How to Defend Yourself Against a Speeding Ticket
Did you know that one in every four fines issued for speeding is a mistake? Or that the majority of officers will make a mistake that will work in your favour and allow you to contest the ticket?
Do you wish to learn the ins and outs of successfully contesting the speeding ticket you received in court?
There is an error in the issuance of 25% of all speeding tickets.
It is estimated that over 25 percent of the speeding fines issued in the United States in 2014 were issued in error, leading to a total of over 41 million speeding penalties being handed out.
Shadowing, RFI inference, errors in cosine angle calculation, mechanical interference, and equipment that are out of calibration are among the most typical types of faults.
As a result of the fact that the radar gun or lidar gun that the officer used to issue you a speeding ticket is a scientific instrument, the officer is required by law to be certified and must adhere to certain regulations. You were issued a speeding ticket.
If you intend to challenge the validity of the citation in court, you can use the information in this book to challenge the credibility of the officer's testimony as well as the equipment used by the officer. As a result, you will have a greater opportunity to prevail in your case.
You Should Get Yourself Ready Before You Are Ever Stopped.
If you intend to contest your speeding ticket, the most important times to prepare your defence are before the stop, while the officer is still there, and immediately after the officer has let you go.
As a result of this, it is ESSENTIAL that you recall EVERYTHING that is taking place around you and that you capture it:
What was the flow of the traffic like?
What kinds of signs can be found on the highway?
The state of the road's infrastructure.
What kind of a weather is it today?
While you are doing this, you should look for a secure location to pull over so that the officer and you can talk.
Put your flashers on, pull over to the right, and think about getting off the highway at the nearest exit if you're stuck in heavy traffic on the motorway.
The Method Involved
When you have been pulled over and stopped, you should REFUSE to leave your vehicle.
The majority of shootings of police officers take place as the officer is getting closer to the violation. His or her stress levels are high as a result of this, and as a result, he or she is carefully monitoring everything that you and the other people in the car are doing.
Reach into the box that houses the glove.
Reach under your seat
Keep your hands out in the open at all times.
At this time, your sole responsibility is to do anything you can to ease the officer's anxiety as much as you can.
The California Refreshment Stand
The California Stop is a technique that can help lessen the stress level of law enforcement officers.
While the police is getting out of his car, the window on the driver's side should be rolled down.
If it is after dark, you should turn the lights inside your home on.
After that, position your hands so that the palms are towards you while they are on top of the driving wheel.
When you do this, the officer will be able to immediately perceive that you do not pose an immediate threat, which will lessen his level of concern.
Do you have your license, registration, and insurance card? Do you have any weapons?
Now that the officer is standing next to your vehicle, one of the first things he is going to question you is whether or not you have any weapons in your possession, in addition to asking for your driver's license, registration, and insurance card.
If you do possess any guns, you must disclose the location of those weapons to him and obey the orders he gives you. Hopefully, you are authorised to possess weapons under the law.
Are You Aware of the Reason I Stopped You?
Remember that the officer will record everything you say and everything you do, so you shouldn't admit to anything, especially that you weren't paying attention to what was going on around you.
Simply reply, "No officer, could you please explain to me why you pulled me over?"
Follow the Officer's Directions Exactly
After the officer has obtained the necessary paperwork, he may ask you to step out of your car or to remain in your car; in either case, you should simply comply with his directions.
Can I See Your Radar/Laser Gun?
If the police tells you that he used a radar or laser gun, act curious and ask the officer if you can see it and if he would be prepared to explain to you how it works. If the officer states that he used a radar or laser gun, this question is especially important.
If the officer does allow you to view it, you should create an image of it in your mind and write down the name of the maker as well as the model number.
In the event that he refuses to show you the pistol, you should just ask him if he could walk you through the operation of it.
The Reference to It
At some point, the officer will either ask you to sign the citation or simply provide you with a copy of it to take with you.
Check the citation to check if the officer has documented the kind of speedometer he used to measure your speed while he is still there with you to see if he did.
If he didn't ask them to include the type of gadget they utilised on the citation, he should do so now.
Keep in mind that the officer is documenting everything you do and everything you say, and there is a possibility that they are even recording it.
