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Use of Pacing in Virginia Speeding Cases

In addition to radar and LIDAR detectors law enforcement officers may also use pacing to catch speeding drivers on the road. Below, a Virginia speeding ticket lawyer discusses the use of pacing and how a defense can be built to challenge the speeding ticket. To being building a defense for your case, call and schedule a consultation today.

Pacing in Speeding Ticket Cases

Pacing is the fourth out of the four admissible ways that a law enforcement officer can determine someone’s speed. Pacing refers to the practice by which a law enforcement officer is travelling in her vehicle and comes upon a suspected speeder. She is not able to use the RADAR equipment for whatever reason and can’t use the LIDAR because she is moving, but she still believes that the vehicle may be speeding. Therefore, officers are trained in the speed detection method known as pacing.

Pacing occurs when an officer establishes a set distance between her vehicle and the suspected speeder and that distance between the two vehicles do not change over a period of time. The law enforcement officer then looks at her speedometer to determine how fast she is going. Because the distance between the two vehicles hasn’t changed over a set distance, she can infer that the other driver is travelling at the same speed.

With the use of pacing, there are different sets of foundational issues that must be laid in these cases and a whole different set of evidentiary statements that differ from case to case. For example, the certified calibration of the officer’s speedometer is going to be introduced as a foundation of how the officer determined the alleged speeder’s speed. Additionally, the officer is going to have to testify where the pacing started, where the pacing ended, the distance between the two points, the space between the vehicles, and whether or not that space changed. Pacing is determined by all these different factors that are required to determine the admissibility, and it is a more difficult way to determine speed than the use of common speed detection equipment.

Issues Regarding Pacing In Virginia Speeding Ticket Cases

Some of the common defenses that come up in pacing cases include:

  • The officer’s speedometer was not properly calibrated
  • The distance between the vehicles changed during the course of the pace and therefore the officer’s pacing was invalid
  • The officer was accelerating to catch the alleged speeder when the pacing occurred and thus the paced speed was invalid
  • And the pacing did not occur over a significant enough distance to accurately get the pacing speed

The latter two defenses—that the officer was still accelerating and the pace wasn’t over a sufficient distance—are the most common methods of challenging the pace. Because an officer is often very eager to track down and pull over the alleged speeder, especially when travelling at a high speed, it is often tempting for the officer to begin the pace while still accelerating to pursue the speeder rather than when they have slowed down to determine the distance between the two vehicles hasn’t changed over a period of time. It is a common human error, and it often comes up in pacing cases.

Northern Virginia Criminal Defense Group

Northern Virginia Criminal Defense Group
Northern Virginia Criminal Defense Group
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Manassas VA 20110
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