Minnesota's Speeding Laws

Read about Minnesota’s speeding laws and the consequences of getting a speeding ticket.

Like most other states, Minnesota has two types of speeding laws: “absolute speeding limits” and a “basic speeding law.” This article explains the differences between the two and the consequences of each type of violation.

Basic Speeding Law

Minnesota’s basic speeding law prohibits motorists from driving “at a speed greater than is reasonable and prudent under the conditions.” The law also requires every driver to use due care while driving, remain aware of any hazards existing on the road, and reduce speed to avoid collisions. Conditions that may require reduced speed include driving with low visibility, driving in rain or snow, or seeing a deer on the road.

(Minn. Stat. § 169.14 (2016).)

Absolute Speed Limits

There is no trick to how Minnesota’s absolute speed limits work: If the sign says the speed limit is 40 miles per hour and you drive faster than 40 miles per hour, you’ve violated the law.

Unless otherwise posted, Minnesota’s absolute speed limits are:

  • ten miles per hour in alleys
  • 30 miles per hour in an urban district
  • 65 miles per hour on freeways and expressways, and on interstate highways inside an urban area (areas with a population greater than 50,000)
  • 70 miles per hour on interstate highways outside an urban area, and
  • 55 miles per hour in other locations.

(Minn. Stat. § 169.14 (2016).)

Penalty for Exceeding Speed Limit

The penalty for a speeding violation is a petty misdemeanor, which can result in a fine but no jail time. The fines for speeding generally range from $40 to $150, depending on the driver’s speed. The fine doubles if the speeding violation was:

  • committed in a school zone
  • over the limit by 20 miles per hour or more, or
  • a result of failing to slow down for an emergency vehicle with flashing lights.

A minimum fine of $300 applies for speeding in a work zone when workers are present or a lane is closed.

Your speeding ticket will also include a $75 criminal surcharge and a law library fee. Accordingly, a $40 fine actually results in a $125 speeding ticket ($40 fine plus a $75 criminal surcharge and $10 law library fee).

(Minn. Stat. §§ 134A.09, 134A.09.10, 169.14, 357.021 (2016).)

Enhanced Penalties 

Most speeding violations are petty misdemeanors. However, the penalty is raised from a petty misdemeanor to a misdemeanor if:

  • the speeding violation endangered persons or property, or
  • the driver had two prior traffic convictions in the past year.

A misdemeanor conviction can mean up to 90 days in jail and a maximum $1,000 in fines. Misdemeanor penalties also apply for careless driving and reckless driving. Reckless driving includes racing on public streets or highways.

(Learn more about Minnesota’s driving to endanger laws.)

While Minnesota does not use a point system for licensing sanctions, repeat traffic offenses can result in driver’s license revocation.

(Minn. Stat. §§ 169.13, 169.89, 171.17 (2016).)

 

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