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Columbia Speed Reading Instruments

After being cited for speeding, it is important for any individual to know how Columbia speed reading instruments operate, and if there are any defenses against them. Although many of the speed reading instruments are sophisticated pieces of technology, it is still possible to defend yourself against the possible incorrect use of such instruments with the help of a Columbia speeding ticket attorney to help ensure any and all possible defenses in your case are explored.

Radar Guns

The radar gun is by far the most common Columbia speed reading instrument. The gun works by using radio waves reflected off of a moving object to determine the speed of that object. Radar units generate the wave with a transmitter, and once the waves bounce off of a car, they are picked up and amplified by a receiver so that they can be analyzed. The officer is then able to read the analysis on a screen in the device.

Radar reading carries a lot of weight in court. This is because it can be difficult to convince the judge that the sophisticated piece of equipment used was not correctly stating the speed that the accused individual was driving.


Another speed reading instrument utilized in Columbia is called the LIDAR. This technique institutes a detector using a low-power beam of laser light that bounces off of the individual’s vehicle, and returns it to a receiver in the unit. The unit will electronically calculate the speed of the individual’s vehicle, which can then be read by the officer on a screen in the device.

LIDAR is supposed to be more accurate than radar units, however, the officer must hold the beam and the unit on the same part of the targeted car during the entire reading to be sure. This is tricky to do, because the unit has a narrow laser beam. It is nearly impossible to be sure that this is being accomplished, because the officer is not able to view the beam when it is being used.

Defenses Against Radar Readings

If there is a lack of training by the officer, an attorney can demonstrate how the accused individual may not be found guilty. Most of the sophisticated radar units are easy to operate by officers. The officers operating them do not have to be certified or licensed. However, it does take some practice and skill before an officer is able to use one.

This defense, that the officer never had any formal training in the use of the radar equipment, can be used in court. A person can ask if any comprehensive instruction was given by an experienced instructor to an officer on how to use the equipment.


As far as calibration issues, the gun must be checked for accuracy against an object traveling at a known speed. A person can determine if the equipment is properly calibrated if the speed on the equipment matches the known speed of the object. Some courts in Maryland have held that the only acceptable method of calibrating a radar unit is to use a certified tuning fork as a moving object. A person can use that as a defense if any other method of calibrating the unit was used.

False Readings

There may be other issues when dealing with Columbia speed reading instruments. One could be the mistake of reading another vehicle’s speed. This is likely to occur if another vehicle is larger than the person who was ticketed, such as a truck that is rapidly coming up behind them in their lane. The officer may see the accused individual’s car, but their radar unit is reading the truck’s speed.

An officer may not have realized that, at a distance of a few hundred feet, a radar beam is wide enough to cover four lanes of traffic. It is very possible that the officer caught a nearby vehicle instead of the person who was ticketed because of the wide range of the radar beam. This is why it is important to determine if the officer was given any formal training in terms of using the equipment.

Weather Complications

Another issue with speed reading instruments may be errors that occur due to adverse weather conditions. On windy days, dust or tree leaves can be read by the radar devices instead of a person’s vehicle.

Furthermore, rain that is blowing from extreme winds can reflect enough energy to give the radar device false signals, especially if the wind is strong enough to blow the rain in a horizontal direction. The more wind or rain there is, the more likely erroneous radar readings will result.


In Columbia, pacing is another speed reading tool that is implemented by officers. Pacing is the act of an officer maintaining a constant distance between the police vehicle and the individual’s car long enough to make a reasonably accurate estimate of its speed. Pacing is admissible evidence to speeding. First, an officer must prove the speed limit he or she was driving, and how much distance was between the police car and the targeted car being tracked.

Hills, curbs, traffic lights, and stop signs can help someone prove that an officer did not pace them long enough, especially if these things are stopping their vehicle from traveling continuously. Also, the further back the officer was, the less accurate the pace is. An officer must keep an equal distance between the police car and the individual’s car for the entire time that they are being paced. Pacing is a lot more difficult when it is dark outside. Pacing is more accurate on a street road where there are no hills so that the officer can see the individual’s vehicle for a continuous amount of time.

No matter the speed reading instrument used, there is always a strong defense available to be utilized in court. An attorney can help implement a strategy that can produce a favorable outcome, and assist in lessening any potential penalties you may be facing.