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Do I have any grounds for challenging the ticket, given that there was no speed limit sign

You can challenge the ticket, but you'll probably lose. I don't know about NH laws, but in Michigan if there is no speed limit posted on a rural highway the speed limit is 55mph, so if there was no sign posted and you were going, say, 65mph, you could still be ticketed. I'm guessing that NH has such a law for the type of road you were on if no signs were posted, and apparently the speed limit there is 40mph. Ignorance of the law is not a defense that will stand up in court.

what happens if I ignore the ticket?

Worst case scenario is that a judge enters a bench warrant for your arrest based on failure to pay the ticket. In fact this is likely to happen. The department I work for has hundreds of warrants on file, including at least one bench warrant for failing to pay a skateboarding ticket (a civil infraction in our jurisdiction) from nearly a decade ago! So if this poor sap gets pulled over within the range of the warrant (probably 25 miles) he could be arrested for failing to pay a $50 ticket ten years ago.

They certainly wouldn't extradite you for something like this, and odds are that the range of the warrant wouldn't be very far, so ignoring it won't really be all that dangerous (unless you're going back to that town in the future, of course). I had a teacher in high school who had a bench warrant out of Pennsylvania, she just never went to Pennsylvania if she could help it. Eventually the court will expunge the warrant, just to get it out of their files, but that could take well over a decade.

Of course the easiest thing is just to pay the ticket and to not have to be looking over your shoulder if you happen to end up in that town again. Just be happy it didn't happen in our jurisdiction, we would have been forced to take your license to ensure you paid the ticket or showed up in court (we have to do so for anyone we pull over who doesn't have a Michigan license, doesn't post bond immediately or doesn't have an assurance to appear, such as having a AAA card.) I know one thing, Enterprise doesn't like having to get their cars out of impound for things like this!

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