Effi Barry, wife of District Mayor Marion Barry, pleaded guilty yesterday to a charge of speeding and was fined $36 plus court costs in Arlington General District Court.

Arlington prosecutors had amended the original charge of reckless driving to the lesser one of speeding, according to Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney Frank Soulier. "In looking at the case, the commonwealth felt she was guilty of speeding 73 miles per hour in a 55-mile-per-hour zone," Soulier said.

Barry, driving a 1979 Cadillac with "D.C. 1" license plates, was stopped by Virginia State Police Aug. 9 on Shirley Highway (I-395) in Arlington. She was clocked by a state trooper traveling at least 75 mph, according to Sgt. Dennis Robertson.

Soulier said Barry received the maximum penalty for speeding, $2 for each mile over the speed limit and $20 in court costs.

"She received no substantial consideration from the commonwealth," Soulier said. "The commonwealth amended the charge to what the commonwealth felt was appropriate, whether it be Mrs. Barry or any other citizen."

In Virginia, a charge of reckless driving can be filed when a motorist exceeds a speed limit by 20 mph or drives more than 80 mph in any speed zone. It carries a maximum penalty of one year in jail, a fine of up to $1,000 and up to six months suspension of the driver's license.

Barry, who sat in the last row of the courtroom before her case was heard and paid the fine immediately afterward, declined to comment.