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.
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.”
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:
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:
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.
Typically, a speeding violation will add at least three demerit points to a motorist’s driving record. Accumulating too many points can lead to license suspension.