Speed Reading Instruments in Chesapeake Speeding Ticket Cases

Officers in Chesapeake speeding ticket cases use speed reading equipment to determine how fast drivers are going. This equipment comes with paperwork that backs up the equipment’s functioning. In court, officers not only have the number that they caught the driver at, but they also have the paperwork that supports the number they allege the person was driving at. It is not necessarily your word against the officer’s when you get to court; it’s your word against the officer’s word, plus the officer’s equipment, plus the paperwork that the officer should have presented. With so much stacked against you, it is often wise to have a Chesapeake speeding ticket lawyer represent you in these cases.

How Virginia Officers Can Determine Speeding

Chesapeake, Virginia law enforcement officers can tell if someone is speeding, because they are always monitoring traffic using their radar equipment and their LIDAR equipment, as well as pacing vehicles and monitoring traffic with cameras. Radar tools are routinely used to detect speeding in Virginia. They are probably the most common way that officers detect speeding in Virginia and they are considered to be extremely accurate, within a few miles per hour.

Radar Devices

In court, if an officer can present his radar reading with the calibration certificate supporting that it was taken correctly, then it’s considered to be extremely reliable and it’s hard to refute that unless they have convincing evidence that counters it.

Officers are required to calibrate their equipment at certain specified intervals of time. When they do so, they get a calibration certificate that shows how it was done, when it was done, and that it was done correctly. The officer always presents this in court. It has to be a true copy of the original or the original itself, and it has to have very particular information on it. Because this is so specific, the court sees it as very strong supporting evidence of what the officer alleges.

Defenses Against Radar Gun Readings in Court

Usually, the main defenses for radar gun readings in court have to do with the calibration certificate. If an officer doesn’t have a calibration certificate, then at that point they don’t have anything that is supporting the alleged speed except for his word. This then becomes the officer’s word against the driver’s word, although the driver’s opinion is not very strong evidence.

When they do have the calibration certificate, there are still some things that could go wrong. It could have not been completed in the required time frame, in which case it would be the same as not having it at all. It could be not a true copy, or something else could have been incorrect on the calibration certificate itself. Other defenses include saying the radar gun reading locked onto the wrong object, such as another vehicle, but this is a lot harder to prove. This is difficult to prove because it requires a very skillful cross-examination of the police officer.

Generally, it is going to be hard to get a police officer in court to admit that there is a possibility that the instrument locked onto the wrong object.

LIDAR Devices

LIDAR is very similar to radar, the only difference is that LIDAR is a newer technology and it uses a laser instead of radar to detect the vehicle’s speed. The defenses for both of them are pretty much exactly the same.

As with Radar devices, the state needs to prove in court that the speed reading instruments work. This is where the calibration certificates come in, as long as the officer can present a calibration certificate that shows the instrument was used properly, was maintained as required, and meets all of the other requirements, then this is generally enough for the state to prove that the speed reading instruments were working accurately.


Pacing is another way that officers track the speed of vehicles. They target the vehicle and then they follow this vehicle with their police cruiser and attempt to match their cruiser’s speed to the speeding vehicle. Once their speed is matched for a particular length of time, the officer looks down at his own speedometer to determine how fast the other vehicle is going.

Admissibility of Pacing as Evidence 

Pacing is admissible evidence of speeding. It is accepted by the court the same way as radar and LIDAR. It does require a calibration certificate for the officer’s cruiser’s speedometer to show that the speedometer was working properly. There are a lot of issues with this however, because, unlike radar and LIDAR, the reading is a lot more subjective, since it depends on the officer saying what his speedometer read.

The officer has to determine the speed by looking at the speedometer rather than having equipment that automatically does this. Because the officer is not a machine, he is clearly prone to human error. It is always possible that the officer was going a little bit too fast and then he targeted a vehicle for speeding when in fact the speed of the vehicle was a little bit slower. Or it is also possible that his speedometer wasn’t accurate and that he incorrectly tracked the vehicle using a broken speedometer.

Common Myths About Speed Reading Instruments

A common myth about the speed reading instruments in Virginia is that it is easy to argue in court that these instruments locked onto the wrong object, and, therefore, it is one of the more common things that defendants say. People tend to believe they were not going that fast, so the officer must have locked onto some other vehicle. This, however, is extremely hard to prove. Sometimes it is successful, but it’s not a great defense to use in court when compared with other available defenses.

Another common misconception has to do with what officers are required to show a person at the scene. Oftentimes, defendants will ask the officer if they can see the radar gun instrument’s reading so that they can see for themselves what the officer clocked them at. Sometimes officers will comply and show the defendant, but they are not required to do so.