School zones are areas around schools where the posted speed limit is lowered in order to protect children. Areas for school zones typically include:
- Streets directly adjacent to a school
- Intersections near a school
- Crosswalks in the vicinity of a school
In most states, the speed limit in a school zone will only be lower during hours when students are going to and from school. However, some states require motorists to reduce speeds when passing schools no matter what time of day.
In most states, the fines for speeding and other violations in school zones are significantly greater than the fines for normal moving violations. Generally, a motorist traveling more than thirty miles per hour over the speed limit in a school zone will face a serious fine and even time in prison.
Many states have anti-drug and weapon laws aimed at protecting youth, and these laws typically enhance the penalties for possessing drugs or weapons in school zones. Thus, a motorist in possession of illegal drugs or weapons in a school zone may face more severe penalties. In some states, even motorists in lawful possession of a weapon may find themselves facing criminal charges if they are on school property. Additionally, drunk driving in a school zone will probably carry a stiffer penalty.
If you have been charged with speeding in a school zone, it would be wise to seek the advice of an experienced criminal defense attorney. The penalties are different and more severe than a normal moving violation, and only a lawyer can advise you on your legal rights and defenses. Moreover, if you are in a state where speeding in a school zone carries jail time, criminal defense lawyer can represent your cause in court.