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Pa Speeding

Pa Speeding

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Published by Yury Byalik

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Published by: Yury Byalik on Oct 18, 2011
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04/28/2012

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Brought to you by Legal Help
 (1) What are absolute speed limits in this state?
There are two different kinds of  speed limits in Pennsylvania. They are absolute speed limits and presumed speed limits. It is important to note that while the names of thespeed limits may be different the result of a violation is the same. There is no different ticket for a absolute violation or a presumed violation
you will get the same ticket, andthe same fine, either way.Absolute speed limits are the speed that is posted on the speed limit sign. As thename would imply this speed limit is very firm with no flexibility whatsoever. If a driver isdriving over the posted speed limit this would be a strict liability offence that will result ina speeding ticket.Strict liability offense means that, even if it was by accident, the driver will be heldliable for the speeding violation. There is no element of a speeding ticket that requiring that the driver know they were speeding or that the driver was speeding on purpose.Essentially, that if a driver was driving along and was going one mile per hour over theposted speed limit they are in violation of the law and can get a speeding ticket.However, there are a few reasons or defenses that can be made once a speedingticket has been issued to the driver. These defenses are far from being considered aguarantee, they simply mean that the court may lessen the speeding ticket or eliminate it after the court proceedings.The information on the hearing can be found on the back of the ticket. Always readthe back of the ticket carefully. Here, it will inform the driver who they can raise thesedefense. There are lawyers who can go to these hearings and help with the defense of thespeeding ticket. However, it is not necessary to have a lawyer at these proceedings, but thelawyer will be more acquainted with the process and have a better chance at making theright defense.In Pennsylvania you will never see a speed limit above 65 miles per hour. This speedlimit is only used on roads with limited access like thruways, highways, interstates or othersimilar roads. The maximum speed limit for any other road, bridge, or non-restrictedaccess roads is only 55 miles per hour. This is because of the unlimited access of theroadway. This is the highest speed limit that the Pennsylvania Department of transportation has determined that is safe for cars to travel at on these roads.
(2) What are presumed speed limits in this state?
The second type of speeding violation is when a drive is in excess of the presumedspeed limit. Needless to say this is substantially more subjective then the absolute speedlimit. A presumed speed limit is one that is relative to the condition of the road at the timethat the driver is given a ticket.
Pennsylvania’s
presumed speed limit law reads as follows,
“No person shall drive a vehicle at a speed greater than is reasonable and prudent under
the conditions an
d having regard to he actual and potential hazards then existing.”
 This means that a driver can get a speeding ticket for driving down a county road a55 miles per hour, and, on that very same country road hours later a car would not get aticket for going 55 miles per hour. The most obvious example is in winter weather. Withsnow obstructing the visibility and making the roads slick the safe speed limit would be
 
