Usually when someone is speeding, they know it, but they often think it is always the other guy who will get pulled over, especially when the driver believes he is just keeping up with traffic. (Don’t try this defense; it doesn’t work). Sometimes, however, it comes as a complete surprise when you become aware that you are the intended target of the cop. “Why me, and how did he know I was speeding any more than anyone else?” Well, the “why me” question could be the result of a multitude of variables. It could be you were going a bit faster than the drivers around you, a sudden lane change, or who knows what that attracted the police officer’s attention. As for how the officer knows that you are going faster than other drivers, the methods of speed detection could be one of many. Although we have all heard about the various methods employed to determine a driver’s speed, we may not understand how they work. Hopefully this blog will clarify these methods and give you some insight in how to avoid them.
- Pace – This is a method that is often used by police officers who are in unmarked cars. The officer will pull behind a driver that he thinks is speeding and follow the car for a certain distance while monitoring the speedometer in the unmarked car. Florida law mandates that all police vehicles, even those that are unmarked, must have the speedometer calibration checked every 6 months with specific calibration equipment. These calibrations must be performed at an approved vehicle service location and the calibration has to be accurate to within plus or minus 3 miles per hour of the police vehicle’s speedometer reading.
- Radar – It’s not news to anyone that police officers frequently use radar to catch speeders because it is the most widely implemented approach. What may be less well-known is that nearly all of Florida’s law enforcement officers are certified in the use of radar by taking a certification course that is a minimum of 30 hours. This course covers such things as the need (and ability) for the cop to calibrate the radar before and after each shift. It also ensures that the officer knows that, like his speedometer, the radar is inspected every 6 months. One of the reasons that it is so widely used is because an officer can use it whether he is moving or stationary.
Unfortunately, cops working in Palm Beach, regardless of which enforcement entity they work for, do not have to show you what speed the radar clocks you at. It is the supposition on the part of the court system that their radar certification and the fact that they are a law enforcement official gives them a sense of honor. As a traffic ticket attorney who has spent a lot of time in the Palm Beach County courthouse, I know this is not always the case. Familiarity with some police officers who don’t always show the greatest amount of integrity is one defense that can be employed by a good traffic ticket attorney to get your ticket dismissed.
- Aircraft – Law enforcement officers seem to be everywhere when you are speeding, including far above the Palm Beach roadways. The Florida Highway Patrol has a reputation of being even less tolerant of speeding than other law enforcement agencies. After all, that is pretty much all they do, so it is not surprising to realize that they can be found not just on the highways. Through the use of small aircraft such as Cessnas, Florida troopers catch speeders by monitoring how long it takes a vehicle to get from one white traffic line to the next which are painted on roadways a quarter of a mile apart. As with radar, they use certified instruments which automatically gauge the amount of time it takes the car to travel that quarter-mile distance, thereby determining the speed of the vehicle. Once the speed of a vehicle has been ascertained, the pilot then contacts a trooper on the ground who then elicits a traffic stop in order to write the speeding ticket.
- Laser – Also known as LADAR, lasers work in a similar fashion to radar except they can only be used from a stationary object. This means that these can only be used by cops who are laying in wait to catch speeders, but they work with a high degree of accuracy. The police officer focuses the laser on a particular vehicle. The LADAR emits rapid pulses of light (laser) that reflect off of the target vehicle, and then it registers how long it takes the light to return to the device. Since light moves at a constant rate that can be calculated by a sensor in the LADAR, this is how the cop determines your speed.
Whatever the method used when you are issued a Palm Beach County speeding ticket, each branch of law enforcement is required to write the type of speed detection device employed on the traffic ticket. Additionally, he must document the serial number of whatever mechanical device is used. This is to ensure that the accuracy of the device is within the specifications of Florida law. If these two items are missing from the speeding ticket, it lays a strong foundation for a traffic ticket attorney to have the traffic citation dismissed.
Regardless of which type of speed detection device was used, if you receive a speeding ticket in Palm Beach County, we at the Traffic Ticket Team have experience in getting traffic tickets dismissed or reduced. Just because a police officer states that he clocked you at a certain speed does not mean that it’s an iron-clad traffic ticket. Even when using any of the speed detection methods that I have discussed here, police officers are not infallible, and they certainly are not always as trustworthy as the system would like to portray them to be. We have a high rate of dismissal with speeding tickets and an even higher rate of getting the fines and penalties reduced so, give the Traffic Ticket Team a call for a free consultation at 954-967-9888.