Virginia Criminal Defense Attorney
Generally speaking, a speed limit is a posted sign that will tell you the maximum speed limit that you’re allowed to go. Under the law, you absolutely have to follow a speed limit. If you’re going below the speed limit, at some point, you can actually get in trouble for going too slowly in a certain speed zone. If a speed limit is posted, you’re required as a driver in Fairfax to be aware of the signs that are posted and to follow those directions and go that speed. If you are going above that speed an officer may pull you over and give you a ticket or charge you with reckless driving in cases. When this occurs, you may be facing a number of different penalties and should consult with a speeding ticket lawyer in Fairfax right away.
The speed limit is determined by various organizations that have decided after driving roads, and seeing road traffic and different patterns and crashes, etc. what the safe speed limit is for that road. They’ve already conducted tests and they’ve already decided that that is a safe speed limit. Somebody can come in and say that he or she can actually drive 10 mph over the speed limit, even if you are driving safely at that particular speed, but the problem is that you’re still in violation of the speed limit as determined by the State of Virginia.
The State of Virginia already put in the effort into making the test happen and already have decided that the speed needs to be followed on the particular roads. It’s not something where you are allowed to make an individual judgment call on what speed is safe and what speed is not. Unfortunately, the statute doesn’t ask if are you driving safely on a certain road; it mandates that you follow the speed limit.
By law, there should be a sign posted every few miles, if not less, in Fairfax. Generally, the de facto speed limit on highways in Virginia is 55 mph. If you’re not sure what the speed limit is, 55 mph is a safe bet to stay at. On smaller roads, in residential areas, the speed limit is usually around 25 mph. However, if the limit deviates from this, there will be speed limit signs posted, either at the beginning of a residential area as you enter it or every couple of miles along some kind of freeway, highway, or slightly larger road.
When somebody is exceeding the speed limit, it depends on what you are specifically charged with. You might be charged with speeding, or you might be charged with the misdemeanor reckless driving. In either case, if you are charged with exceeding the speed limit, the first way to defend it would be to have your attorney check the officer’s calibration on whichever device he or she used to detect your speed, whether it be Lidar, or radar, or pacing.
Whenever somebody is driver faster than the speed limit of Virginia, a lot of the smaller details come into play because it’s a really difficult thing to contest if the officers have the necessary evidence; either you were speeding or you were not. As far as being guilty or innocent, it’s more about whether or not it was accurately calculated. If it was accurately calculated, it’s going to be more difficult to take this in front of the court and have them find you not guilty.
There would only be one scenario in which that might be an appropriate defense and it would be if it were impossible for you to move over to a slower lane or to get out of the lane of traffic; for instance, if somebody was tailgating you from behind, somebody was cutting you off in the front, and somebody was to your right and therefore not allowing you to actually slow your speed down. Otherwise, judges and police officers don’t appreciate this defense, and in fact are usually pretty upset by it, because in their opinion just because other people are breaking the law doesn’t mean that you should too.
According to the statute, you were either going above the speed limit or you were going the speed limit. That said, prosecutors and judges are sometimes amenable to listening to some of the argument that it was an exceptional circumstance especially if you have an excellent record, you’ve never been in trouble for speeding before, and you had a once-in-a-lifetime situation. Hypothetically, you were rushing your pregnant wife to the hospital or you were dealing with a situation where you simply had to go a little bit faster. Tell your attorney any reasons you had for your speed, and they might be able to use this information to convince either the judge or the prosecutor to make an exception in your case.