New Hampshire's Speeding Laws

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

New Hampshire has two types of speeding laws: a “basic speeding law” and “presumed speed limits.” This article explains the differences between the two and the consequences of each type of violation.

(Check out our article that discusses different types of speeding laws.)

Basic Speeding Law

New Hampshire’s basic speeding law prohibits driving at a speed “greater than is reasonable and prudent under the conditions and having regard to the actual and potential hazards then existing.” (N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 265:60 (2017).)

Presumed Speed Limits

Some states have “absolute speed limits.” With absolute limits it’s simple: If the sign says the speed limit is 40 miles per hour and you drive faster than that, you’ve violated the law.

New Hampshire, however, uses presumed or “per se” speed limits. If you exceed a presumed speed limit it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re guilty—you still have the opportunity to prove in court that your speed was safe. If you’re able to do so, the judge (or jury) is supposed to find you not guilty. And if a cop clocks you at a speed that’s under the presumed limit, there’s a presumption that you’re not in violation of New Hampshire’s basic speeding law (see above).

Unless otherwise posted, New Hampshire’s presumed speed limits are:

  • ten miles per hour below the posted speed limit in school zones from 45 minutes before the school opens until 45 minutes after the school closes
  • 30 miles per hour in any business or urban residential district
  • 35 miles per hour in any rural residential district
  • 55 miles per hour in other locations (except interstates), and
  • 65 miles per hour on most interstates.

(N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 265:60 (2017).)

Penalty for Exceeding Speed Limit

For a violation of New Hampshire’s basic speeding law, the fine is $62 for a first offense and $124 for a second offense. Fines for exceeding a presumed speed limit—provided the driver doesn’t prove the speed was safe under the circumstances—depend on the driver’s speed. Generally, the following penalties apply:

Exceeding a Presumed Limit That Is 55 Miles per Hour or Less

  • 1 to 10 miles per hour over the limit. Fine of $62.
  • 11 to 15 miles per hour over the limit. Fine of $93.
  • 16 to 20 miles per hour over the limit. Fine of $124.  
  • 21 to 25 miles per hour over the limit. Fine of $248.  
  • 26 miles per hour or more over the limit. Fine of $434.

Exceeding a 65-Mile-Per-Hour Presumed Limit

  • 1 to 5 miles per hour over the limit. Fine of $80.60.
  • 6 to 10 miles per hour over the limit. Fine of $124.
  • 11 to 15 miles per hour over the limit. Fine of $186.  
  • 16 to 20 miles per hour over the limit. Fine of $310.  
  • 21 miles per hour or more over the limit. Fine of $434.

Exceeding a 70-Mile-Per-Hour Presumed Limit

  • 1 to 5 miles per hour over the limit. Fine of $80.60.
  • 6 to 10 miles per hour over the limit. Fine of $124.
  • 11 to 15 miles per hour over the limit. Fine of $248.  
  • 16 to 20 miles per hour over the limit. Fine of $372.  
  • 21 miles per hour or more over the limit. Fine of $496.

Reckless Driving

Depending on the circumstances, speeding could lead to a “reckless driving” conviction. New Hampshire defines reckless driving as operating a vehicle in a manner that poses a “substantial and unjustifiable” risk to others where the driver is aware of but disregards the risk. A first reckless driving violation carries at least $500 in fines and a 60-day license suspension. (N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. §§ 265:79, 626:2 (2017).)

(Read more about New Hampshire’s reckless driving laws and penalties.)

Point System

Typically, a speeding violation will add at least three points to a motorist’s driving record. Accumulating too many points can lead to license suspension. (N.H. Code Admin. R. Saf-C 212.03 (2017).)

(Find out about New Hampshire’s traffic violation points system, including the number of points corresponding to different citations.)

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