Civil vs. Criminal speeding, ask the Judge

by Aaron Black • June 02, 2017
Criminal speeding in ArizonaAs a criminal defense attorney in Maricopa County, I defend clients on a variety of charges which includes traffic violations. It has recently come to light that Maricopa County Justice of the Peace, Judge Cody Williams has been cited with 5 speeding tickets in that last 6 years.

Judge Williams tickets range from 13 mph over the posted speed limit to his most recent ticket which was 36 miles per hour over. According to Arizona Traffic Laws if a person exceeds the posted speed limit by more than 20 mph that is a class 3 misdemeanor and is considered criminal speeding. Rather than being cited criminally for going 36 mph over the speed limit, Judge Williams was cited civilly.

When asked for my input by CBS 5 “They cited him civilly. That's somewhat suspicious. Especially if it was a Phoenix officer. I've never seen that type of discretion. I've seen judges hand out jail time on criminal speeding tickets. It happens.”

Penalties for speeding in Arizona

Civil speeding
  • Fine (varies from court to court)
  • Points on your license
Criminal speeding (ARS 28-701.02)
  • Maximum 30 days in jail
  • $500 fine plus 83% surcharge
  • Possibility of probation for one year
  • Three points on your license
  • Increased insurance rate
  • Minimum penalty could be defensive driving
My continued response to CBS 5 “It's interesting that a justice of the peace is violating the law like this. Whether it's criminal or civil, they have a duty to uphold the law. A justice of the peace is someone who is handling speeding tickets every day. They're handling traffic violations every day. They're sentencing people to fines, and on criminal speeding tickets they might be sentencing them to jail.”

Phoenix police officers do have discretion on traffic stops on how to cite alleged speeding violations and a spokesperson for the Phoenix Police stated that Judge Williams did not receive special treatment due to his job or that fact that his wife if the Chief of Police. It should be noted that Judge Williams has taken care of all of the speeding tickets either by paying the fine or attending traffic school.

Criminal speeding traffic violations can carry pretty hefty fines as well as jail time and can ultimately be life altering. Contact criminal defense attorney Aaron Black to learn more or call 480-729-1683 for a free consultation today.