Virginia law allows the police to use radar to determine a vehicle’s speed. Unfortunately, radar readings aren’t always right and you need to know what to do if inaccurate radar results lead to reckless driving charges or a speeding ticket.
How Radar Works
Radio Detection and Ranging (RADAR) measures the speed of a moving vehicle. In modern times, radar equipment emits microwaves from an antenna. The microwaves reflect off objects and return to the radar unit, where the results are displayed to the police officer.
Virginia officers may use mobile radar (m-radar) or stationary radar (s-radar). M-radar simply means that the radar detection was made while the officer’s car was moving. S-radar indicates that radar reading was taken while the officer’s car was parked. Your traffic defense lawyer may be interested in whether the officer used m-radar or s-radar since there may be a more significant chance of error with m-radar.
Potential Problems With Radar
Radar readings are considered prima facie evidence of a vehicle’s speed in court. That means that the radar results are considered accurate unless you prove otherwise. You will need to present convincing evidence to the court that the radar reading was wrong.
Accordingly, an experienced Virginia traffic defense attorney may investigate and consider all of your possible defenses, including:
- Radio interference. Radio frequency interference may occur because of the location of the police cruiser or other equipment in the police cruiser.
- Environmental interference. Significant humidity, rain, snow, or ice may interfere with a radar signal and cause an incorrect radar reading.
- Radar calibration errors. Radar units should be regularly calibrated with tuning forks. Additionally, the tuning forks should be calibrated at least every six months. A radar calibration certificate should be issued every six months. The certificate must include the particular radar gun that was calibrated and the person who performed the calibration.
- Operator error. Proper radar use requires training. Police officers can make mistakes.
- The radar detected another vehicle. Radar submits the speed of an object to the officer, but it doesn’t identify which vehicle was traveling at that speed. The officer has to figure out which vehicle was traveling at that speed, and sometimes officers pick out the wrong car or truck.
Other potential problems may have occurred in your case. An experienced Virginia traffic defense lawyer will make sure that all possible defenses are considered so that you don’t pay for an offense you did not commit.
Protect Your Rights After a Speeding or Reckless Driving Charge
Reckless driving speeding is a crime in Virginia. If you are convicted of traveling 20 mph or more over the speed limit or traveling over 85 mph regardless of the speed limit, you could face up to a year in jail, a $2,500 fine, six demerit points on your driver’s license, suspension of your driver’s license, and other non-criminal penalties, such as an increase in your car insurance. Reckless driving is a misdemeanor, so your job and security clearance may also be impacted if you are convicted.
Non-reckless driving speeding is not a crime. Speeding tickets do not result in jail time, but they may have significant consequences, including demerit points on your license and increases in car insurance.
Accordingly, it could be a mistake to plead guilty to speeding or reckless driving without first speaking to a Virginia defense lawyer.
Our experienced Fairfax traffic defense lawyers will thoroughly investigate your speeding ticket or reckless driving charge, consider all possible defenses, and advocate for the charges against you to be reduced or dismissed, as appropriate.
After you pay a ticket or plead guilty, it may be too late to avoid the legal consequences of speeding in Virginia. Therefore, we encourage you to contact us as soon as possible after you receive a speeding ticket or reckless driving summons. Call us, start a live chat with us, or complete our online contact form to learn more today.