Virginia has two types of speeding laws: “absolute limits” and a “basic speeding law.” This article explains the differences between the two and the consequences of a speeding violation.
There's no trick to how Virginia’s absolute speed limits work: If the absolute speed limit is 50 miles per hour and you drive faster than that, you’ve violated the law. Virginia’s absolute speed limits include (unless otherwise posted):
Virginia’s basic speeding law prohibits driving at a speed greater than is reasonable “under the circumstances and traffic conditions existing at the time, regardless of any posted speed limit.” In other words, motorists must always drive at a safe speed. What a safe speed is will depend on the circumstances. For instance, 55 miles per hour might be safe on a bright, sunny day. But if it’s dark and the road is icy, going 55 miles per hour could be dangerous and a violation of the basic speeding law.
A violation of the basic speed law (and exceeding a posted speed limit by 20 miles per hour or more) is considered “reckless driving.” Reckless driving is a class 1 misdemeanor. Convicted motorists typically face up to six months in jail and/or a maximum $1,000 fine. License suspension of up to six months is also a possibility.
Speeding is typically a traffic infraction. Depending on the where the violation takes place, the driver will generally pay a $51 processing fee plus $6 or $7 for each mile per hour over the speed limit.
For speeding violations in residential zones, the driver will pay a $51 processing fee and the fine is $200 plus $8 for each mile per hour over the speed limit. And speeding in a school zone carries a $51 processing fee and the fine is $8 for each mile per hour over the speed limit plus an additional amount of up to $250.