When Is It Legal to Break the Speed Limit?

Going just one mile per hour over the speed limit is against the law in Texas. Most police officers in this state realize that the typical speedometer is accurate to within one or two MPH, depending upon the age and type of car, truck, or SUV. But the leeway that a police officer will give on speed is variable. It is especially important to not exceed the speed limit in a school zone, particularly during school hours.

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In other situations on the road, speeding may be treated differently. For example, going seven above the 35 MPH speed limit is more likely usually to get you a ticket than going seven over the 65 MPH speed limit on the interstate. However, it is possible to have the ticket dismissed if you opt to go to court and fight.

Driving Laws Are Different in Texas

There are three sorts of speed limit laws in the US:

  • Basic
  • Absolute
  • Presumed

Basic speed laws are fairly rare. These laws are complicated because law enforcement that issues the ticket can use their judgment to determine if you drove too fast for conditions. This means that you could in theory get a speeding ticket in heavy rain for going five UNDER the speed limit, if everyone around you was going slower. In a similar way, driving too slowly on a highway can get you a ticket, too.

Most states feature absolute laws, though. This means that the posted speed limit is absolute. Getting pulled over for just 1 MPH over can get you a ticket.

Texas has presumed speeding laws. A presumed violation gives you some amount of flexibility. Ticketing also is at the discretion of the law enforcement officer. So, as long as you are driving in a safe manner, going a few over may not get you a ticket. If you get a ticket for going five over on a straight, empty road in broad daylight, you may be able to successfully fight this ticket in court.

Common Speeding Ticket Defenses

Your common defense options are:

  • You did not exceed the speed limit. This is a tough defense to prove. It is possible for the police to measure your speed incorrectly, but proving it in court is hard.
  • You may also claim that you did go over the speed limit, but you drove in a safe manner, given conditions at the time.

Whatever defense you  use, it needs to deal with the concerns and story that the police officer offers. For example, if the police officer states that he followed you and matched your seed, you may argue that his measurement was inaccurate.

But proving you drove at a safe speed given conditions gets harder, the faster you were driving. And remember, if driving conditions were less than ideal, such as in the dark and/or rain, it is possible to get a ticket for a very small speeding infraction.

Of course, the best policy is almost always just obeying all Texas traffic laws. If you would like to speak to a criminal defense attorney then call (713) 224-4000.