substantially lower than that same road in the summer time. Winter weather is not the onlyexample. Other examples include: hazards on the roadway, rain storms, fog, sharp turnsand this else that would cause a prudent driver to slow down.However, do not think that speeding tickets are only for going in excess of the speedlimit. A driver can also receive a speeding ticket for traveling at a unsafe speed that is toslow. In these cases, a driver
cannot drive “at such a slow speed as to impede the normal
and reasonable movement of traffic except when reduced speed is necessary for safeoperation
or in compliance with the law.”
The most common example is driving under 45miles per hour on the thruway without flashers. Driving under a safe speed for that roadway at that time would fall under the category of presumed speed limit.Here too there are defenses that can be made for a presumed speeding violation. .These defenses are far from being considered a guarantee, they simply mean that the court may lessen the speeding ticket or eliminate it after the court proceedings. The informationon the hearing can be found on the back of the ticket. Always read the back of the ticket carefully. Here, it will inform the driver who they can raise these defense. There arelawyers who can go to these hearings and help with the defense of the speeding ticket.There are a few states that enforce different speed limits for the operators of commercial vehicles. This is not true for Pennsylvania. The designated speed limits are thesame for all motorists on the road
even for the operators of commercial vehicles.
(4) Provide a summary of the speeding laws in the state
Speeding is whenever a car is traveling faster that is reasonably safe under thecurrent road conditions. Generally, this is an absolute limit 
the speed that is posted on thesign. But, sometimes it is presumed. This is like on a country road that has no speed limit sign or on a snowy winter day. The presumed speed limit is whatever is generallyconsidered safe under those conditions.You can be convicted of speeding if:(1) The driver who is the defendant was actually the individual who was driving the car.Additionally, the driver accused was in fact driving the vehicle that was seen to be drivingover the allowed speed limit. For example, that the officer pulled over the correct car andnot one that looked similar but was going the proper speed.(2) The driver was going the speed that the officer claims they were. This would requirethat the radar or laser equipment was properly functioning, maintained and that the officerwas trained in using this type of equipment.(3) The driver was driving over the speed limit.After being ticketed you can plead guilty and pay the fine, or plead not guilty andfight the ticket. The information on how to do this is on the back of the ticket. The statemust prove that the driver has satisfied all three elements of speeding. The driver may tryto raise a defense to speeding. Common defenses include: person ticketed was not theactual driver, vehicle alleged was not the actual vehicle that was speeding, the event occurred out of jurisdiction of the officer who gave the ticket, the driver was not driving at 
 
the speed limit which law enforcement officer said they were driving, the reading wasinaccurate due to the laser/ radar gun being shot at the wrong vehicle, the laser or Radarequipment was not properly maintained, the reading was inaccurate due to an obstructionor interference, or the law enforcement officer was either inexperienced or untrained intheir application of the laser or radar system.Fines for a speeding ticket may increase in a construction zone or in a school zone.But, the fines and penalties are the same for everyone that is on the road. There is nospecial privileges or harsher penalties based on occupation. However, the amount of thefine that is to be paid by the driver will depend on how fast the driver was going at the timethey were stopped by the police.If you are ticketed you may want to consider contacting a lawyer. There are lawyerswho are experienced in these matters and can help get the penalties reduced or eliminated.
(5) Who has the burden of proof in proving speeding?
The burden of proof is the responsibility of the state. The burden of proof is thestandard level of certainty that is required to support a verdict of guilty. In Pennsylvaniathe level of certainty that must be achieved to support a verdict is called reasonable doubt.Reasonable doubt is tricky to define because it is subjective to each individual. However, it can be defined as a doubt that would cause a reasonably careful and sensible person tohesitate before acting upon a matter of importance in his or her own affairs. A reasonabledoubt must be a real doubt; it may not be an imagined one, nor may it be a doubt manufactured to avoid carrying out an unpleasant duty. This is the highest standard of proof that is required by law. It is also the applicable standard in criminal cases.With a speeding ticket the one who must be convinced that the burden of proof,reasonable doubt, has been met is the administrative judge presiding over the hearing intraffic court. The one who must convince the administrative judge that the standard of proof has been met is the state. More specifically, of the officer who gave the driver thespeeding ticket.At the hearing for the speeding ticket the officer will generally testify on behalf of the state. He or she will tell the judge what he observed on the day of the speeding ticket.The police officer will attempt to prove guilt by either a standard of reasonable doubt.In short the Commonwealth must prove:(1) The driver who is the defendant was actually the individual who was driving the car.Additionally, the driver accused was in fact driving the vehicle that was seen to be drivingover the allowed speed limit. For example, that the officer pulled over the correct car andnot one that looked similar but was going the proper speed.(2) The driver was going the speed that the officer claims they were. This would requirethat the radar or laser equipment was properly functioning, maintained and that the officerwas trained in using this type of equipment.(3) The driver was driving over the speed limit.Each of these three elements can be proven beyond a reasonable doubt then the driver isguilty of speeding. A guilty verdict means that the driver will get points on their license and

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