What Is Speeding in California?
Technically, there are no speed limits on many California roads and highways, and when there are, you could be justified in exceeding those limits given the conditions.
CA Vehicle Code (CVC) Section 22350, Speed Laws, is the basic speed law for California drivers. That traffic code section requires that a driver consider what speed is “reasonable and prudent.” It states:
“No person shall drive a vehicle upon a highway at a speed greater than is reasonable or prudent having due regard for weather, visibility, the traffic on, and the surface and width of, the highway, and in no event at a speed which endangers the safety of persons or property.”
Depending on the circumstances like road, traffic, and weather conditions, you could be justified in going faster than what the speed limit signs or law enforcement officer (LEO) dictates. Remember, LEO or CHP officers do not have the final say. Whether you were guilty of speeding is up to a traffic court judge.
The signs along the roadway are “prima facie” speed limits.
“Prima facie may be used as an adjective meaning ‘sufficient to establish a fact or raise a presumption unless disproved or rebutted.’ — Cornell Law School Legal Information Institute (LII).
However, most drivers who receive a speeding ticket go to the county clerk and willfully give up their hard-earned money without a challenge. The intelligent driver consults a traffic attorney and follows their instructions.
A traffic attorney’s service to a client with a speeding ticket is to raise the level of “reasonable doubt,” or in this case, to challenge the LEO’s prima facie presumption that your speed was unreasonable or imprudent given the conditions.
Several technicalities could warrant a dismissal, a reduced charge, or attendance at a traffic violator’s school (TVS), which will keep your conviction confidential. Traffic infractions are a matter of public record. Therefore, when your auto insurance comes up for renewal, your auto insurance provider will ask the DMV for a copy of your motor vehicle driving record (MVR).
When they see that you plead guilty to a speeding ticket, they will pull your “good driver’s discount,” and raise your premium based on the risk they assign to those mph over the speed limit or “reasonable and prudent” speed given the conditions.
Therefore, when you’re driving on an open road with excellent visibility and only a few vehicles, the actual speed limit could be higher than what’s posted or what the LEO believes is “reasonable and prudent.”
However, when the road conditions are less than ideal, there are children playing, fog or other weather conditions could dictate a slower speed than that posted. Much like the nationwide traffic campaign, “Slow Down, Move Over,” dictates drivers must slow down and move to the next lane whenever construction or emergency vehicles are present in their lane.
Despite what you believe the law to be, you should use common sense while driving and challenge every traffic ticket when it is the opinion of a traffic attorney that it is winnable. Even when a traffic attorney believes a speeding ticket is not winnable, they might be able to secure a traffic court judge’s permission for you to attend TVS and keep your minor infraction out of the public view, which means no auto insurance premium hike. That could save you around $600 in the first year and nearly $1,800 over the three years the conviction would have remained on your MVR.
Don’t go it alone; consult a traffic ticket attorney.
Consult with Bigger & Harman, APC, About Your Kings County Speeding Ticket
Call Bigger & Harman, APC, at (661) 349-9300, use the online contact form, or email for a one-time free consultation with no obligation about your speeding ticket in Kings County.
We could save you a ton of money on auto insurance. We use a flat fee to resolve your speeding ticket so that you know our fee before moving forward.
Se habla Español (661) 349-9755.
CVC Section 22350, Speed Laws
The Bankrate article, Average cost of car insurance in California for 2022.The Cornell Law School LII Wex Prima Facie