California State Maximum Speed Limits

speed gauge

The California vehicle code sections 22348 through 22356 establishes maximum and prima facie speed limits. Black’s law dictionary defines prima facie as “sufficient to establish a fact or raise a presumption unless disproved or rebutted.” In other words, prima facie speed limits are speed limits for highways and roadways that do not have posted speed limits signs stating otherwise.

California vehicle code sections 22349 and 22356 are the statutes that set the maximum speed limits:

  • 55 mph is the state maximum speed limit on a two-lane undivided highway.
  • 65 mph is the state maximum speed limit for highways and what you usually see posted on freeways.
  • 70 mph is the state maximum speed limit for sections of roadway that have been determined that a speed higher than 65 mph would be reasonable and safe.

In Court, an officer needs only to show that you are driving faster than the state maximum (66 mph or higher) to convict you of one of these violations.

California vehicle code section 22352 establishes the prima facie speed limits for local roadways:

  • 15 mph is the maximum speed for railroad crossings.
  • 15 mph is the maximum speed when approaching an intersection that does not have a clear and unobstructed view of the intersection, which is not controlled by a traffic sign or signal. During the last 100 feet of the driver’s approach.
  • 15 mph is the maximum speed for an alley.
  • 25 mph is the maximum speed for a business district.
  • 25 mph is the maximum speed for a residential district.
  • 25 mph is the maximum speed when approaching or passing a school building/ground.
  • 25 mph is the maximum speed when passing a senior center.

Similarly, for an officer to obtain a conviction in Court, they must show that the speed was higher than the maximum allowed. This code section does have a caveat, California vehicle section 22351(b): If you can show the speed did not violate the basic speed law, then the burden shifts back to the officer to prove that the speed was unreasonable or dangerous for the conditions.

These code sections may appear straight forward but understanding the nuisances is key to a successful dismissal. We are here to help contact us now at RPM Law. We have experience in helping thousands of people protect their driving records every day.