A speed trap involves a police officer setting up in a location along the side of the road and attempting to detect drivers who are breaking the speed limits. In many cases, they will set up near an area where the speed limit has changed from a higher speed to a lower speed, and they will also attempt to position their vehicle or themselves in such a way that drivers cannot see them until it is too late.
At a speed trap, an officer will use his or her radar device, whether it is a LIDAR or stationary radar, to measure the speed of the vehicles that come through. If someone is driving at an excessive speed, the officer may perform a traffic stop. In other cases, there will be a second officer set up down the road who will pull over the offending vehicle, either in a police vehicle or by stepping onto the road and directing the offending vehicle to the side of the road. To learn more about speed traps and how they relate to reckless driving charges in Prince William County, call an experienced attorney today.
In Prince William County, officers frequently wait in areas where there is a change in speed limit looking for drivers who have not heeded the change in speed. A couple of common areas where this talks place are on I-95, where there are several changes to the speed limit, as well as I-66, which runs east and west through the county. In addition, there are several other major corridors through the county with speed changes where speed traps are often set up, such as the Prince William County Parkway, Route 234 and Route 28.
When a speed limit is posted, the law in Prince William County requires that you be at or below that speed by the time you reach the sign. In other words, the new speed zone begins at the sign itself. Because of this, drivers do not have a grace period or slow-down period once they have passed the sign. Rather, it is incumbent upon them to slow down to the maximum speed or less by the time they reach the sign.
One potential reason for speed traps is revenue, although this is probably not on the mind of the average police officer.
The primary reason for speed traps is to reinforce to drivers that there is in fact a change of speed limit in a particular area and to deter them from ignoring it. In many cases, speed traps have been set up where there have been complaints about excessive speed or where there have been accidents in which vehicles have lost control because of excessive speed.
Speed traps are legal throughout VA, and the way in which you are caught in a speed trap can affect your Prince William County reckless driving case, depending on how the speed trap is set up. For instance, the kind of radar that was used in the speed trap and the necessity for proper radar calibrations can factor into the case. Also, if a trap is using multiple officers at multiple locations, it may be more difficult for the Commonwealth to prove that the vehicle that was measured with radar at the first location was actually the vehicle that was pulled over by the second officer at the subsequent location.
Drivers should be aware that there are numerous speed traps in Prince William County. There is a significant effort in that jurisdiction to enforce the speed limit. People should also be aware that there are a number of zones where the speed limit will drop by 20 miles per hour or more in a fairly short distance. Because of this, it is especially important to pay attention to your speed and the posted speed limits. If you are, for example, driving 65 in a 55-mile-per-hour zone and continue at that speed through a 45- and then a 35-mile-per-hour zone, you may find yourself charged with reckless driving in Prince William County.
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