In Fredericksburg, officers use several methods to record the speed of a vehicle. They most often use a radar gun, which is a mechanical device that statistically and technologically evaluates the speed of a car at the time that it is pointed at the car. There are individual police officers who are trained on how to use the radar gun properly, how to calibrate it before use and after use properly, how to have certifications in it, and how to appropriately read the radar gun. The second most common is Lidar, which is very similar to radar but uses light to detect speed.
The final method of detecting speed is based on subjective views by the police officer, and that is called pacing. This method is when the police officer does not have a record of their exact speed by electronic means but is able to determine at least a range of speed for the car by keeping up with it and reading their own speed on their speedometer.
A dedicated lawyer who is knowledgeable of evidence in Fredericksburg speeding ticket cases could fight for you if you have received a speeding citation.
There is no particular percentage of weight that is given to a radar reading in court, but it is normally considered by Virginia courts and judges to be strong evidence against the defendant for speeding. It has been tried, true, and tested in the Virginia court system. Radar evidence is difficult to overcome in a defense.
However, there are some defenses that can be used in radar gun reading cases. If they can prove that the officer was not properly trained in using or reading the radar gun, if they did not have proper certification in performing or using the guns, or if they can show a malfunction in the radar’s calibration, that can be a defense. The final defense is to show that something was wrong with the person’s speedometer so that they did not realize they were speeding.
Lidar is treated in the same way as radar readings. Lidar is just a different form of technology, but it has the same effect as radar. It records the speed at which the car is going. The defenses available include showing that the officer was not trained in its usage or that the lidar device was not properly calibrated.
Unless there are specific problems that can be shown, such as police error or improper calibration, radar and lidar instruments are considered to be accurate in Virginia. In some situations, with a lot of traffic on the road, it is possible to claim that the radar read the wrong vehicle and that the accused was not speeding. Also, an operator error in radar gun usage is possible but not common.
It is part of Virginia’s burden of proof that the officer needs to state that they properly calibrated the instrument before and after calculating the person’s speed. They also must properly authenticate that they have training and certification to use those devices and must present the readings.
Other evidence that could be used in Fredericksburg speeding ticket cases is pacing. Pacing is a non-electronic form of determining another car’s speed. Usually, it is done while an officer is in their car, whether it is an undercover car or a regular police cruiser. The officer follows or travels beside a car for a certain amount of time, continuing to track them and monitor their speed based on their own speedometer reading and how fast they have to go in order to match their speed.
Pacing is admissible as evidence of speeding. It is not as strong and accurate as radar or lidar guns, but it is still considered quality evidence by officers.
One defense used in a pacing case is that the officer is not properly trained in pacing, in reviewing pacing, in how to interpret it, or in how to accurately measure the speed. This is a solid defense, especially if the officer is younger or one who does not have as much experience in pacing.
If radar and lidar are used, the case is not only the alleged speeder’s word against the officer’s but rather their word against the officer’s and an extremely accurate electronic device. If the case involves pacing, they have a better ability to mount a defense but it is still their word versus the police officer’s word.
Call today if you have any questions about the evidence in Fredericksburg speeding ticket cases and how an attorney could help.
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