Virginia Speeding Laws

Basic Speed Law: A person cannot drive so as to exceed a reasonable speed under the circumstances and traffic conditions existing at the time, regardless of any posted speed limit. VA § 46.2-861

Penalty for Exceeding Speed Limit

A first time violator may be:

  • fined not more than $200, and
  • the violator’s license may be suspended 90 days.

Penalty for Reckless Driving

A first time violator may be:

  • fined not more than $2500,
  • sentenced to jail time of not more than 12 months, and
  • the violator’s license may be suspended 90 days.

(Read more about Virginia's reckless driving laws and the consequences of a conviction.)

Speed Limits

  • 65 MPH on rural interstate highways, certain highways by the Virginia Highway Corporation and other limited access highways in   counties with a population more than 45,700 but less than 45,800 
  • 65 MPH on Virginia Route 288 
  • 55 MPH on other interstate highways, limited access highways with   divided roadways, nonlimited access highways with 4 or more lanes and all   State primary highways 
  • 55 MPH on all other highways for passenger motor vehicles, busses,   pickup or panel trucks or motorcycles 
  • 45 MPH on all other highways for trucks, tractor trucks, a combination of   vehicles designed to transport property or a vehicle which is towing either   another motor vehicle or a house trailer 
  • 35 MPH on highways within a city or town excluding interstate or other   limited access divided highways 
  • 35 MPH on nonsurface treated highways 
  • 25 MPH in a business or residential district 

Virginia Speeding Laws

Virginia has what is known as an “absolute” speed limit law. There is no trick to how this works: If the sign says 40 mph and you drive 41 mph or more, you have violated the law. In other words, you are guilty if you drive over the speed limit. In Virginia 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.
  • 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 Virginia 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 mph posted limit on the freeway amidst slower and heavy traffic, in a dense fog, or in a driving rainstorm or blizzard.

Point System

An offender's license is subject to suspension if they accumulate 18 points within 12 months or 24 points within 24 months. The following points have been assigned to speeding and speed related offenses: Reckless driving (includes all violations noted to be reckless driving offenses)-6 points; speeding more than 20 MPH above the speed limit-6 points; racing on the highway-6 points; speeding 10 to 19 MPH above the speed limit-4 points; speeding generally (no speed indicated)-4 points; speeding in vehicles with special permits or while towing anther vehicle-4 points; speeding either in a school crossing, in a business/residential district, in a city or town, on a bridge or in a work zone-4 points; improper driving-3 points; impeding traffic-3 points; and, speeding 1 to 9 MPH above the speed limit-3 points.

Persons under 18 years old, who receive points, are subject to the following sanctions: For 1st violation where points have been assigned, the person shall be directed to attend a driver improvement clinic. For a 2nd violation where points have been assigned, the person shall have their driving privileges suspended for 90 days. And, for a 3rd violation where points have been assigned, the person shall have their driving privileges revoked for either 1 year or until they reach 18 years old whichever is the longer revocation period. 

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