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What are the three types of speed limits?

Speed limits may seem fairly straightforward: if you get caught driving over the posted limit, you receive a ticket. Indeed, this is the way that speed limit enforcement in Virginia usually works. According to FindLaw, the term for this type of speed limit is an absolute speed limit. However, it is only one of three different types of speed limits enforced within the United States. 

Another type is a basic speed limit. The theory behind basic speed law is that a velocity that is unsafe under certain hazardous conditions is a violation even if it is below the posted speed limits. For example, a law enforcement officer may deem that your speed is too fast for the current conditions and ticket you if the roads are slippery due to weather conditions of rain, snow or ice.

In a few states, which include California and Texas, there is a different type of speed limit called a presumed speed limit. The theory is that as long as you are driving safely for the conditions, it is legal for you to drive over the posted speed limit, although it is up to you to convince the judge that you were driving safely. Because Virginia law does not recognize presumed speed limits, however, you cannot invoke it to defend yourself in traffic courts within this state. 

Most states, including Virginia, enforce absolute speed limits as a matter of course. That means that you can potentially receive a ticket whenever you drive over the speeding ticket whenever you drive over the limit, regardless of by how much or how little.

The information in this article is not intended as legal advice but provided for educational purposes only.

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