Speeding in Virginia Beach is when someone is driving over the posted speed limit, when someone is driving too fast for current conditions, or failing to obey special speed limit zones such as school zones and construction zones. Although technically anything over the speed limit is speeding, officers generally are not going to waste their time pulling someone over who is only going 5 miles per hour over the limit, unless there are other circumstances that warrant it. Speeding offenses in Virginia, though, are serious charges.
In Virginia, once you start going 20 miles per hour over the posted speed limit, a charge will change from a traffic infraction to a criminal misdemeanor, which is a much more serious charge than an infraction. A criminal misdemeanor can lead to license suspension or even jail time for the driver.
In the case of a criminal misdemeanor, it is important to consider retaining a Virginia Beach speeding ticket lawyer, who will work in your best interest to try to lessen the penalties of your charges as much as possible.
Virginia Beach law enforcement officers monitor traffic regularly, and use speed detecting equipment to determine how fast a person was driving. These instruments come complete with paperwork, showing that the instrument was used properly, and that it has been calibrated and maintained before and after the officer’s shift. The paperwork also shows that this calibration and maintenance was conducted by someone who is qualified to calibrate the equipment, and that the equipment was calibrated within a certain time period.
RADAR tools are used to detect speeding in Virginia, and there are a whole variety of tools which include RADAR equipment and LIDAR equipment. Both RADAR and LIDAR are extremely accurate and are admissible in court as such. The officer is required to testify to the reading on the equipment and must have a calibration certificate which details the maintenance and calibration frequency of the equipment.
If the officer is missing the calibration certificate, then it is very possible for an attorney to have the case dismissed on the spot. Sometimes the calibration certificate will be incomplete or the information will be incorrect, which is another opportunity for the case to be dismissed. With the equipment working properly and an appropriate calibration certificate, however, the court would have to consider the reading to be 100% accurate, and it would be very difficult to prove otherwise in court.
By having this paperwork, there is a lot on the officer’s side showing exactly how they recorded the speed and that what they recorded was accurate. Without the calibration certificate, it does become your word against the officer’s, which opens the door for a defense attorney to pick apart the officer’s testimony with a strong cross examination.
It is difficult to show problems with the traffic RADAR equipment in court, but it is not impossible. A defense attorney is sometimes able to succeed in having the police officer admit to the possibility that the RADAR or LIDAR equipment locked on to the wrong object rather than the targeted vehicle. When there is heavy traffic on the road, or the police vehicle is not quite directly behind or next to the vehicle, this incorrect targeting becomes more of a possibility.
Pacing is when the officer follows a vehicle for a reasonable amount of time, enough to determine how fast the vehicle is going by matching the vehicle’s speed with the officer’s vehicle. Once the officer is confident that they are going at the same speed, the officer looks at his speedometer and that is the speed he determines the targeted vehicle is driving.
Pacing is controversial because it is very subjective. Unlike RADAR equipment or LIDAR equipment, it is up to the officer to determine if he is accurately reading the vehicle’s speed.
Due to this opinionated decision-making, there is a possibility of a defense when you ask for the calibration certificate of the officer’s own speedometer. There is also a defense by which the defense attorney picks apart the officer’s testimony and gets the officer to admit to human error, such as that maybe that there was a possibility that the officer was gaining speed or had not been following the driver for a significant amount of time.
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