Are Speed Limit Signs Merely a Suggestion?

If you receive a ticket for speeding, you might want to make sure that speeding ticket is actually enforceable under Michigan law!

Every driver knows that speed limits can go up and down like a roller coaster, on any given stretch of Michigan road. But few people understand who sets these speed limits, and under what law(s) speeding violations can be legally prosecuted.

 Public Act 85 of 2006 (PA 85) is the State statute that actually regulates where and how speed limits are set, and what penalties may be imposed for violating these speed limits. But local jurisdictions do not always follow this State law.

Recently, there have been a couple of articles in local news papers discussing this problem.  These articles are not new.  Last year there was a similar article discussing how many of the speed limits are kept artificially low to generate revenue.

This recent string of articles appears to have garnered the attention of State Rep. Rick Jones, R-Grand Ledge, who intends to introduce legislation forcing local jurisdictions to follow Public Act 85 of 2006 (PA 85), so that unfair speed limit laws are not put in place to “trap” otherwise careful drivers.

What does PA 85 actually state?  PA 85 addresses several different State statutes, but the Speed Limit debate has focused on the following language in Michigan Compiled Law 257.627 (PA 85), that mandates speed limits shall be:

(d) 25 miles per hour on a highway segment with 60 or more vehicular access points within 1/2 mile.

(e) 35 miles per hour on a highway segment with not less than 45 vehicular access points but no more than 59 vehicular access points within 1/2 mile.

(f) 45 miles per hour on a highway segment with not less than 30 vehicular access points but no more than 44 vehicular access points within 1/2 mile; and,

(3) It is prima facie unlawful for a person to exceed the speed limits prescribed in subsection (2), except as provided in section 629.

As a criminal defense attorney, I can see how these sections of PA 85 may be helpful for many drivers to avoid difficulties associated with speeding tickets. 

In other words, while this statute appears almost too complicated to be immediately useful, a skilled defense attorney may be able to use PA 85 to argue that the speed limit in question was not “legal” under Michigan law.

It may not be realistic for the average driver to be on the side of the road mapping out the best 1/2 mile for them to defend their speeding tickets.  But a skilled defense attorney can address the following issues: Should you calculate a half mile from the point of the ticket?  From the point the officer alleged you were speeding?  Or calculate a 1/4 mile before and after the point the officer alleged you were speeding? 

PowerPoint presentations addressing the legality of a certain speed limit might become a more integral part of informal or formal hearings regarding traffic offenses.  Perhaps video presentation where each curb cut, driveway, side street, or other “access point” is numbered would be useful.  The same video could have some indication of the mileage or measurements in question. 

In time, the situation will be corrected through introduction of new legislation, but in the meantime we’ll be watching to see how the courts react toward arguments about unenforceable speed limits.

If you have further questions about fighting a speeding ticket, contact the experienced lawyers at our firm and we will discuss what you may be able to do to fight that ticket.

(To view PA 85, visit: http://www.legislature.mi.gov/documents/2005-2006/publicact/htm/2006-PA-0085.htm). 

Attorney Daryl Wood is an experienced Michigan defense attorney, and a recognized legal expert on Driver’s License suspension and restoration issues. If you have received a ticket, have had a license suspended, or have been subject to Driver’s Responsibility fees in Michigan, Mr. Wood can help and advise you.

Contact Mr. Wood at: 313.278.8811 or 248.855.0911. Or visit his web site at http://www.crimlawattorney.net or http://www.drunkdrivingmichiganlawyer.com or  www.michiganmiplawyer.com.

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