Whether in the Phoenix area, or anywhere in Arizona, per A.R.S. 28-701.02, Criminal Speeding occurs when a person is either traveling 21 miles or more over the posted speed limit, exceeding 85 miles per hour on a freeway, or is exceeding 35 miles per hour when approaching a school zone. Most often, the first two scenarios are charged while traveling on a freeway. Often times, officers will come up behind a person and “pace” them doing more than 21 miles over the posted speed limit within the city limits.
In addition, many times people are cited for going 86 miles an hour, or more, on the freeway while traveling north to Flagstaff, or south to Tucson. Lastly, many times local police departments will put out enforcement units during the start of a school year in which they will catch people exceeding 35 miles an hour when “approaching a school zone.” This last scenario can often times be very vague because there is no definitive distance from a school crossing a person needs to be before they have violated the law.
Possible Punishment for Excessive Speeding
If you are charged and convicted for one of the three scenarios of Criminal Speeding, the punishment will be a Class 3 misdemeanor. This includes up to 30 days in jail and a $500 fine with an additional surcharge of 84%. In addition, there is often Driver’s License and insurance rate ramifications.
Possible Defenses for Criminal Speeding
One of the biggest and most common defenses utilized in defending these types of charges would be to attack the officer’s speedometer accuracy on his own vehicle and whether he truly had the ability to “pace” an individual properly. The speedometers on police vehicles are required to be calibrated at regular intervals. Many times they are not. Next, attacking a radar device can also be highly effective in speeding cases. Officers are supposed to calibrate their radar devices at the beginning of each shift and after they complete their shift. Many times, they do this by utilizing two different tuning forks that emit specified frequencies which are supposed to match hypothetical speed. Often times officers fail to properly check and record it in the log books prior to beginning a shift. In addition, many of these devices have been shown to have problems in the past (such as the Falcon 4 radar device). Lastly, the charge of exceeding 35 miles per hour when approaching a school zone is, in our opinion, unconstitutionally “vague.” For example, what if you were traveling 40 miles per hour in a 40 mile an hour zone half of a mile away from the beginning of a school zone? Distance in the statute is defined in “approaching a school zone?” This is another defense that we have utilized successfully in many of these cases.
Many times, prosecutors will offer some type of civil ticket which can include 3 points on your license, however, those 3 points will dramatically increase an individual’s insurance premiums. We are often able to get the prosecutor to agree to a “civil ticket,” and then allow, through a request to the judge, our client to attend a traffic school which completely wipes out the citation altogether. This is most often of great importance for those with Commercial Driver’s Licenses (i.e., CDLs), or those who have too many points on their license already and/or those whose license would subsequently be suspended for having any additional points on their record.
Additionally, because our law firm fights convictions from all angles, we would assert a wide range of defenses and challenges regarding constitutional violations which can apply in all criminal cases. The possibilities are numerous and diverse. One of those we frequently assert is a “Miranda Rights Violation.” In Arizona, the standard of whether any incriminating statement, (i.e., a statement which intends to admit guilt) is only admissible into evidence based upon a “voluntariness” standard. If we can demonstrate that the police coerced you (i.e., intimidated or tricked you) into making a confession or an inculpatory statement, or that they did not properly read your Miranda rights, then we can suppress those statements and any evidence gathered as a direct result of those statements. In addition, “Denial of Right to Counsel,” is another common defense which is often raised. This occurs when a suspect is in custody and requests to speak to their attorney, but is denied that request and the questioning continues.
Other defenses which can be used in more serious cases may include challenging the validity of any search warrant or whether there were any “forensic flaws” during the investigation of your case. Depending on what else you have been charged with, this could include exposing flawed procedures regarding blood, breath, urine testing; finger-print analysis; DNA testing; ballistics; gun-shot residue testing; computer analysis/cloning hard-drive procedures; forensic and financial accounting reviews; etc.
Lastly, one of the most common defense tactics is exposing sloppy or misleading police reports which includes everything from misstatements, false statements and flawed photo lineups to witness identification procedures and inaccurate crime-scene reconstruction.
It is important to hire the right Criminal Speeding defense lawyer in order to have these charges completely dismissed. We have handled hundreds of cases such as these and have had them successfully defended in court. Visit our case victories page and click on Criminal Speeding in order to view our most recent successes.