Colorado Speed Limits, Laws, and Fines

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Following is an overview of the laws, limits, and fines as they relate to speeding traffic violations in the state of Colorado.

Speed limits in Colorado

75 mph: rural interstate highways, as posted

65 mph: urban freeways and interstate highways, as posted

55 mph: rural highways (some posted up to 65 mph)

40 mph: open mountain highways

30 mph: residential areas

25 mph: business districts

20 mph: blind curves and narrow mountain highways

Cities may set their own school zone speed limits, so drivers must pay attention to postings in these areas. In addition, some cities are “home-rule,” which means that the local government can set a blanket speed limit for the entire town, for example 25 mph. In these cases the blanket speed limit applies everywhere unless otherwise posted.

Colorado code on reasonable and prudent speed

Maximum speed law:

According to section 42-4-1101 of Colorado vehicle code, “No person shall drive a vehicle at a speed greater than is reasonable and prudent under the conditions then existing.”

Minimum speed law:

According to section 42-4-1103 of Colorado vehicle code, drivers must travel fast enough so that they aren’t blocking or impeding “normal and reasonable” flow of traffic.

Due to variations in speedometer calibration, tire size, and margins of error in speed detecting technology, it’s uncommon for an officer to pull a driver over for going less than five miles above the speed limit. However, technically any amount over can be considered a speed violation so best practices are to stay within the limit.

Colorado has a mix of absolute and prima facie rules (meaning that an offense may be open to interpretation). As such, drivers may fight certain citations based on one of three claims:

  • The driver may oppose the determination of speed. In order to claim this defense a driver must know how his or her speed was determined and then learn how to disprove its accuracy.

  • A driver may claim that an emergency situation caused the driver to break the speed limit in order to prevent injury or damage to themselves or others

  • The driver may claim a case of mistaken identity. If a police officer clocks a driver speeding and subsequently has to find them again in traffic, it’s possible that they could make a mistake and pull the wrong car over.

Penalty for exceeding the speed limit in Colorado

First-time violators may:

  • Be fined between $15 and $100

  • Have their license suspended for up to one year

Penalty for reckless driving in Colorado

In this state, driving 25 mph or more over the speed limit is automatically considered reckless driving.

First-time violators may be:

  • Fined between $10 and $300

  • Sentenced to between 10 and 90 days of jail time

  • Have their license suspended for up to a year

Speeding fines vary among locations. It’s important to remember that there are typically other fees in addition to the fine itself – depending upon the amount a driver goes over the limit, the total cost of a ticket may be as high as $300.


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18 years of experience
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