Your Virginia Legal Team

Speed Tracking Instruments in Fairfax Reckless Driving Cases

In order to determine the speed of drivers in Fairfax, officers use a variety of methods including specialized equipment in addition to speed traps and traffic cameras to monitor the roads to make sure that there isn’t anyone speeding. Below, a Fairfax reckless driving lawyer discusses these methods in more detail and how they are used in court. For assistance with your case, call and schedule a consultation today.

Prosecution of Speeding  Offenses

It kind of feels like it is your word against the officer’s, but the reality is that law enforcement officers have a lot more supporting their side than just their word. Along with them saying that they believe that you were speeding, they also have their reading from their radar equipment or their LiDAR equipment.

Backing up their equipment’s reading is their calibration certificate which will demonstrate that the equipment was working properly and that the officer followed the correct protocol and procedure in terms of keeping the machine calibrated and maintained. If everything was done correctly by the officer, then he has very strong supporting evidence to back up his word.

Therefore, in order for you to successfully argue that you weren’t going that fast, you’re going to need just as much evidence as the officer has against you in order to convince a judge that you actually weren’t going that fast. This defense is very rarely successful.

Radar & LIDAR Guns

Traffic radar tools and traffic laser tools are used to detect speeding in Fairfax and throughout Virginia. The court accepts these as pretty reliable unless there’s some mistake in the calibration certificate that the officer has or if the officer doesn’t have the calibration certificate available to be presented as evidence.

The defenses for radar gun readings are the same as they are for laser. Usually the best defense for this kind of thing is a lack of a calibration certificate or a mistake in the calibration certificate. There are very rigid requirements for the calibration certificate and an experienced attorney should be able to pick them out in court to determine if the officer followed correct protocol and the certificate is adequate.

Sometimes people try to argue that the readings are incorrect because of the possibility that the instrument locked on to the wrong object. In order for this defense to be successful, typically the police officer needs to admit that the possibility could exist given the circumstances under which he targeted the vehicle with his equipment.

This is not an easy thing to get a police officer to admit in court, and requires a strong cross-examination of the police officer’s testimony. It is not a very common defense, but it does work on occasion, under the right circumstances.

Weight of RADAR Readings as Court Evidence

The courts accept radar reading as very accurate and they readily accept them as reliable, unless there’s a mistake in the calibration certificate or the defendant can show otherwise.

Defenses Against RADAR Evidence

The most common defenses to radar gun readings in court are mistakes in the calibration certificate or a lack of a calibration certificate. Sometimes people can argue that the instrument was used improperly by the police officer, or that there was interference caused by another object. However, those types of defenses are much more difficult to prove because the officer has to admit that he possibly made a mistake, which is not an easy thing get an officer to say. There are some radar instruments that are not accurate if they are used under certain weather conditions, such as any type of precipitation.

Does The State Need To Prove That These Instruments Work?

The state does need to prove that the speed reading instruments work. The way that they do this is by providing the calibration certificate showing that the instrument was calibrated and accurate within the past six months of the offense.  The officers must also testify that they tested the instrument before and after their shift. Cases are dismissed if the calibration certificate is not present, is not an original or true copy or if the information on the certificate is incorrect, inconsistent, or missing altogether.

Pacing

Pacing is when a police officer targets a vehicle on the road that the police officer believes is speeding. The police officer follows this vehicle and matches the targeted vehicle speed with the police cruiser. While they are matching the speed, the police officer looks at his cruiser’s speedometer to determine how fast the targeted vehicle is going. This is admissible evidence of speeding in Fairfax, even though it is ripe with controversy.

Some of the issues are the subjectivity that comes with pacing. There’s no real way to show that the officer wasn’t making up the speed that he alleges the targeted vehicle was going. The only real backup is that his own speedometer was calibrated properly, but it is assumed that the officer is not making up the speed that the speedometer actually said.

Another issue with pacing is that sometimes the officer was gaining on the vehicle, because in the end he had the intention of pulling the vehicle over. Therefore, if he was gaining on the vehicle, then he was going slightly faster than what the targeted vehicle was going and the speed that he determined the targeted vehicle was going may not have been accurate then.

Contact Us

Do not send us confidential information related to you or your company until you speak with one of our attorneys and get authorization to send that information to us.

Copyright 2020 Virginia Criminal Lawyer. All rights reserved. Disclaimer/Privacy Policy