You may have a school zone near you that you must pass on your way to work or some other engagement. While you are always a safe driver, one morning you are pulled over by a Virginia police officer and given a ticket for speeding in a school zone. You may ask, what are the penalties for speeding in a school zone and how can I defend my rights?

You can make an educated decision about your next steps by knowing all the pertinent information related to school zone speeding tickets. Here, we will go over what qualifies as a school zone, the penalties for school zone speeding tickets and what you can do to protect your rights after receiving one of these tickets.

What is a school zone in Virginia?

Virginia state law designates a school zone as an area near a school or highway where the “presence of children… requires a special warning to motorists” This zone will be marked by signage that will not be placed more than 600 feet from the limits of the school property. Signs may only be put into place or have their lights turned on for the 30 minutes before and after school.  In the marked zone, the speed limit is 25 miles per hour.

City and town governing bodies can change the school zone speeds limits in areas that fall within city or town limits. These governing bodies must justify these changes with a traffic investigation that shows the need for the change.

What are the penalties for speeding in a school zone?

If you drive at any speed higher than the posted limit in a school zone, you will receive a ticket that is at most $250. You may receive added fines for other infractions, such as reckless driving, which can also carry drivers’ license demerit points. Additionally, the cost of your car insurance may rise if you receive a speeding ticket.

What can you do if you receive a ticket?

Because of the steep penalties of a school zone speeding ticket, you should contact a knowledgeable attorney as soon as possible. A skilled lawyer can protect your ability to drive and help you avoid excessive fines. Common defense strategies include determining if you were actually in the school zone when you received your ticket and determining if the town or city justified changes to a school zone’s speed limit with an investigation.