Louisiana Speeding Laws
In addition to "absolute speed limits" (see below), Louisiana's "basic speeding law" prohibits driving at a speed greater than is reasonable and prudent under the conditions and potential hazards then existing, having due regard for the traffic on, and the surface and width of, the highway, and the condition of the weather. (La. Stat. Ann. § 32:64(A) (2017).)
Penalty for Exceeding Speed Limit
A first-time speeding violator may be:
- fined not more than $175
- sentenced to jail time of not more than 30 days, and
- facing license suspension of up to a year.
Penalty for Reckless Driving
Louisiana defines reckless operation (also called "reckless driving") as driving in a “criminally negligent or reckless manner.” For a first offense, a motorist faces up to 90 days in jail and/or $200 in fines. (La. Stat. Ann. §§ 14:12, 14:99 (2017).)
(Read more about Louisiana's reckless operation laws and the consequences of a conviction.)
Louisiana's absolute speed limits are:
- 70 miles per hour on interstate and controlled access highways
- 65 miles per hour on other multi-lane divided highways which have partial or no control of access, and
- 55 miles per hour on other highways.
Louisiana Speeding Laws
Louisiana has what is known as an “absolute” speed limit law. There's no trick to how it works: If the sign says 40 miles per hour and you drive 41 miles per hour or more, you have violated the law. In other words, you are guilty if you drive over the speed limit. In Louisiana you may be able to make three possible defenses:
- attacking the officer’s determination of your speed (to do this you must discover what method the officer used to cite you and then learn about the ways to attack that particular method)
- claiming an emergency forced you to exceed the speed limit to avoid serious damage or injury to yourself or others, and
- claiming that the officer mistook your car for another car (with so many similar-looking cars, it is possible that a cop could see a speeding car, lose sight of it around a corner, and then wrongly pick out your car farther down the road).
Note that in Louisiana you can be ticketed for driving at an unsafe speed, even if that speed does not violate the posted limit—for example, driving exactly at the maximum posted limit on the freeway amidst slower and heavy traffic, in a dense fog, or in a driving rainstorm or blizzard.