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- What happens if you get a speeding ticket in Arizona?
- What are the fines for a speeding ticket in Arizona?
- Options for dealing with a speeding ticket in Arizona
- How to fight a speeding ticket in Arizona
- Will a speeding ticket increase your insurance?
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In the State of Arizona, speeding ticket fines and penalties vary county by county and court by court—an Arizona speeding ticket might cost hundreds of dollars more in one county than in another. But you can try to fight your ticket in court, too.
Arizona’s flat, straight highways with lower traffic volume contribute to significantly higher numbers of speeding-related traffic accidents and deaths compared with many other states.
As a result, Arizona takes speeding very seriously and has some of the harshest speeding laws in the country, with some drivers even facing criminal charges for excessive speeds they wouldn’t be faced with in other states.
An Arizona speeding ticket results in steep fines (some over $750) and points on your driving record that can add up to your driver’s license getting suspended. Some speeding violations in Arizona can even result in jail time. You’ll end up paying more for car insurance as a result of most speeding tickets, too.
This guide, brought to you by the car insurance comparison and broker app Jerry, will cover everything you need to know if you’re issued an Arizona speeding ticket, from paying fines to fighting the ticket in court.
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What happens if you get a speeding ticket in Arizona?
If you’re pulled over for speeding in Arizona, the officer will either let you off with a warning or issue you a speeding ticket. This ticket will either be civil (meaning you can pay a fine and skip making a court appearance) or criminal (which means you have to make a court appearance).
There are three different types of speeding laws in Arizona:
- The absolute speed limit law means you’re considered speeding if you go just 1 mph over the posted speed limit anywhere in the state.
- The basic speeding law requires you to drive at a safe speed given conditions on the road at the time of the incident. If Arizona’s famously nice weather takes a turn, or there’s heavy traffic or debris on the road, you can get a ticket even if you’re driving below the posted speed limit.
- Lastly, the prima facie speed limit law prohibits you from exceeding 15 mph near a school crossing, 25 mph in residential or business districts, or 65 mph anywhere else in the State of Arizona.
You’ll also have three points added to your driving record as a result of a single speeding ticket. If you gain eight or more points in one 12-month period, your driver’s license will be suspended for up to one year unless you attend a required Traffic Survival School (TSS) program.
Civil traffic tickets vs. criminal traffic tickets
Most speeding tickets not involving extreme speeds or other vehicular citations are considered civil traffic offenses. You’ll be given a traffic ticket, which includes a court date and the court’s location. You’ll need to either pay your fee in full without contest before that court date or arrive in court to plead not guilty and attempt to fight the ticket.
If you’re issued a criminal traffic ticket, you’ll need to appear in court at the designated time. Given this is a criminal case, it’s highly recommended you find an attorney to represent you in court.
Criminal speeding tickets include any ticket where the driver is going:
- 35+ mph in a school crossing
- 26+ mph over the posted speed limit in residential or business districts
- 45+ mph in a residential or business district, regardless of the speed limit
- 85+ mph anywhere in the State of Arizona (even in areas where the speed limit is 75)
These criminal traffic tickets are considered class 3 misdemeanors and can result in up to 30 days in jail, one year of probation, and massive fines. This is fairly harsh compared to most other states.
What are the fines for a speeding ticket in Arizona?
In Arizona, speeding ticket fines vary by the county and the court where the ticket is filed. These fines double if you’re speeding in a construction or road work zone.
The Apache County, Chinle Justice Court, and Fuerco Justice Court share identical ticket categories and fines, with $485 being the most expensive speeding ticket for going 26 to 30 mph over the limit.
Some counties and courts have even stiffer penalties. In La Paz County, the maximum fine is capped at nearly $530. In Yuma, the maximum fine is over $752 if you’re ticketed for going 46 to 50 mph over the posted speed limit.
Two courts mandate court appearances for speeding, too. You’re obligated to see a judge if you drive more than 25 mph over the speed limit in the jurisdictions of the Round Valley Justice Court and the St. Johns Justice Court.
Options for dealing with a speeding ticket in Arizona
In most cases, you’ll only have two choices for dealing with your Arizona speeding ticket: paying the fine or pleading not guilty and going to court to prove your innocence.
