Loudoun County’s strict speed laws means that law enforcement will frequently use radar guns and other measures to catch people speeding. Sometimes, the issue of equipment accuracy is raised, and expert testimony is needed in court. It can be difficult to know what questions to ask and how to counter what the prosecution will bring if you are contesting the speeding ticket yourself on the basis of faulty equipment. This is why it is beneficial to consult with an experienced Loudoun County speeding ticket attorney, as they understand the laws surrounding this charge, and know what witnesses to call to testify regarding the speed-reading instruments.
Loudoun considers its traffic instruments to be extremely accurate within just a few miles per hour. They are constantly getting updates and they’re always coming up with newer, better, and more accurate radar instruments, so as long as the officers are using them, following their training, and keeping up with their updates, the instruments are accurate almost all of the time.
There are a few issues that can come up in terms of defenses regarding radar equipment reliability. There are some defense an experienced attorney may be able to bring up on your behalf in court. For example, you can try to argue that the instrument locked on to the wrong object or was interfered with by another vehicle or even by weather conditions. As long as you can provide adequate proof to cause reasonable doubt, there are defenses that can result in having your case dismissed.
Operator error is inevitable because police officers are human. However, it’s difficult to get them to admit in court to operator error. If you have an attorney with strong cross-examination skills, it is possible to get down to the root of exactly how the officer managed to decide to target that vehicle and then how he obtained the reading.
The radar instruments have very specific requirements that the officer needs to meet for the reading to be accurate. There are certain radar instruments that cannot be used in any precipitation, so if the weather that day was snowy or rainy or even heavily foggy, that could be enough to cause reasonable doubt.
Regarding reliability of speed-reading instruments, there are several things that must happen. Chief among them is proof in state courts that the radar gun or other method the Loudoun County police used to determine the speed of a vehicle is accurate. The state proving that the speed reading instruments work is the heart of the whole case. This is where the calibration certificate is crucial. If there is no calibration certificate, there’s usually no proof and there’s no case.
One of the most common myths is that it’s easy to argue in court that the radar equipment locked onto the wrong object. In fact, this is almost impossible to prove unless you have some eyewitness account or you can get the police officer to readily admit that this was a possibility. Sometimes this does happen; it’s not impossible that the police officer did lock onto the wrong object, but it is one of those defenses that is very rarely proven in court, despite what many people think.
Another myth is that many people believe that the officer is required to show them the reading on the speed-detecting instrument if the defendant asks to see it after being pulled over. Some officers will comply with this request, but it’s not required.
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