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Speeding Reading Instruments in Frederick County
The three common methods that officers use to record driver speeds are pacing, LIDAR devices, and radar devices. However, it is important to note that speed cameras are frequently used to record speed in Frederick County. Such cameras do not require the presence of an officer and instead remotely capture driver speeds using camera technology.
Citations are generated for drivers exceeding the speed limit by 12 miles per hour or over, and include an image of the subject vehicle. A citation generated by a speed camera carries a $40 fine, but does not assess points to the driver’s record. A person may contest a speed camera citation by requesting a hearing and employing a Frederick County speeding ticket attorney as soon as possible.
When the pacing method is used to determine a driver’s speed, the officer must maintain a constant distance between their vehicle and that of the driver long enough to make a reasonably accurate estimate of that driver’s speed. Pacing is admissible as evidence of speeding in court. However, the officer must first prove that their speedometer was functioning properly and that the distance for which they followed the driver was adequate to determine speed.
Although admissible, pacing is vulnerable to a number of factors that may affect its accuracy. For example, the presence of hills, curbs, speed bumps, traffic, and stop signs may affect an officer’s ability to accurately estimate a driver’s speed. If such conditions are present, a driver may be able to establish that the officer was unable to follow them at a continuous speed for a sufficient distance.
Additionally, the distance between the officer and the individual is important. The further the officer is behind an individual while pacing, the less accurate the estimated speed will be. Moreover, an officer must maintain a constant distance between their vehicle and that of the driver for the full duration of the pacing. If the officer is far behind the driver, or if the officer does not maintain a constant distance behind that driver, their speed estimates may be faulty and subject to successful defense.
“LIDAR” stands for “light (laser) imaging, detection, and ranging.” A LIDAR device records a vehicle’s speed using a low power beam of laser light that bounces off of the vehicle and returns to a receiver in the device. The device then automatically calculates the speed of that vehicle and this calculation can then be read by the officer.
Radar devices use radio waves that reflect off a moving object in order to determine the object’s speed. These devices generate waves with a transmitter; once the generated waves bounce off of a driver’s vehicle, they are picked up and amplified by a receiver in the device. After the waves are analyzed, an officer is able to read the analysis in order to determine the driver’s speed.
Radar device readings carry a lot of weight as evidence in court. However, there are defenses that may be used against such readings by a knowledgeable lawyer. For example, an individual can argue that the officer who used the device to determine their speed lacked the necessary training to operate a radar device. To support such a defense, an individual should determine whether the subject officer was given comprehensive instruction by an experienced instructor as to how to use the device.
RADAR DEVICE ISSUES
An individual can argue that the radar device was subject to calibration issues. A radar device must be periodically checked for accuracy. When a device has been checked regularly and is calibrated correctly, its readings are generally considered to be accurate and are thus difficult to defend against. However, if the device has not been checked regularly, it is possible that it generated a faulty reading.
Additionally, a radar device may issue a faulty reading if that reading was interfered with by other objects. For example, the officer may have recorded the speed of a vehicle other than that of the driver. Often, such errors occur when an officer observes one driver while unintentionally recording the speed of another. Finally, radar devices are subject to errors caused by interference from weather conditions. On windy days, dust, leaves, and rocks may interfere with the accuracy of a radar device.