Speeding in Alabama is a little different than speeding in other states because an individual may be violating the law even if they are driving under the posted speed limit. It is possible to pay for most speeding tickets by mail or online without ever setting foot in court. It's important to act in a timely manner, however, since failure to pay an Alabama speeding ticket can lead to driver license revocation and even time in jail.
Speeding in Alabama
Driving within the law in Alabama is a little tricky since there are two types of speed laws. The law that sets out what is known as the "absolute speed limits" describes a maximum speed vehicles can travel in different circumstances. For example, the absolute speed limit for cities is 30 m.p.h., while the absolute speed limit for interstate highways is 70 m.p.h. Exceeding these limits means risking getting a speeding ticket.
But traveling under these limits doesn't always prevent a driver from getting a speeding ticket because of Alabama's second speeding law, termed the "basic speeding law." It doesn't mention particular speeds, but simply makes it illegal to travel at a speed that is faster than what is "reasonable and prudent under the conditions and having regard to the actual and potential hazards then existing." A safe speed on a roadway depends on a variety of factors starting with weather.
Consequences of Speeding in Alabama
Like the safe speed for a particular highway, the consequences of a speeding violation vary depending on the circumstances. The exact traffic fine depends on how fast a driver was going and where the violation happened, since different counties have different penalties. But in general, a driver who is ticketed for speeding in Alabama, whether violating the absolute speed limit law or the basic speed limit law, is likely going to be hit with a fine and fees of between $190 and $300. Note that speeding fines in Alabama are doubled when the violation happens in a construction zone.
In addition to the fine, a speeding violation also adds several points to the driver's record. A driver who gets 12 points in 242 months or less will have their license suspended. Points "earned" for speeding will be between two and five points, again, depending on the speed and the circumstances.
Determining the Amount of the Ticket
There should not be any mystery about what amount an individual will have to pay for an Alabama speeding ticket. Though fines are handled on a county level, resulting in different fines in different counties in Alabama, the exact amount of the fine will be printed on the traffic ticket.
If a person has lost or misplaced their speeding ticket, they can find out the information by calling the traffic court in the county where the ticket was written. Alternatively, ticket information is available by calling the Alabama Traffic Call Center at 866-954-9399. The driver must be sure to have their driver's license number, license plate number and the date the ticket was issued.
Online Services for Traffic Citation Ticket Payment
There are a variety of methods for paying a speeding ticket in Alabama. It is important to recognize that a driver who pays a ticket in lieu of showing up for a court date to contest it means that they admit guilt. It is not possible to pay a speeding ticket without admitting guilt in Alabama.
The easiest way to pay a speeding ticket in Alabama is by online payment through alapay.com, the official state website for credit card payments of state traffic tickets and criminal fines. All that is necessary for a driver to pay an Alabama speeding ticket online is the UTC number – look for the citation number in the upper right corner of the ticket – and their date of birth. The payment system adds a small surcharge as a convenience fee for paying online.
Alternatively, the driver can pay the ticket by money order or cashier's check (personal checks are not accepted) payable to the county clerk's office, mailed to the address listed on the traffic ticket. A driver who lives near the county courthouse may prefer to pay the ticket in cash or with a money order at the county clerk's office there.
Teo Spengler earned a J.D. from U.C. Berkeley's Boalt Hall. As an Assistant Attorney General in Juneau, she practiced before the Alaska Supreme Court and the U.S. Supreme Court before opening a plaintiff's personal injury practice in San Francisco. She holds both an M.A. and an M.F.A in creative writing and enjoys writing legal blogs and articles. Her work has appeared in numerous online publications including USA Today, Legal Zoom, eHow Business, Livestrong, SF Gate, Go Banking Rates, Arizona Central, Houston Chronicle, Navy Federal Credit Union, Pearson, Quicken.com, TurboTax.com, and numerous attorney websites. Spengler splits her time between the French Basque Country and Northern California.