Minnesota has several types of speeding laws: “absolute speeding limits,” "presumed limits," and a “basic speeding law.” This article explains the differences between the two and the consequences of each type of violation.
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.
Minnesota's absolute and presumed speed limits are typically posted. If a driver exceeds a presumed limit, there's a presumption that the speed violates the basic speeding law. However, the driver might be able to beat the ticket by convincing the judge that the speed was safe and reasonable under the circumstances. With absolute limits, it's more cut-and-dried: 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 and presumed speed limits are:
Posted speed limits are presumed limits outside municipalities and absolute limits inside municipalities.
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:
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 of $10 or so (the library fees vary by location). Accordingly, a $40 fine might result in a $125 speeding ticket ($40 fine plus a $75 criminal surcharge and $10 law library fee).
Most speeding violations are petty misdemeanors. However, the penalty is raised from a petty misdemeanor to a misdemeanor if:
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.
While Minnesota does not use a point system for licensing sanctions, repeat traffic offenses can result in driver’s license revocation.