The use of RADAR to determine your speed in California is legal in most cases. However, under CA Vehicle Code (CVC) 40802, speed trap tickets are a violation of your rights. Defined by California law, a speed trap is “A particular section of a highway measured … in order that the speed of a vehicle may be calculated by securing the time it takes the vehicle to travel the known distance.”
Entrapment Under California Law
This section applies to a section of highway and not a local street or roadway. Additionally, a traffic survey must have been completed within the previous five years that justifies the speed limit, and "airplane surveillance" may not be used as the sole basis for the measurement of speed, but must be accompanied by a patrol car that paces your vehicle to determine its speed. A speed trap ticket is the resulting citation received because of any action by law enforcement (LE) officers to circumvent this section of CA law.
It is advisable to consult a traffic ticket attorney if you believe you may have received a speed trap ticket and to contest such charges.
How RADAR Works
A RADAR system determines the speed of a vehicle by transmitting a radio frequency and measuring the returned signal that has been reflected by your vehicle. Sound travels at 1125 ft/sec and RADAR measures this effect to determine your vehicle’s speed.
If the RADAR device has been properly calibrated, the LE officers are trained on the device, and the device is used correctly, RADAR can be used to measure your vehicle’s speed. These are some things that a traffic ticket lawyer can determine for you. Do not ask the LE officer on the side of the highway to prove any of these things, chances are it will just make matters worse. And, always sign your ticket! Signing your ticket is not an admission of guilt, just an agreement to appear in court on or before the specified date. If you do not sign your ticket, the LE official must take you to jail.
Speeding tickets may be issued to drivers exceeding the posted speed limit as determined by the state. Although the typical base fine for a speeding violation is around $35 the additional fees issued by individual counties, such as penalty assessment fees and surcharges, can often inflate the fine to as much as ten times that amount. An individual may opt to pay the ticket, sometimes with additional stipulations, or choose to fight the ticket by opting for a hearing. In many cases, a traffic ticket attorney can get your fine reduced or charges dismissed.
It is your right by law to contest any of these charges rather than plead guilty and accept the consequences of something that may not be legal. In cases of speeding tickets, speed trap tickets, or entrapment it is advisable to understand your rights and seek the counsel of a traffic ticket attorney.
In Los Angeles, Call Bigger & Harman
In California, it is illegal to use “airplane surveillance” or another method of measuring a certain portion of highway to determine your speed, call Bigger & Harman, 661-349-9300, before you decide whether to fight a speed trap ticket. Mark Bigger and Paul Harman have been defending traffic ticket clients in California for more than a decade and have contested thousands of tickets in traffic court, in Shafter, Bakersfield, Lamont, LA, SLO, and other superior courts in southern central CA. You can email their office a scanned copy of the ticket and a brief summary, firstname.lastname@example.org and they will arrange a complimentary (FREE) consultation.
Se habla Español 661.349.9755.