Speeding in a School Zone Reduce to No-Point Offense in Fairfax County
Client was driving to work in the early morning and stopped for speeding by a Fairfax County Police Officer. They were cited with speeding in a school zone at 44mph in a 25mph zone due to the proximity of a school. The client did not see the blinking lights speed sign and was surprised it was considered a school zone. The area is normally a 35mph zone.
Client went back to the scene and did see the school zone speed sign but noted that it was partially obstructed by a tree and took a picture of it. This explained why he did not see the sign when he drove past it. It should be noted that there was another unobstructed school zone sign across the roadway.
Our client had a perfect driving record but certainly wanted to avoid having a school zone speeding ticket on their driving record so we recommended they take an online defensive driving course for added mitigation for the Judge.
We appeared on our client's behalf for court and first spoke with the officer. This particular officer didn't have any heartburn on the ticket and was surprised themselves to see our picture reflecting the partially obstructed school zone sign. Upon going before the Judge we presented our evidence and the Judge agreed that, based on our client's record, it was certainly possible our client did not have a good view of the school zone sign that wasn't any fault of theirs. As we anticipated the Judge noted however that there was another school zone sign across the street that was clear of any debris so that citizens are still on notice of the speed limit in the area by statute. However, given the circumstances, the Judge reduced the school zone speeding ticket to failure to pay full time and attention under the Fairfax County Code. This reduced offense is not reported to the DMV so it doesn't go on the driving record.
If there any questions about the speed limit in the area it's always a good idea to go back to the area to take a look. Judges are not easy on school zone cases due to the proximity of children so having the picture reflecting the speed sign as partially obstructed by the tree did appear to change the Judge's tune on what they originally planned to do with the charge. Preparation is always key.
Practice area(s): Speeding / Traffic Ticket
Court: Fairfax County General District Court