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Speed Reading Instruments in Virginia

Due to the way reckless driving cases are prosecuted in Virginia, in many cases the strongest evidence against you will be the officer’s testimony and the speed reading of either a RADAR or LIDAR gun. With this in mind, the following is what you should know about these instruments, and how they can impact your reckless driving case. For more specific information regarding your case and how a speed reading may impact it, call and schedule a consultation with a Virginia reckless driving lawyer today.

Determining Speed in Reckless Driving Cases

Virginia law enforcement officers are trained in the use of special equipment such as RADAR and LIDAR. In addition, officers are also trained in the visual determination of speed, meaning that they are trained to observe the speed of your vehicle, notice it, and give an estimate of your speed. RADAR units give often an audible tone that officers use in conjunction with their training in speed determination to determine if a vehicle is traveling at a high-rate of speed. The equipment such as LIDAR or RADAR is then used to confirm that observation.

Traffic RADAR Tools

Officers in Virginia use RADAR to detect speed. They also use LIDAR, which is the laser form of RADAR. If you see an officer or state troopers standing on the side of their vehicle pointing what looks like a firearm at traffic, they are likely using a LIDAR device. If they are inside the vehicle, either facing the flow of traffic or opposite way from the flow of traffic, they may be operating a RADAR vehicle, which is engrained in the vehicle itself.

There are defenses to RADAR, and we mentioned above, an experienced reckless driving attorney can assist you in breaking out these defenses through his training.

Improper Calibration of RADAR Instruments

In Virginia, law enforcement officers are required to have their RADAR properly calibrated every 6 months pursuant to Virginia Code Section 46.2-882. Failure to do so would result in dismissal of the charge.

Is It My Word Against the Officer’s?

Essentially, yes, it is your word against the officer’s. You can challenge the use of the officer’s equipment. Many experienced reckless driving attorneys have been trained on effective techniques for using RADAR and LIDAR equipment. However, simply saying, “I wasn’t going that fast” is not often a good defense unless you have specific evidence to support your claim.

The officers put under oath must testify truly and accurately regarding any speed determination that they do. There is not a printout or reading every time someone is caught on RADAR nor are the officers required to show you the RADAR.  In Virginia there are four separate methods of speed determination authorized by statute, RADAR (in mobile mode or stationary mode), LIDAR and pacing.

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