Following is an overview of the laws, limits, and fines as they relate to speeding traffic violations in the state of Arizona.

Speed Limits in Arizona

75 mph: rural freeways and interstate highways, as posted

65 mph: urban freeways and interstate highways, as posted

25 mph: residential and business districts

15 mph: approaching and inside school zones

15 mph: alleys

Some stretches of freeways and interstates have posted speed limits of 55-65 mph, due to sharp curves or other extenuating factors.

Arizona code on reasonable and prudent speed

Maximum speed law:

According to section 28-701 of Arizona law “No person shall drive a vehicle at a speed greater than is reasonable and prudent considering the traffic, roadway and weather conditions.”

Minimum speed law:

According to section 28-704 of Arizona law “No person may drive a motor vehicle so slowly as to impede the normal and reasonable movement of traffic, except when reduced speed is necessary for safe operation or in compliance with statutes, regulations, or ordinances.”

Arizona is unique in that speeding violations in a 55 mph zone may be issued as a “waste of finite resources” citation. This type of citation is only issued if the driver is going under 10 mph over the posted speed limit. It’s a civil infraction rather than criminal and carries a $15 fine. It doesn’t go on the driver’s record, nor is it reported to insurance.

It’s a class 3 misdemeanor to travel at 20 mph or more over the speed limit, or at higher than 85 mph. This type of speeding violation in Arizona carries a much higher fine and possible jail time or driver’s license suspension.

As in most states, drivers may fight a citation on one of the following bases:

  • The driver may oppose the determination of speed. In order to claim this defense a driver must know how his or her speed was determined and then learn how to disprove its accuracy.

  • A driver may claim that an emergency situation caused the driver to break the speed limit in order to prevent injury or damage to themselves or others

  • The driver may claim a case of mistaken identity. If a police officer clocks a driver speeding and subsequently has to find them again in traffic, it’s possible that they could make a mistake and pull the wrong car over.

Penalty for exceeding the speed limit in Arizona

First-time violators may not be:

  • Fined more than $250

  • Have their license suspended for more than one year

Penalty for criminal speeding in Arizona

First-time violators may be:

  • Fined up to $500 plus an 83% surcharge (plus potential fees to retrieve the car from impound if towed)

  • Sentenced to up to 30 days of jail time

  • Sentenced to up to a year of probation

Penalty for Reckless Driving in Arizona

First-time violators may not be:

  • Fined more than $750

  • Sentenced to more than 120 days of jail time

  • Have their license suspended for more than 90 days

Speeding fines vary among locations. The fine is typically listed on the citation.

This article originally appeared on as Arizona Speed Limits, Laws, and Fines and was authored by Valerie Johnston.

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