Defenses Against Speed Reading Instruments in Virginia
Speed-detecting instruments are commonly used by law enforcement throughout the State of Virginia. This can make defending a reckless driving case difficult, especially if the device that was used was correctly handled and calibrated. Contrary to popular belief, speed reading devices are actually very accurate. Unless there were circumstances such as improper use or use in weather conditions that prevented the device from obtaining an accurate reading, they will return accurate readings almost all the time.
Issues With Speed Reading Instruments
A possible issue that could come up with speed reading instruments include the potential for a radar instrument to lock on to an incorrect object. In court this is not an easy thing to prove and will require your attorney to provide an excellent cross examination of a police officer with the right questions.
In order to demonstrate that something was locked on to it that wasn’t the vehicle, the officer is going to have to admit that this possibility existed given the circumstances surrounding the incident of your case. This isn’t easy because nobody wants to testify that they were wrong and may have made a mistake.
Certain instruments are not supposed to be used if there is any type of precipitation. If these were the current conditions during the stop then it’s possible for an attorney to prove that the interference should be enough to have the case dismissed. Some other weather conditions can also possibly interfere like heavy humidity or heavy winds.
Accuracy of Traffic Radar Instruments
Traffic radar instruments are considered to be very accurate if they’re used properly. Proving that they’re used properly is sometimes challenging for the Commonwealth. There are many reasons why a radar unit might not be used properly. A lawyer who has been trained in how those machines work will give you the best chance to beat the radar unit in court.
LIDAR is newer technology than radar. The difference is that it uses a laser instead of radar to detect the vehicle’s speed. It’s subject to the same issues and defenses that radar is and just like radar, the officers are required to properly calibrate it and routinely maintain it and have to present a calibration certificate backing this up in court.
Generally, Virginia police officers are trained really well on how radar guns are supposed to be used to detect speed. But like in anything, human error is inevitable. There will likely be instances where operator error causes an incorrect reading. The tricky part of this is getting the officer in court to admit to this possibility. It’s really hard to prove that operator error was the cause of a reading rather than the vehicle’s speed.
Strong cross examination of the officer and all of the exact steps that he took to determine the vehicle’s speed is really the best method to determine whether there was an issue of operator error in your case.
Defenses Against Pacing in Virginia
Pacing is a lot more subjective than radar and LIDAR instrument readings. It’s because the officer is testifying as to his observations all while maintaining an identical distance between his car and the target. The main ways that you can defend it is by having the officer testify and cross examining to make sure that he did it exactly as required by protocol. There’s a risk that the officer was gaining on the defendant and in doing so, the speed that he tracked the defendant at, was actually higher than the real speed that the defense was going at. There’s also a risk that the officer’s speedometer wasn’t properly calibrated so that the speed was incorrect based off of the speedometer.