Do I Need an Attorney for a Criminal Speeding Ticket?

In Arizona, many people are surprised to find themselves charged with a crime for speeding. Many Arizona residents and travelers in Arizona are unaware that such a crime exits. If you are interested in a more detailed definition and explanation of Criminal Speeding, which is actually officially called Excessive Speed in the Arizona statutes. (see Consequences of Excessive (Criminal) Speeding in this blog)

If the State of Arizona, through the law enforcement officer who issued you the ticket, can prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you were traveling excess of 85 mph or speeding 20 mph or more over the posted speed limit for that particular area, you can be charged in Arizona with a class 3 misdemeanor. This means the State of Arizona will attempt to obtain criminal conviction subjecting you to potential jail time. Yes, you can actually go to jail for Excessive Speed in Arizona. For a detailed explanation of misdemeanors in Arizona (see Misdemeanors in Arizonain this blog)

What are the Benefits of Representation on a Criminal Speeding Charge?

Since you are actually charged with a crime, this entitles you to all the rights and protections afforded any citizen who is charged with a criminal offense. The State of Arizona is required to prove your Excessive Speeding (Criminal Speeding) charge with the same burden of proof necessary to prove any type of criminal case. That means that there will be a State Prosecutor who is assigned your case. In a civil speeding violation, the law enforcement Officer who issued the ticket shows up to court. In a criminal case you will be prosecuted by a State Prosecutor. A State Prosecutor is a lawyer who represents the State of Arizona. On TV they always call them DA’s. The general public seems to be more familiar with that name. In a criminal trial there is a different level of proof that you are entitled, unlike a normal civil traffic speeding violation. (see The Difference Between Criminal Traffic Violations vs. Civil Traffic Violation in Arizona in this blog), At a criminal trial the State of Arizona must prove the Excessive Speed offense beyond a reasonable doubt. Unlike a civil traffic violation, the Arizona Rules of Criminal Procedure and the Arizona Rules of Evidence apply in this trial. An experienced trial lawyer can be of great assistance to you at each of the various stages of a criminal proceeding such as this. An experienced trial lawyer may be able confront the State of Arizona’s prosecutor and achieve an acquittal (dismissal of the charges) at trial. A good lawyer may also be able to convince the prosecutor to dismiss the crime prior to trial, or reduce the charge to a civil violation.

There are many negative consequences of Excessive Speeding (Criminal Speeding). An experienced trial lawyer can help you avoid a criminal conviction. With skilled representation you may be able to avoid consequences including:

Up to 30 days of jail time
Mandatory fines plus surcharges
Court ordered classes
Court ordered community service
Classes ordered by Arizona Motor Vehicle Division (MVD)
Points accessed by Arizona Motor Vehicle Division (MVD) to your driving record
Potential suspension or revocation of your driver’s license
Higher insurance, cancellation, or denial of insurance
Conviction of a crime resulting in a criminal record
Effects on immigration status, visas, and passports
Court ordered probation
Having to report a criminal conviction for employment
Negative consequences to vocational licenses (nursing, teaching, security clearances, etc.)
Having your vehicle impounded