So Oppo, I don’t really know if non-lawyers ever find shit like this interesting, but due to various reasons (curiosity, self-interest, and dealing with traffic laws in this state) I find myself perusing the AZ Transportation Revised statutes from time to time.
Admittedly, it’s dry reading, but for anyone online who has been involved in an argument with a driver who CLEARLY does not understand the rules, this can sometimes be the difference between getting into a pointless argument where no one is listening and being able to be properly crucified on your moral cross. They are also very conveniently located online on the azleg.gov website.
Today I’m going to look at Statue 28.701.02 - Excessive speeds classification.
The TL;DR Takeaway - Wall of text inbound
Unless the cop that pulls you over is insanely generous (HIGHLY unlikely) over 85 mph is a class 3 misdemeanor in Arizona. Don’t go above 85 ever or 20 above the limit ever. You might be cuffed and jailed. You WILL go to court. You WILL have a criminal record. If you keep doing it, each time the punishment will be worse. It’s not a felony, though. You’d have to do something else during speeding that was worse to get a felony charge.
Criminal (Excessive) Speeding
I picked this one to start out because I have had to deal with this before AND it’s pretty small to copy paste.
28-701.02. Excessive speeds; classification
A. A person shall not:
1. Exceed thirty-five miles per hour approaching a school crossing.
2. Exceed the posted speed limit in a business or residential district by more than twenty miles per hour, or if no speed limit is posted, exceed forty-five miles per hour.
3. Exceed eighty-five miles per hour in other locations.
B. A person who violates subsection A of this section is guilty of a class 3 misdemeanor.
C. A person charged with a violation of this section may not be issued a civil complaint for a violation of section 28-701 if the civil complaint alleges a violation arising out of the same circumstances.
The Layman’s Rundown
1. Don’t drive over 35mph through a school x-ing
2. Don’t go 20 above any limit in a local area, or if there is no limit sign, don’t go over 45 mph.
3. Don’t do over 85 mph, ever. (OVER 85.)
B. If you do 1. 2. or 3., it’s a class 3 misdemeanor.
C. says you won’t get a civil traffic ticket if you are already getting a different (criminal) ticket for doing this.
So, why does this shit matter? Well, if convicted, a class 3 misdemeanor is a criminal conviction. It will probably go on your permanent record (there are a FEW exceptions.) While that might do wonders for your bad-boy status, mostly it means that depending on how nice your judge is, a big fee and jail time are involved.
Conveniently, on most tickets, the penalties and obligations are written extremely clearly on the ticket itself, if you got a ticket and wasn’t just immediately cuffed and put in the back of a police car.
Ya Done Goofed
A first time conviction of a class 3 misdemeanor in AZ means up to 30 days jail time, and up to $500 in fines. If you go to jail, you’re going to have to pay for the cost of it.
Not only that, but if this isn’t your first rodeo, you’re going to get even bigger punishments.
I’m not going to quote it, but here are the reference links: https://www.azleg.gov/viewdocument/?docName=https://www.azleg.gov/ars/13/00802.htm
Okay, Shit, What Do I Do
Well, first of all, if you don’t have a violation yet, don’t do the things that get you one. But if you’re reading this, maybe you’ve already fucked up.
Well, when you get the ticket, you might want to hire a competent lawyer to help you. Sometimes your workplace may have a legal service that can refer you, or you can try reaching out to law firms yourself. You may have friends who speed who knows someone who helped them out.
Seriously, if you can afford it, get a lawyer. This isn’t some random speeding ticket you can try to plead to the judge and hope the cop doesn’t show up. It’s a criminal hearing for scheduling and a trial. They will make the process much easier. Good luck fighting it yourself, the police and the court have everything they need to convict you, and the prosecutor isn’t going to talk to some two bit chump who can’t even pay attention to the speed limit signs.
Things that can happen
This has happened to me because I used to be a leadfoot dumbshit who sees everything in front of him when speeding but not when a cop is tailing him. I got a lawyer. Lawyers for something like this, depending on how badly you fucked up, will be somewhere between $500 and $1500.
1. The lawyer went to court themselves and did not require my presence.
2. The lawyer managed to talk to the prosecutor DA for the court jurisdiction and pled me down to a civil violation - I couldn’t do traffic school, but it did not wind up on my criminal record - and I had to pay the maximum fine, because let’s face it, they do really care about the money, possibly more than the conviction.
3. The lawyer took their fee. Ouch.
4. That was pretty much it. I called the legal firm up and talked to them, got a contract in an email, Esigned it, and they phoned me once or twice to let me know how it was going. The whole process took about a month after I called them.
The Takeaway (I’ll write it up top)
Unless the cop that pulls you over is insanely generous (unlikely) Over 85 is a crime in Arizona. Don’t go above 85 ever or 20 above the limit ever. You might be cuffed and jailed. You WILL go to court. You WILL have a criminal record. If you keep doing it, it’ll get worse.
Hope this was at least interesting to read, and if not, maybe you learned something. And if you didn’t learn anything, well... I’m sorry. You obviously paid better attention than I did.
Have a good weekend Oppo.