Wisconsin has two types of speeding laws: a “basic speeding law” and “fixed limits.” This article explains the differences between the two and the consequences of a speeding violation.
Wisconsin’s basic speeding law prohibits driving at a speed “greater than is reasonable and prudent under the conditions and having regard for the actual and potential hazards then existing.” In other words, motorists must always drive at a safe speed. What a safe speed is will depend on the circumstances. For instance, although driving the speed limit on a certain roadway might be safe when conditions are ideal, the same speed could be dangerous if the road is slippery.
There's nothing complicated about how Wisconsin’s fixed speed limits (also called “absolute” limits) work: If the fixed speed limit is 50 miles per hour and you drive faster than that, you’ve violated the law. Unless otherwise posted, Wisconsin’s fixed speed limits prohibit motorists from driving faster than:
But, again, regardless of what the speed limit is on a roadway, drivers must always operate their vehicle at a safe speed given the current conditions.
The consequences of a Wisconsin speeding violation depend on the circumstances. But fines typically range from $30 to $300. And for certain speeding violations, the fines for a second violation within a year are $80 to $600. There are also circumstances where speeding in a construction or school zone can lead to the standard fines being doubled.
A speeding ticket will also lead to the DMV assessing demerit points to the driver's record. The number of points depends on the driver's speed compared to the speed limit.
Depending on the circumstances, speeding could lead to a “reckless driving” conviction. Wisconsin’s reckless driving law states that “no person may endanger the safety of any person or property by the negligent operation of a vehicle.” And when a speeding violation results in the death of another person, the prosecution might decide to charge the driver with vehicle homicide.