Vehicle Code 22349 a VC – Speeding Over 65 MPH

Vehicle Code 22349 a VC is the California statute that makes it a crime for a person to drive on a highway at a speed greater than 65 miles per hour. This is a default law that applies unless the speed limit is set at a different speed (e.g., 55 mph or 70 mph). A violation is an infraction that can lead to a fine.

22349 a VC states that “except as provided in Section 22356, no person may drive a vehicle upon a highway at a speed greater than 65 miles per hour.” Vehicle Code 22356 VC authorizes the Department of Transportation to set the speed limit at 70 mph.

Defenses

It may be possible to challenge a speeding ticket in traffic court. Common grounds include showing that:

  • there was an emergency
  • the defendant was in a 70 miles per hour speed zone, and/or
  • a radar device produced an inaccurate reading.

Fines

Speeding over 65 mph is an infraction. This is opposed to a California misdemeanor or a felony.

The offense is punishable by:

  • a speeding ticket and a fine, and
  • one point on the driver's DMV driving record.

The DMV can do the following if a person earns enough points within a 1-, 2- or 3-year period:

  • declare him/her a negligent operator, and
  • suspend, or even, revoke, his driving privileges.

Our California criminal defense attorneys will highlight the following in this article:

car speeding past 65mph in violation of 22349 a VC
California Law makes it an infraction to drive over 65 MPH on the freeway unless otherwise marked.

1. Is it illegal to drive over 65 miles per hour in California?

Vehicle Code 22349 VC is the California law that makes it an infraction for a driver to:

  1. drive a vehicle on a freeway, and
  2. do so at a speed greater than 65 miles per hour.1

The statute applies unless the freeway is marked for another speed limit.

The above law sets forth an absolute speed limit. This means a motorist violates the statute by driving one mile per hour more than 65.

California has two additional absolute speed limits. These prohibit drivers from driving faster than:

  • 70 mph on freeways and other highways (that are marked for 70 miles per hour),2 and
  • 55 mph on two-lane, undivided highways (that ae marked for 55 miles per hour).3

2. How can a person fight a speeding ticket?

Defense lawyers draw on several legal strategies in contesting a speeding ticket. These include showing that:

  1. the defendant was speeding because of an emergency.
  2. the accused was driving in a 70-mph speed zone.
  3. a radar device produced an inaccurate reading.

2.1. Emergency

Emergencies often occur and they can force a motorist to exceed the speed limit. Common emergencies involve:

  • medical conditions,
  • fires, and
  • work situations.

A driver can always challenge a speeding ticket by saying that he/she had to drive fast because there was an emergency.

2.2. 70 miles per hour speed zone

VC 22356 authorizes the Department of Transportation to set the speed limit at 70 mph. When it does, a driver is free to drive at this speed. A defense, then, is for a driver to say that he was in a 70-mph speed zone.

2.3. Radar device produced inaccurate reading

Police officers typically use radar devices to show that a driver was speeding. A strong legal defense then is showing that the device produced an inaccurate reading.

There are three ways to show this. These are:

  1. showing that objects interfered with the radar beam (such as trees, trucks or other cars).
  2. proving that the radar device was not calibrated properly.
  3. demonstrating that the officer using the device did so incorrectly.
speed limit sign
Speeding can lead to a ticket and one point placed on your DMV record

3. What happens if the ticket is sustained?

There are two penalties for driving over 65 miles per hour. These are:

  1. a ticket (usually in an amount of $350 to $600), and
  2. one point placed on the motorist's DMV driving record.

The DMV can do the following if a person earns enough points within a 1-, 2- or 3-year period:

  • declare him a negligent operator, and
  • suspend, or even, revoke, his driving privileges.

4. What happens if a driver ignores a ticket?

A driver that ignores a speeding ticket violates another law, Vehicle Code 40508 VC. This is the State's statute on the failure to appear in court on a traffic citation.

When a person is issued a traffic ticket in California, he/she has to sign a written promise to appear in court.

If the party willfully fails to appear as promised, he/she violates VC 40508.4 Drivers willfully fail to appear when they are willingly a no-show. It does not matter if they did not intend to break the law.5

A violation of Vehicle Code 40508 is a misdemeanor. The penalties are:

  • up to six months in county jail, and/or
  • a fine of up to $1,000.6
courtroom in california
If you willfully ignore the traffic ticket, you may be charged with violating VC 40508, which results in heftier penalties.

5. Are there laws related to VC 22349?

There are three laws related to driving over 65 miles per hour. These are:

  1. the basic speeding law – VC 22350,
  2. reckless driving – VC 23103, and
  3. reckless driving causing injury – VC 23104.

5.1. The basic speeding law – VC 22350

According to the Calfornia basic speed law in Vehicle Code 22350 VC, motorists must drive at a reasonable and safe speed.

This law applies no matter the posted speed zone and its enforcement depends on the facts of the case.

A violation of the statute brings the same penalties as under VC 22349.

5.2. Reckless driving – VC 23103

Vehicle Code 23103 VC is the California statute that defines the crime of reckless driving.

A person commits this offense when:

  1. he or she operates a vehicle, and
  2. does so with a wanton disregard for the safety of other people or property.

Depending on the facts of the case, speeding itself may arise to reckless driving.

5.3. Reckless driving causing injury – VC 23104

Vehicle Code 23104 VC is the California statute that makes it a crime for a person to:

  1. injure someone, and
  2. do so while driving recklessly.

Violations of both VC 23103 and VC 23104 are misdemeanor offenses.

For additional help...

california traffic ticket attorneys
Call us for help at (855) LAW-FIRM

For additional guidance or to discuss your case with a criminal defense attorney, we invite you to contact us at Shouse Law Group.

For similar laws in Nevada, please see our article on “NRS 484B.600 Fighting Speeding Tickets in Nevada.”


Legal References:

  1. California Vehicle Code 22349 a VC.

  2. California Vehicle Code 22356 VC. See also People v. Lowe (2002), 105 Cal.App.4th Supp. 1.

  3. California Vehicle Code 22349 b VC.

  4. California Vehicle Code 40508 VC.

  5. CALCRIM 2240, endnote 1: Someone commits an act willfully when he or she does it willingly or on purpose. It is not required that he or she intend to break the law, hurt someone else, or gain any advantage.

  6. California Penal Code 19 PC.

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