Is There a Legal Excuse for Speeding in North Carolina?

Sometimes emergencies happen and we need to get somewhere, fast. In North Carolina, as in all states, if you jump in your car and speed off to your destination, you risk getting pulled over by the police for violating the speed limit. 

Under normal circumstances, you might accept the speeding ticket and move on. But what if you were speeding because you were rushing to catch a flight to an out-of-state funeral? Or you were late to pick your child up at daycare and needed to get there before it closed? Perhaps you were speeding because your wife was in labor, and you need to get her to the hospital, stat. 

Is it ever ok to break the speed limit in North Carolina? Here, we discuss whether there is a legal excuse for speeding tickets and how an experienced North Carolina criminal defense attorney can help you with your case. 

North Carolina’s Speeding Laws

First, it is important to understand North Carolina’s speeding laws. North Carolina has something called “absolute speed limits,” which means that whatever the fixed speed limit is, if you drive above that limit, you will have violated the law. For example, on interstate highways, the speed limit is 70 miles per hour. Driving at a speed of even just one mile above that limit, while it sounds extreme, could technically result in a speeding ticket. 

Is an Emergency an Excuse for Speeding?

Because North Carolina has absolute speed limits, there are no legal excuses for breaking those speed limits. If you exceed the speed limit – no matter your reason (whether you were rushing to the hospital, were speeding because you were going with the flow of traffic and driving within the speed limit would have been more dangerous than staying with the flow of traffic, or otherwise) – you could receive a speeding ticket. 

What Can You Do to Contest a Speeding Ticket?

If you receive a speeding ticket, all is not lost just because there is no automatic legal excuse for speeding. You can still contest the ticket on the basis that there was an emergency that caused you to break the speed limit. If the speeding was necessary to prevent injury or some other extenuating circumstances, you might be able to get your charges reduced. 

If you’ve received a speeding ticket, contact Cotten Law. Jeremy has represented tens of thousands of clients charged with minor traffic offenses and has hundreds of stellar reviews online. Our offices serve clients in central North Carolinaincluding Wake, Johnston, Harnett, Orange, Sampson, Lee, and Chatham Counties. Give our office a call or click over to our main page to chat live with an assistant 24 hours a day.