Can an unposted speed limit be a defense to a NY State speeding ticket?

At Palumbo & Associates, PC, our firm routinely speak to people who were charged with speeding, NY VTL Sec. 1180, in New York and explain that because their was no posted speed limit their ticket is invalid and should be dismissed. However, is this correct? Read on to find out.

The answer is that being charged with speeding in an unposted zone can sometimes be helpful. Often times though it is not relevant.

This is because in New York State, under the vehicle and traffic law the state speed limit is 55 MPH “unless otherwise posted.” So if you do not see a sign the default speed limit is 55 MPH.

However, there is more nuance to it. Most cities, towns, and villages in New York have their own speed limit “unless otherwise posted.” For example, in the Town of Eastchester, NY the town speed limit is 30 MPH unless otherwise posted. In NYC the speed limit is 25 MPH unless otherwise posted, and the maximum speed limit anywhere in New York City is 50 MPH.

But how are you to know this? The way you are made aware of it is each town that has a lower default speed limit must post it on their boarders. The next time you see the sign welcoming you to NYC from say Nassau County, keep your eyes peeled for 2 signs: one will advise you that the NYC speed limit is 25 MPH unless otherwise posted, and the other will advise you that the maximum NYC speed limit is 50 MPH.

Where an unposted speed limit can help you is when you are charged in a speed zone of less than 55 MPH. Unless the municipality you are in has its own default speed limit, the zone must be posted or else the speed limit is set at 55 MPH. So for example, if you car charged with doing 50 MPH in a 30 MPH zone, if the state cannot prove that the street was posted 30 MPH, or unposted but the municipalities maximum speed limit is 30 MPH, then the failure of the state to prove posting will get your ticket dismissed, because without a lower speed posted the default speed limit is 55 MPH.

In addition, the opposite can also be true. For example, if a motorist is charged with doing 85 in a 65 MPH zone, the last thing you want to do is raise any speed limit posting issues, because if you prove that the road was unposted then the speed limit was 55 MPH, which means that you were going 30 MPH over the limit, not 20 MPH over the limit.

We know that if you have a speeding ticket or other moving violation or violations, you may be confused, concerned, or have questions. If this is the case feel free to stop what your are doing, pick up the phone, and call us anytime 24 / 7. Discussing with people their traffic ticket concerns is what we do all day every day, and if you have any questions we’d love to talk to you and answer them.