Some (but not all) drivers will also be given the option of having their traffic ticket dismissed after completing a defensive driving course.
If you choose to pay the fine for a civil ticket, you won’t be required to attend the court hearing so long as you pay it before that court hearing. But this only applies to civil traffic citations.
If your traffic ticket is marked as criminal, you’re obligated to attend the hearing, and failure to do so can result in your arrest.
How to pay a speeding ticket in Arizona
In most cases, you’ll want to simply pay your fine, accept the penalty of points going on your driving record, and be done with it. If your traffic ticket states that you’ve committed a civil traffic offense, you can simply pay the fine and skip attending a court hearing. This is usually the best idea for most drivers.
You can pay in any of the following ways:
- Pay your traffic ticket online using a credit or debit card.
- Pay with cash via PayNearMe at participating 7-Eleven, CVS, Family Dollar, or Ace Cash Express stores. There’s a $2.99 convenience fee and a $1,000 limit.
- Pay in person or by mail at the court location. Contact the court to see what forms of payments they accept. Most accept cash and many also accept checks, money orders, and credit cards, including Visa, MasterCard, Discover, and American Express.
- Some, but not all, Arizona courts will accept and process payments over the phone. Call the court location and ask if this option is available and what cards they accept.
- In person on your scheduled court date. You will make your payment to the clerk.
If you do decide to make an appearance in your civil traffic offense case, you can admit to the violation and explain it to the judge. In some instances, the judge might lessen fines or dismiss cases without you needing to formally fight your Arizona speeding ticket, but this is based on circumstances and you should expect to pay the full amount owed without protest.
MORE: DUI laws Arizona
How to fight a speeding ticket in Arizona
If you choose to fight your Arizona speeding ticket, you’ll need to begin by contacting the court where your case was filed, informing them that you plan on pleading not guilty, and requesting a hearing. This will involve an in-person visit to the courthouse, though some courts also accept entering a not guilty plea in writing by mail.
It’s highly recommended you only attempt to fight a speeding ticket in Arizona if you have compelling evidence that you weren’t speeding. You should strongly consider hiring a traffic ticket attorney licensed in the State of Arizona who can review your case, represent you in court, and argue on your behalf.
What if you don’t pay or fight your Arizona speeding ticket?
It is never, ever a good idea to ignore traffic tickets of any kind, especially speeding tickets. Each court will treat this differently, but missing your court date generally results in a no-contest judgment with the maximum possible fines and punishments.
This could include harsh additional fines and fees, points added to your license, the suspension of your license, and even an arrest warrant being issued in some cases. This is definitely something you should attempt to address as quickly as possible!
What if I’m not from Arizona but get a speeding ticket while visiting?
You’ll still be expected to pay your fines or attend a hearing in Arizona to address your speeding ticket, and you should treat this as a resident of Arizona might. This can be a serious nightmare, given you’ll need to travel back to Arizona on your court date to handle it.
Your home state can and will add points to your license for an Arizona speeding ticket. You can even still have an arrest warrant issued that your state can act on. Never ignore out-of-state traffic tickets!
Will a speeding ticket increase your insurance?
Getting an Arizona speeding ticket will most likely increase your insurance rates significantly, with premiums climbing by a substantial margin. Some drivers have had a single ticket result in a 33 percent spike in insurance rates.
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Will I lose my license if I don’t fight a speeding ticket?
You are expected to either pay the civil traffic ticket in full or fight the ticket. Failure to do either will result in the suspension of your driver’s license, a default judgment, maximum fines and additional fines, and more.
Should I fight or pay my speeding ticket?
Fighting a speeding ticket involves proving to the court that you were not speeding by offering compelling evidence or that the officer writing the ticket lacked sufficient evidence that you were speeding. It’s highly recommended you hire a professional traffic ticket attorney for help if you decide to fight a ticket.
If you don’t believe you can prove definitively that you weren’t speeding, you should pay your fines in full before your court appearance date, or pay it in full on your court appearance date in person.
How much is a speeding ticket in Alabama?
This will vary wildly based on the county and the court where the case is filed. It might cost anywhere from $100 to $700 or even more, and fees are doubled in construction and work sites as well.