for up to 12 months. You may also be required to attend Traffic Survival School. 

Civil Traffic Lawyer in Scottsdale, Arizona

If you believe you were wrongly cited for speeding in Arizona, contact the Van Norman Law team. We’ll thoroughly review your case and come up with a strong defense strategy to help you fight for the best possible outcome. Give us a call at 480-481-0616 today to schedule your no-obligation consultation. 


Images used under creative commons license – commercial use (3/22/2023). Photo by Mauro Sbicego on Unsplash