It is required of you to act in the same manner!
After the Interruption
Find a secure spot to pull over after the stop, write down EVERYTHING that took place, and then return to the scene to take photographs of it using a camera or your smartphone.
Prepare Yourself for the Court Case
Following then, it will be up to you to be ready for your trial.
Step One: Figure Out What Kind of Gun the Officer Used to Shoot You
In order to make the appropriate preparations for your case, the first thing you need to do is find out what kind of instrument the officer used to clock your speed.
The vast majority of speeding tickets are issued as a result of the use of microwave radio signals that are transmitted by radar guns carried by law enforcement officers.
Approximately twenty percent of all traffic citations are issued as a result of law enforcement using lidar guns, which emit a concentrated beam of light in the near-infrared region of the electromagnetic spectrum.
The officer can also determine your speed by utilising a timing device like a stopwatch or VASCAR, or by following behind you and determining your speed using their own speedometer. These are two more methods.
Because of this, it is imperative that you are aware of the EXACT method that the officer utilised to calculate your speed.
On the citation issued by many jurisdictions, it will specify the type of device that was used and may even include the serial number of the device.
If this information is not included on your citation, you may need to make a follow-up inquiry by dialling the number shown on the citation and speaking with the agency or officer who issued it to you. This can be done in a cordial manner.
Download These Free NHTSA Guides to Get Started, Which Is the Second Step
It is the responsibility of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to design training programmes that are suitable for meeting the requirements of the Uniform National Standards that were outlined in the Highway Safety Act of 1996.
As a result of this, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has developed standards that ALL law enforcement agencies and officers ARE REQUIRED to follow when employing radar or laser equipment.
Because we will be referring to multiple sections of each of these guidelines in this post to assist you in constructing your argument, we would recommend "googling" these titles and downloading these free PDFs right away:
Performance Requirements for the Speed-Measuring Device, Including the Across-the-Road Radar Module
Specifications for the Performance of the Lidar Speed Measuring Device
Instruction for Police Radar Operators and Instructors
Radar Speed Measurement: An Introduction to the Basic Training Program
Step Three: Have a Working Knowledge of Previous Cases
Legal Precedent Regarding the Implementation of Police Radar
If you were issued a ticket by a law enforcement officer who used a police radar gun to determine your speed, the next step that you should take is to familiarise yourself with the most significant case laws that are associated with the use of radar in speed enforcement.
In the case of State of Florida v. Aquilera (1979)
After a local television reporter showed a house clocked at 28 mph and a palm tree clocked at 86 mph, the story broke nationwide and radar was quickly shown to be less accurate. In this case, the Dade County Court sustained a motion to suppress the results of radar units in 80 different speeding ticket cases. This case is widely known as the Miami Radar Trial.
According to the opinion of the court, the reliability of radar speed measuring devices as used in their current modes and particularly in some cases has not been established beyond and to the exclusion of every reasonable doubt, nor has it passed the test of reasonable scientific certainty. This was stated in the context of the court's finding that the reliability of radar speed measuring devices as used in their present modes has been particularly problematic.
Fields v. United States of America (1982)
The Ohio District Court ruled that it was impossible to determine, based on the results of the radar, whether the defendant was travelling at 43 mph or whether the Speedgun 8 radar unit was measuring the rotation of the ventilation fan at the sewage pumping station next to the officer's car. The court stated that the results of the radar could not be used to determine either of these two possibilities.
The judge ruled that the officer was not qualified to operate the radar unit because he did not know the requirements for correct operation of the unit. In addition, the officer did not calibrate the unit before using it on that particular occasion. As a result, the judge found that the officer was not qualified to operate the radar unit.
Honeycutt v. Commonwealth of Kentucky is the case (1966)
In this case, the court decided that an officer should not be obliged to know the scientific principles of radar. This case is a fairly typical weapon used by the prosecution as an argument against the requirement that an officer must have 24 hours of classroom instruction and 16 hours of field training.
Due to the fact that the court found that the officer simply has to know how to correctly set up, test, and read the radar unit, a few hours of training should be sufficient to qualify an officer to operate the radar device.
