As you drove down the road, you may have seen the patrol car too late. You looked down at your speedometer and realized that you may have been driving over the speed limit. The radar gun was prominently poking out of the window of the patrol car, and you suspected that flashing lights and a speeding ticket were in your future.
A speeding ticket may not seem like a big deal. You just pay the fine and go about your business, right? It may not be that simple if you already have points on your license or if your employer frowns upon traffic violations, especially if you drive for a living. Then there is the chance that your insurance rates could rise as well. Can you challenge the radar gun’s results? Yes, and it could be in your best interests to do so.
The radar gun
You may have learned about the Doppler Effect in school. The radar gun uses this effect to bounce radio signals off your vehicle. The rate at which they return to the gun supposedly determines the speed at which you are traveling. It seems like a foolproof way to determine the speed of a vehicle, but the gun is not without its faults.
Radar guns are still pieces of machinery. Their use requires keeping them in good working order. Radar guns need frequent calibration with tuning forks to ensure that they provide correct readings. Manufacturers of these devices recommend that users calibrate their machines prior to each use. However, most police departments don’t require this, which means that the readings may not be as accurate as believed.
Departments are required to keep records regarding the calibration and maintenance of their radar guns. A review of those records could show that the radar gun that led to your ticket hadn’t been properly calibrated and/or maintained. Raising a question regarding the accuracy of the machine could help get the ticket reduced or dismissed.
Police officers need training in order to properly use a radar gun and calibrate it, whether here in North Carolina or elsewhere. Using the gun may be easy enough, but the calibration requires adherence to procedures. Some officers may not follow the protocol regarding the use of a tuning fork as required. Officers may not calibrate the machine as often as the manufacturer or the department require. Since you retain the right to question the witnesses against you, you may ask the officer about these procedures.
Knowing the right questions to ask may be the answer you need in order to avoid any negative repercussions that could come from your speeding ticket. Many people don’t believe that fighting a speeding ticket is worth it, but it may be for you. By challenging the results of the radar gun, the court may reduce or even dismiss your ticket, along with any penalties associated with it. In order to help ensure your success, it may be beneficial to get legal help.