Speed Reading Instruments in Newport News

In Newport News and throughout the rest of Virginia, there are three methods which are used to detect speeding drivers. Below, a Newport News speeding ticket lawyer discusses these methods and the weight that they are given in court. To learn more, call and schedule a consultation today.

How Newport News Police Officers Tell If You’re Speeding

Newport News officers use a variety of methods to tell if someone is speeding. They use radar equipment, LiDAR guns and pacing to track motorists’ speeds. As long as they can show in court that their equipment or their method was used while following correct protocol and procedure, then they can tell if you were speeding and prove it in court. Newport News officers routinely use radar tools and LiDAR tools to detect speeding. The most common of this is the stationary radar which is the radar equipment that the officer is using when the police cruiser is not moving. They also use pacing which is not a radar tool but it’s becoming more common.

Radar & LIDAR Guns

Radar readings are readily accepted by the court as reliable evidence as long as the calibration certificate has all of the required information on it. If the officer has followed protocol and the calibration certificate backs him up, then these readings are very, very difficult to prove otherwise.

LiDAR is newer than radar and it utilizes a laser instead of a radar to detect speed. Generally, LiDAR is a little bit more accurate with a little bit less room for mistake. But the same type of issues that come up with radars still come up with LiDAR. There is also the same kind of procedure that is required to be followed by the officer very closely. So, if the calibration certificate has any mistakes on it, the case would be dismissed just the same.

Defenses Against RADAR Or LiDAR Readings

The best and easiest defense for radar gun readings in court is generally going to be related to the calibration certificate itself. If there’s any type of error on the calibration certificate, then this is cause to have the case dismissed without anything else.

If the calibration certificate shows that the radar gun was not calibrated within the required time frame, for example, this would be cause for a dismissal.

Operator Error In Use of RADAR Guns

The police officers in Newport News are typically trained very thoroughly in how to use their radar instruments to detect speed. However, as with everything that people do, human error is going to be inevitable. There are going to be instances where error causes an incorrect reading.

The hard part is not determining whether there was error, it’s proving it in court. It’s really difficult to prove that operator error was the cause of a reading rather than whatever speed that the officer’s alleging the driver was going. A really strong cross examination of the police officer and the exact steps he took to determine the vehicle’s speed with his instrument is the best method to determine whether there was a question of error.

Other Issues With Traffic Instruments

There are a few possible issues that could come up, depending on the particular case’s facts. It is possible sometimes for traffic radar instruments to lock on to an incorrect object.

In court, this is going to require extremely thorough cross examination of the police officer by a good attorney who knows what needs to be asked in order to prove it. In order to show that the incorrect object was locked on to, generally the officer has to admit to the possibility that this even existed given the circumstances surrounding the incident.

It is not the easiest thing in the world to get an officer to testify to the possibility that he made a mistake. There are other defenses that could come up as well though, because some radar instruments aren’t allowed to be used if there’s any type of precipitation. If, during your stop, it was raining or there was snow or heavy wind or heavy humidity, then it’s possible to prove that there’s enough risk of interference in order to have the case dismissed.


Pacing in Newport News speeding cases is when an officer targets a vehicle that they believed to be speeding. The officer will follow the vehicle with his police cruiser and attempt to match the vehicle’s speed exactly. When he has matched the vehicle’s speed, he then looks down on his own speedometer to determine how fast the targeted vehicle is going.

Issues With Pacing

In speeding cases, there are a few issues mostly to do with human error. It’s very possible that an officer with the best intentions believed that they were accurately tracking a vehicle’s speed and matched their speed the same, but in reality they could be slowly gaining on the defendant. Therefore, the speed that they’re tracking the defendant at would be higher than the speed that the defendant is actually going at. Likewise, they could have mistakes in their own vehicle such as their speedometer not being properly calibrated.

If this is the case, then the speed that they’re tracking the defendant at can be off by however much the speedometer is off by.

What Newport News Prosecution Needs to Prove In Court

It is completely necessary for the state to prove that the speed reading instruments work. That’s why the calibration certificate exists at all. If they didn’t have to prove this, then they could use old equipment or not bother taking care of it or maintaining it, and people could be convicted on machines that aren’t proven to be working properly.

If the government can’t prove that the speeding instruments are working exactly as they’re required to be, this should cause the case to be dismissed.