In the matter of Tomanelli v. the State of Connecticut (1966)
In the case, which took place in the same year as the Honeycutt case, the Supreme Court of Connecticut came to the conclusion that "outside influences may affect the accuracy of the recording by a police radar set sufficient to raise a doubt as to the reliability of the speed recorded." This was their ruling in the case.
In addition, the court noted that in order for tuning forks to be regarded as acceptable testing of a radar unit, it must be demonstrated that they have an exact frequency response. In order to establish the correctness of the radar unit, the operator must testify to the following:
That he performed tuning fork tests both before and after the speed of the defendant was recorded.
That the tests were carried out by striking tuning forks at 40, 60, and 80 miles per hour, and that it was observed that the device responded appropriately in each scenario.
State of Minnesota v. Gerdes was a court case (1971)
It was decided by the Supreme Court of Minnesota that a conviction cannot be upheld where the only way to assess the accuracy of a radar unit is an internal mechanism within the unit itself, and there is no other evidence of the motorist's speed other than the radar reading.
In addition, the court stipulated the following prerequisites for demonstrating that the radar device in question was accurate:
The officer is required to have sufficient training and previous experience in order to operate the radar system.
The officer is required to testify to the conditions under which the unit was run as well as how the unit was set up.
It is necessary to provide evidence that the device was operated with a very low risk of distortion due to influence from the outside world.
It is necessary to test the unit using an external source, such as a tuning fork or an actual test drive with another car that is equipped with a speedometer that has been precisely calibrated.
In the Matter of Perlman v. People of New York (1977)
This case is significant because it established the criteria for testing both before and after a citation is issued. The Suffolk County District Court came to the conclusion that the accuracy of the radar device could not be proven because no external test had been performed either before or after the arrest.
State of Wisconsin v. Hanson was the case (1978)
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In this seminal case, the Supreme Court of Wisconsin established minimum standards for the admissibility of evidence obtained through the use of radar. In order to have sufficient evidence to support a conviction for speeding with moving radar, an officer who is capable of performing their duties must testify that:
He was equipped with the necessary knowledge and skills to operate the radar.
At the time of the stop, the radar machine was operating normally and without any problems.
In order to reduce the risk of interference, the radar system was deployed in a location with low background noise.
Within a reasonable period of time after the citation was issued, the automobile's speedometer was expertly examined by a third party, and the input speed of the officer's car was confirmed to be accurate.
All of the tests were carried out without making use of the radar unit's own built-in calibrating equipment.
In the matter of Allweiss v. the State of Florida (1980)
The Pinellas County Court came to the conclusion that the procedures for testing radar equipment are not adequate to meet legal requirements "This court is of the opinion that permitting the machine to test itself through the use of a tuning fork like this one that was supplied by the manufacturer is equivalent to allowing the machine to test itself.
A tuning fork that is part of the overall speed measuring device and was supplied by the manufacturer is nothing more than an extension of it.
In the Matter of the Utilization of Police Lidar, Case Law
If a law enforcement officer issued you a citation using a police lidar gun, then the following step for you is to acquire a fundamental comprehension of the most significant case laws that are associated with the application of lidar in speed enforcement.
The Acceptability of Speed Readings Obtained from Motor Vehicles
714 A.2d 381, 391-92 (New Jersey Superior Court 1998) (New Jersey Superior Court 1998)
The following guidelines were established by the New Jersey Superior Court in its order regarding the admissibility of lidar data:
It is not necessary to present expert testimony.
Lidar must be appropriately utilised by officers, and this utilisation must be verified by the training that officers receive.
It is necessary to conduct tests on the lidar in accordance with the protocols that are advised by the manufacturer.
In addition, the judge ordered that the lidar be evaluated against a speed that is already known.
Temperature, the amount of ambient light, and even rain that is light to moderate in intensity have no influence on the speed readings recorded by lidar. A reading will not be accepted if it is being taken during a period of severe rainfall or falling snow.
It is acceptable to take a speed reading from a distance of up to one thousand feet. Readings taken at a distance greater than 1,000 feet must be supported by evidence and presented by an expert witness in order to be acknowledged.
Case involving the State of Hawaii v. Abiye Assay
Even after a law enforcement person has finished an instructional course and been given certification to operate lidar, their training is not complete. Officers are required to comprehend and commit 11.2 Principles of Operation to memory.
