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.
A speeding conviction will also result in demerit points being assessed the driver's record.
You can always opt to fight your speeding ticket in court. However, the wisdom of doing so depends on the circumstances. For instance, you might have better chances of beating a ticket based on the officer's visual estimated than you would a ticket based on a radar reading.