Wisconsin Speeding Laws

Basic Speed Law: No person drive a vehicle at a speed greater than is reasonable and prudent under the conditions and having regard for the actual and potential hazards then existing.  WISC. § 346.57(2)

Penalty for Exceeding Speed Limit

A first time violator may be:

  • fined between $30 and $300, and
  • the violator’s license may be suspended or revoked not more than one year.

Penalty for Reckless Driving

A first time violator may be fined between $25 and $200.

(Read more about Wisconsin's reckless driving laws and penalties.)

Speed Limits

  • 65 MPH on any freeway or expressway when posted
  • 55 MPH on highways not
  • 45 MPH on designated rustic roads
  • 35 MPH on highways within semiurban district outside city or village corporate limits
  • 35 MPH on outlying district highways within city or village corporate limits
  • 35 MPH on certain highway in business, industrial and residential districts
  • 25 MPH on service roads with city or village corporate limits
  • 25 MPH on other highways within city or village corporate limits
  • 15 MPH in an alley
  • 15 MPH in a safety zone occupied by pedestrians and where a public passenger vehicle has stopped to receive or discharge passengers
  • 15 MPH in a "school crossing"
  • 15 MPH when passing a school during times when children are either going to or from a school or when children "are playing within the sidewalk area at or about the school."
  • 15 MPH in town parks or recreation area when children are going to or from or playing within such areas.

Wisconsin Speeding Laws

Wisconsin 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 Wisconsin 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 Wisconsin 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 either suspension or revocation for 2 months, 4 months, 6 months or 1 year if they accumulate respectively 12 to 16 points, 17 to 22 points, 23 to 30 points or more than 30 points within 12 months. 

The following points have been assigned to speeding to speed related offenses:  Racing on the highways-6 points; reckless driving-6 points; speeding more than 20 MPH over the speed limit-6 points; imprudent speed or driving too fast for conditions-4 points; speeding more than 10 MPH but less than 20 MPH over the speed limit-4 points; inattentive driving-4 points; unnecessary acceleration-4 points; speeding less than10 MPH over the speed limit-3 points; obstructing traffic/driving excessively slowly-2 points; and, all other moving violations-2 points.

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