For instance, during the known-distance test, officers are required to attest that the lidar determines the known distance by employing tried and true time-distance calculations (the pulse principle), as well as the speed of light (the universal constant). Because the lidar makes use of a single microcontroller to calculate time-of-flight and, as a result, verifies the appropriate pulse repetition frequency, it is able to determine speed with a high degree of accuracy.
The officers are then required to collect, study, and comprehend the manufacturer's operator's manual (10.7 Certification) for the specific lidar that is being used, as well as follow the methods for testing that are advised by the manufacturer. Additional lidar testing is required of officers in accordance with the procedures stated in 11.16 Testing the LIDAR:
A Test of Your Known Speed In accordance with the manufacturer's guidelines and the criteria set by the NHTSA, all lidars are required to have a Technician Certification (10.7 & 11.16) performed every three years. (It is important to note that all newly purchased lidars come with a Technician Certification from the manufacturer.)
Officers are required to demonstrate that they have successfully completed Visual Speed Estimations, Enclosure 13.2, and be ready to provide this information in a legal setting. During the operation, officers are required to comprehend and adhere to a correct tracking history (11.4 Lidar Tracking History), as well as be prepared to testify to visual observations and speed estimates made prior to clocking with lidar.
Officers are required to have a complete understanding of all lidar effects (11.5Lidar Effects), including the correct way to operate the device in order to circumvent any of these effects. In order to operate radar or lidar, the officer must maintain their current certification (10.7 Certification). Finally, the officer is responsible for preparing all court cases in accordance with the instructions provided in this handbook. (10.8 Witness Statements for the Court and 10.9 Traffic Evidence Kit)
Step 4: Obtain the Owner's and/or Operator's Manuals
Next, you are going to want to make sure that you collect the manuals for the instrument that was used by the officer to measure speed from the manufacturer.
There are instances when all it takes is a quick search on Google to find these.
In the event that this is not the case, you will need to either get in touch with the manufacturer to purchase a copy or request a copy of the manual through the legal system from the relevant law enforcement agency.
Pay close attention to the suggestions made by the manufacturer with regard to the following:
Use and Maintenance of
Any training and certification that might be necessary in the future
Keeping of records is recommended.
Tuning fork maintenance instructions and product suggestions
Step 5: Issue a Subpoena for the Records
Subpoena (1) (1)
After that, you should get in touch with the court to inquire about the processes involved in acquiring the following records from the relevant law enforcement agency by means of a subpoena:
Documentation of officers' training sessions
Reports on the disciplinary actions of officers
Radar/Laser equipment maintenance records
Documentation regarding the calibration of tuning forks (radar)
information pertaining to the officers' certification for the device
Records showing the device's annual calibration are kept.
Records of the device's daily calibrations are kept here.
POST Records is the sixth step.
In every one of the 50 states, there is something that is known as the Police Officer Standard Training (POST), which covers the certification and the use of speed measurement devices.
Get in touch with the appropriate state agency and ask for copies of them.
Preparing Your Defense
Now that you have all of the information you require, it is time to look over all of these manuals, training records, and training guidelines in order to discredit the officer who issued you a ticket and the equipment the officer utilised.
Some instances are as follows:
Was the Officer Qualified to Use the Equipment, in Terms of Both Training and Certification?
Case law and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration both require that the officer who is providing you the citation have the appropriate level of training and certification for the equipment that was used to issue you the citation.
Once you have received his training records, you should review both those and the operator manual for the radar/lidar gun in question to see whether or if any more training of a more recent nature is necessary.
Were the Radar and Lidar Equipment's Settings Appropriately Used?
An cop who used his laser gun to target automobiles while aiming at their reflections in his side view mirror is one example of a case in which we participated in drafting a defence. In this case, the officer in question was driving.
During his interrogation of the officer, the defendant questioned the officer about the training guide or manual that the officer might turn to in order to validate that this particular form of targeting was acceptable.
The case was dropped due to the fact that the officer was unable to give the requested information.
When was the last time that the radar and laser gun were certified?
In 2004, a reporter for the newspaper The Hartford Courant contacted us about a speeding ticket she had gotten and asked for some advice.
