West Virginia Speeding Tickets

Read about West Virginia’s speeding laws and the consequences of getting a speeding ticket.

West 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.

(Also, check out our articles that discuss the different types of speeding laws and ways of fighting a speeding ticket.)

Absolute Speed Limits

There's no trick to how West 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. West Virginia’s absolute speed limits include (unless otherwise posted):

  • 15 miles per hour in school zones when children are present
  • 25 miles per hour in business and residential districts, and
  • 55 miles per hour on most open country highways.

(W. Va. Code Ann. § 17C-6-1 (2017).)

Basic Speeding Law

In addition to the absolute limits, West Virginia’s basic speeding law prohibits driving at a speed that is greater than “reasonable and prudent under the existing conditions and the actual and potential hazards.” The basic speeding law also requires drivers to reduce their speed appropriately when approaching railroad crossings, curves, a hill crest, or other hazards.

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.

(W. Va. Code Ann. § 17C-6-1 (2017).)

Speeding Ticket Fines

The fines for a speeding violation depend on the circumstances. But generally, speeding is a misdemeanor and the possible penalties are:

  • First violation. For a first offense within a year, the motorist faces up to $100 in fines.
  • Second violation. A second speeding violation within a year carries up to $200 in fines.
  • Third violation. Generally, a third or subsequent speeding violation within a two-year period will cost the driver up to $500 in fines. However, if the third violation involves a speed that’s at least 15 miles per hour over the limit, the driver faces up to six months in jail and/or a maximum $500 in fines.
  • School zone violations. For most speeding violations in a school zone, the fine will be between $100 and $500. But a driver who was exceeding the speed limit by at least 15 miles per hour faces up to six months in jail and/or $100 to $500 in fines.

(W. Va. Code Ann. § 17C-6-1 (2017).)

Reckless Driving and Vehicular Homicide

Depending on the circumstances, a speeding violation can lead to a “reckless driving” conviction. Generally, reckless driving carries five to 90 days in jail and/or $25 to $500 in fines.

And if a speeding violation results in the death of another person, it’s possible to be convicted of "negligent homicide." Convicted motorists face up to a year in jail and/or a maximum $1,000 in fines.

Traffic Violation Points

A speeding ticket will typically add points to a motorist’s driving record. Accumulating too many points can lead to license suspension.

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