Leesburg Speed Limit Information
Although they may seem straight forward, there is a variety of different information that goes into how speed limits are determined. Below, a Leesburg speeding ticket lawyer discusses these limits, how they are enforced, and the different speed limits throughout Virginia. For more information regarding your ticket, call and schedule a free consultation today.
How Speed Limits Are Determined
The speed limit is the maximum posted speed for a given area. There are a variety of Virginia Code sections that govern how speed limits are determined; where certain speed limits are commonly seen such as business districts, residential districts, and highway districts; how the speed limit signs must be posted; and what authority localities have to adjust or change the speed limits.
Speed limits are not subjective. If the speed limit is posted as 55 mph—for example, on a highway—you can get a ticket for travelling 56, 57, or 58 mph, because you are technically breaking the speed limit. Now everyone knows that it is unlikely that you are going to be issued a ticket if you are going 56, 57, or 58 in a 55. However, it does mean that it is not illegal or improper for a law enforcement officer to enforce the speed limit. For example, in residential or business districts, where the posted speed limit is 25 mph, the local town police force of small towns will actively enforce 25 mph or even slower zones and charge drivers aggressively.
For example, the town of Waterford in Loudoun County has a 20 mph zone and finds people coming through the town on fairly normal country roads. Because the town is very residential with small businesses and children that are using the roads the Sheriff’s Office actively enforces the 20 mph zones and issues tickets even if you are 5 mph over.
Types of Speed Limits
Unless otherwise posted, the speed limit on a Virginia highway in accordance with Virginia Code Section 46.2–870 is 55 mph. While this default 55 mph doesn’t come into play very often in Loudoun County, it is more common in rural Virginia where speed limits are not posted as frequently. There are certain places, especially highways in Northern Virginia, where the speed limit is 60, 65, or even 70 mph. Certain interstate zones in the Commonwealth have 70 mph zones. It should be noted, however, that because the highway zones are 70 mph the speed limit does not extend the rule for reckless driving by speed under 46.2 –862. In accordance to the Virginia Code Section 46.2 – 862, if you are 20 mph over or anything over 80 mph you can still get a reckless driving by speed ticket.
It you are traveling only 11 mph over the speed limit in a 70 zone—that is, 81 in a 70—it can be reckless driving and it does not have to be simple speeding ticket.
Are There Mitigating Circumstances For Speeding?
There may be a situation that will mitigate your speeding offense, such as emergency situations, family emergencies, or some other type of imminent threats. However, simply running late or not planning properly for an appointment is not going to be a positive mitigating circumstance for a ticket.
How To Know The Speed Limit When There’s No Sign
Pursuant to Virginia Code Section 46.2 – 870, the default speed in a non-posted highway in the Commonwealth of Virginia is 55 mph. However, drivers should be aware of their training and education in identifying the proper speed zones in Virginia. If you are in a town, business district, or residential district, the default speed limit is typically 25 mph and sometimes 35 mph. If it is a highway with a lot of stop lights and other places where drivers can turn or regularly exit and enter the highway, drivers should be aware that the speed limit may be less, for example 45 mph.
Typically speed limit signs in the Commonwealth of Virginia are posted very often. You just have to know what you are looking for and where to look for them, but not knowing the speed limit—especially for places known as speed traps where the speed limit changes abruptly—is a mitigating circumstance, but it is not an absolute defense when charged with speeding.
Highest Speed Limits in Virginia
The highest posted speed limit on any highway in the Commonwealth of Virginia is 70 mph. 70 mph zones are a recent addition to the Virginia portion of the federal Interstate Highway System. Common 70 mph zones in Northern Virginia are seen on I-95 off Spotsylvania County and on Interstate 66 west of Prince William County in Fauquier County and Warren County. Interstate 81 in the Shenandoah Valley, including Frederick County, the City of Winchester and Shenandoah County also includes some 70 mph zones.
These 70 mph zones create a whole different type of traffic, because it means that all vehicles will typically be travelling at a minimum of 55 to 70 mph. This includes trucks and vehicles that are packed down with people going on vacations or trips, as well as speeders. People need to be aware that these 70 mph zones are also strictly enforced. 70 mph doesn’t mean that the driver should feel free to get over 85 or 90 mph. Virginia State Police and local law enforcement agencies quite aggressively enforce those high speeds.