The very first thing that I requested of her was that she examine the calibration certification records that were stored on the radar gun that the officer used to issue the citation to her.
After waiting a few days, she phoned us back and informed us that the most recent certification was completed more than four years ago.
Have the Radar and the Lidar Gun Been Accurately Calibrated by the Officer?
The officer is obligated to carry out a calibration check in accordance with the instructions provided in the manual for that specific brand and model both before and after issuing any citations throughout the course of his or her shift.
But despite the fact that this calibration test might have been carried out by the officer, we discovered that he or she never documented the results of the test. You can bring an officer's test results into question by following these steps.
Documenting EVERYTHING is one of the very first things a newly sworn police officer learns to do during their training.
Therefore, the officer needs to make a note of this calibration test somewhere—either on the citation that was issued, in his own personal notebook, on the logbook, or on the units' calibration records.
Was the Tuning Fork (or Forks) Used by the Officer Accurate?
Each tuning fork that is used for the calibration process is customised to work with a specific brand and type of radar and/or laser gun and is given a unique identifier.
Compare this serial number with the records of calibration for that particular device, and make a note of the most recent date that the tuning fork was calibrated (s).
Is the Tuning Fork Missing Any Pieces or Does It Have Any Cracks?
One tactic that we recommend to clients is to issue a subpoena for the tuning fork(s) that were used during the calibration so that you can examine them in advance of the trial.
If a tuning fork is dropped, it may sustain damage in the form of microscopic chips or cracks due to the fact that it is built from a light aluminium alloy. This will cause the tuning fork's accuracy to suffer.
If these chips or cracks are found, then while the officer is testifying, you should put these tuning forks into evidence and inquire if these were the ones that were used to calibrate the gun.
After the witness has confirmed this, you will be able to put into evidence the facts regarding how the officer's calibration test may be affected as a result of this.
Do You Think There Was a Shadow Error?
When the "Low Doppler" feature of the moving radar inadvertently locks onto a huge metal item in front of the patrol car, such as an 18-wheeler, a Shadow Error occurs. This causes the speed disparity to be added to the speed of the target vehicle in the opposite lane.
Have You Received a VSS Error?
When determining the speed of the police vehicle, low Doppler is utilised. By connecting the police radar gun into the vehicle's speed sensor, shadowing has been removed and is currently being eradicated. This is referred to as the Vehicle Speed Sensor interface, or VSS for short.
The low Doppler signal from the police radar gun may now be compared, resulting in an increase in accuracy, now that the speed of the patrol car has been collected by the vehicle's own speed sensor.
Was There a Mistake Made with the Cosine?
Both radar and laser guns include a built-in cosine error correction system. The amount of error increases in proportion to the number of transmission angles between the cannon and the target vehicle.
Who does the error end up helping?
In that case, the error is in YOUR favour if it was a stationary radar gun or a laser cannon.
One illustration of this would be a stationary speed radar or lidar gun that transmitted at a 10'-degree angle from the vehicle that was moving toward the target. The radar gun indicates that the target car is travelling at 59 mph, even though its actual speed is 60 miles per hour.
The high angle, on the other hand, may put you at a disadvantage if the radar is moving.
In order for a law enforcement officer to accurately determine your speed while he is behind the wheel, moving radar was invented.
In order to accomplish this, the moving radar must first determine the speed of his car as well as the speed of your vehicle. Once these two speeds have been determined, the display will show both his speed as well as your speed.
As long as the officer is inside a ten-degree angle as you approach, the speeds are determined accurately.
On the other hand, if your car is tilted at an angle that is more than this, it is impossible to say who has the advantage.
Were the Heater or Air Conditioner in the Officer's Quarters Running?
The Pennsylvania State Police made purchases totaling in the hundreds of new radar weapons in the year 2004.
They were averaging 70 miles per hour with the rocks.
This is an example of mechanical interference because the speed reading was being produced by the heater/air conditioner fan in the police car, which was causing the error.
The undeniable truth is that both radar and laser rifles can still make errors.
If you are able to put all of the information in this article to good use, you should have a very good chance of successfully contesting the next speeding ticket you receive.