The number of people in the United States who get speeding tickets every year is astounding. It is estimated that this year alone will result in over 35 million speeding tickets being issued, and more than 10% of those will be distributed right here in the Sunshine State. Remarkably, 95% of these speeding tickets will not even be contested, which I find surprising because there can be so many ways that a good traffic attorney can fight your Florida traffic ticket.
It is very easy to feel like there is no point in trying to defending yourself against a police officer who states that you were speeding. When you consider that it is your word against a cop who is sworn to “uphold the law,” it can be pretty intimidating. Then when you factor in the speed detection device he may have used to support his stance, it’s a daunting endeavor. There are, however, many things to consider.
First, the techniques employed by police officers to catch speeders can be flawed, so let’s take a closer look at them:
Pace – Cops in unmarked cruisers often employ this method. In order to do so, the officer pulls in behind a driver that he suspects is speeding. He then tracks this driver for a period of time while noting the speed at which his unmarked car is traveling. This is usually considered a reliable method for detecting speeders because Florida law dictates that all police vehicles, including unmarked cars, have to have their speedometers calibrated every 6 months with specific calibration equipment. This requirement has to be done by an approved vehicle service location and it must meet a standard of within 3 +/- miles per hour of the police vehicle’s speedometer reading. This is hardly optimal when you consider that speeding ticket fines are usually based upon the amount by which the driver exceeds the speed limit. At 30 mph, this is a 10% window.
Radar – This is probably the most widely used method employed by cops to catch speeders. One of the reasons for its popularity among law enforcement officials and departments is because it is equipment that can detect speed in either a “stationary” environment or a “moving” environment. Radar can either measure the difference between the moving object and the radar equipment or it can measure the speed of the vehicle in relation to the stationary objects around it such as street signs.
Each law enforcement officer is required to be certified in the correct use of any radar equipment used. This certification requires at least 30 hours of training to achieve the minimum level of certification. The certification process compels the officers to have the capability to correctly calibrate the equipment before and after each shift and understanding of the necessity of this process. The course also makes law enforcement officers aware that it is required that the radar equipment is inspected every six (6) months.
Aircraft – This is the method of speed limit enforcement that usually makes drivers feel like big brother is always watching. You are cruising along without a care in the world, thinking that you haven’t seen a single cop and then one seems to appear out of nowhere. This is a completely different scenario than blowing passed a cop who is sitting by the roadside that you spot as you breeze by him. You can’t help but think, “Where DID he come from?” Well, the odds are good that this is your not-always-so-friendly Florida Highway Patrol officer. These guys generally don’t mess around when it comes to speeding, and nailing speeders is one of their primary responsibilities. One of the ways they do so is through the use of small aircraft flying above highways. These troopers tag speeders through the use of white traffic patterns painted a quarter of a mile apart on the roadways. They use certified instrumentation to gauge how long it takes a vehicle to travel between the quarter-mile markers to conclude how fast any given vehicle is traveling. When the eye-in-the-sky has made this determination, they then contact a trooper on the ground who then makes the traffic stop and issues a speeding ticket.
Laser (LiDAR) – This method of speed detection works very much like radar, but where radar uses radio signals that ping off of moving objects and return to the radar gun, LiDAR uses pulses of light that respond similarly. LiDAR, however, can only be used by police officers who are lying in wait for a speeder to come into range. The cop trains the LiDAR on a certain vehicle and the rapid pulses of light reflect off of the vehicle. The LiDAR then registers the length of time that it takes for the light pulses to return to the detection device. A sensor in the LiDAR calculates the speed of the moving object based upon light moving at a known, constant rate.
Regrettably, no matter which law enforcement agency that police officials work for, they are not obligated to show the speed that their equipment records you as traveling. Because there are standards in place that mandate how this equipment is to be used and calibrated, the court system often just assumes that the cop has done his or her job in maintaining and using the equipment properly. Couple this with the fact that the system already considers cops to be ethical in all behaviors, including writing speeding tickets. This is a fine ideology to ascribe to, but as a traffic ticket attorney who has defended thousands of traffic tickets, I have found this not to always be accurate. I have faced some police officers in court whose integrity was questionable at best.
This is one defense that can be used to help get your speeding ticket either reduced or dismissed altogether. Another tactic that can be employed by a good traffic ticket attorney is questioning the accuracy of the calibration of the equipment used when you are stopped for the speeding violation. Yes, the equipment is supposed to be calibrated, but that doesn’t always mean that it is or that it has been done correctly. Presenting the records of these calibrations in traffic court can work to the benefit our client.
These are just a couple of the ways that hiring a traffic ticket attorney can help you get your Florida speeding ticket dismissed. Our experience in investigating issues that may arise from the traffic stop and how the speeding ticket was written can prove extremely beneficial to you. Give us a call at 954-967-9888 for a free consultation. We would like the opportunity to be able to assist you.