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Understanding Prince William County Speeding Charges

In general, speed limits on residential roads and downtown are 20 to 35 mph. Speed limits on standard public roads connecting residential areas and commercial areas are 30 to 45 mph. Main county streets and parkways have speed limits of 50 to 60 mph, and major freeways have ones of 55 to 70 mph. When you are traveling between these areas, you may not notice a change in the posted limit, and as a result, receive a speeding charge. For help understanding Prince William County speeding charges, you should speak with an attorney.

Where Might Someone Be Caught Speeding?

The most common locations a driver may be caught speeding are on interstate highways, county roads, and near school or construction zones. There are also speed trap locations throughout the county where the speed limit changes abruptly, such as a fire station or small town. Additionally, speeding is one of the standard justifications that police use to pull over motorists who they suspect of driving while under the influence, so drivers should be cautious of their speed when they are traveling near bars in the evening or at night.

Types of Speeding Offenses

To fully understand speeding charges in Prince William County, one should know that these offenses elevate in severity as the speed at which a driver travels over the posted limit increases. For example, the first and lowest category of speeding offenses is traveling 1-9 mph over the posted limit. However, in the interest of fairness, efficiency, and practicality, most PWC law enforcement does not start seriously considering pulling someone over for speeding unless they are going nine mph over the limit or more. Therefore, it is uncommon for speeding charges to be brought for excess speeds below nine mph. Instead, an officer may use their speed to investigate the driver or vehicle for some other more serious offense.

If a motorist is traveling 20 mph or more over the posted limit, a police officer may charge this driver with reckless driving by speed instead of issuing them a ticket. Law enforcement may also charge someone with reckless driving by speed if they are traveling above 80 mph, even if the limit is 70 mph.

An officer may charge a motorist for reckless driving for speed-related behavior that does not technically violate the speed limit, such as when someone is driving too slowly for traffic conditions, or too fast during inclement weather. Choosing between alternative charges is initially up to the officer, and some prefer to charge reckless driving over aggravated speeding. It is important to understand that most speeding charges in Prince William County that are not forms of reckless driving constitute as traffic infractions rather than criminal offenses.

When a road classifies as a construction zone, a highway safety area, or a school zone, drivers should expect stricter enforcement. Police officers target these areas for enforcement because they believe there are enhanced safety risks in these zones, and speeding offenses charged within these regions carry higher monetary penalties and grades of severity. Prosecutors and judges treat these charges as more serious infractions.

Speeding-related charges are a prevalent type of traffic offense litigated in courts. Most of these charges come from traffic stops initiated on major local or interstate highways. In cases where speeding is not a formal infraction charged alongside other offenses, it may still be a background legal issue related to why a driver was pulled over.

When Do Offenders Have to Go to Court?

Drivers may not have to show up to a Prince William County traffic court for a speeding ticket, because these infractions do not carry jail time and they are pre-payable offenses. However, if a driver does not show up to court when necessary, they may be tried in their absence and found guilty. If a defendant cannot be present in court, they must send a valid waiver of their appearance with their attorney.

Law enforcement may issue reckless driving charges on a releasable summons similarly to speeding tickets. However, this may create confusion because it could become unclear whether they are charged with a speeding infraction or a criminal misdemeanor.

Penalties

The legal penalties of a speeding ticket may only consist of a maximum fine of $250 plus court costs, which are approximately $70. Depending on whether the offense was committed in a special traffic zone, the fines may increase up to $500.

If someone is on license probation, an extra speeding conviction could result in suspension or revocation. Similarly, if someone fails to pay their fines and court costs for a speeding ticket, the state may suspend their privilege to drive indefinitely. Speeding offenses also carry demerit points, which may affect the cost of auto insurance policies.

Additionally, some speeding offenses may have adverse consequences in certain employment contexts that involve driving on a commercial or personal basis. Even if someone has a license from another state, the state’s driving suspensions and demerit points may be translated over to other states.

What to Expect After a Speeding Charge

Drivers should expect lawyers to try to get speeding tickets delayed, reduced, or dismissed based on one’s preexisting driving record, their willingness to take a driver improvement class, and other factors relating to their employment background. Additionally, while speeding offenses rarely go trial, an attorney could litigate these cases and properly advise offenders of the chances of success.

In some situations, an attorney may encourage a defendant to admit that they are guilt in exchange for reduced penalties. It may also be common for some prosecutors to offer to drop speeding charges entirely if the case involves multiple offenses that are more serious than the traffic infraction.

Contact an Attorney to Better Understand Speeding Charges in Prince William County

Understanding Prince William County speeding charges may be difficult without proper legal representation. Therefore, if you are facing speeding charges, you should consult an attorney today. Call today for a free consultation.

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