Wisconsin 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 Wisconsin.

Speed limits in Wisconsin

70 mph: interstates, expressways, and some four-lane highways

65 mph: some urban freeways and interstates

55 mph: default speed limit on other highways

45 mph: designated rustic roads

35 mph: semi urban highways outside city or village limits

35 mph: outlying highways within city or village limits

25 mph: service roads and highways within city or village limits

15 mph: alleys

15 mph: school zones during posted times

15 mph: parks and recreation areas where children are arriving, departing, or playing

Wisconsin code on reasonable and prudent speed

Maximum speed law:

According to section 346.57(2) of WI vehicle code, “No person may drive a vehicle at a speed greater than is reasonable and prudent under the conditions and having regard for the actual and potential hazards then existing.”

Minimum speed law:

Section 346.59(1) and 346.05(3) states:

“No person shall drive a motor vehicle at a speed so slowly as to impede the normal and reasonable movement of traffic.”

“A person driving at less than the normal speed of traffic shall drive in the right-hand lane then available for traffic or as close as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway.”

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.

While it may be difficult to fight a speeding ticket in Wisconsin due to the absolute speed limit law, a driver may choose to go to court and claim their innocence based upon one of the following:

  • 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 have made a mistake and pulled the wrong car over.

Penalty for exceeding the speed limit in Wisconsin

First-time violators may:

  • Be fined between $30 and $300

  • Be sentenced to up to 10 days of jail time

  • Have their license suspended for up to one year

Penalty for reckless driving in Wisconsin

Exceeding the speed limit by 25 mph is automatically considered reckless driving in this state.

First-time violators may:

  • Be fined between $25 and $200

  • Be sentenced to between five and 90 days of jail time

  • Have their license suspended for up to one year

Violators may be eligible for reduced points by participating in a driver improvement program.


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