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Can a Radar Ticket Be Wrong?

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The acronym RADAR stands for “Radio Detection and Ranging” meaning that a radio frequency wave reflected off your vehicle gets returned to the radar gun with a reading which determines your speed and could lead to a radar ticket. In most cases, a radar gun is an accurate and reliable tool for law enforcement officers (LEO) to discover your speed. However, there are circumstances when the device was not recently calibrated, or the LEO was not trained and certified on the device as required by law. And, other conditions can alter its accuracy or give the impression that it was your vehicle speeding which could be grounds for dismissal.

Now, you might be thinking since they use radio waves, maybe I can argue that an AM or FM radio broadcasting station interfered with their radar gun. That’s not very likely. A law enforcement radar gun uses a frequency well above that of a radio station. 24 billion frequency waves per second for a radar gun as opposed to around a million for an AM radio station. 

The higher the frequency, the straighter the radio wave beacon, the more dependable the reflection, and the more accurate the reading. Therefore, the faster you are coming toward or going away from the radar gun, the faster the beacon or frequency wave will get reflected to the radar gun. The radar gun will analyze thousands of returning beacons to determine your speed within a matter of milliseconds.   

So, How Do You Prove the Radar Ticket Was Wrong?

As a matter of fact, you don’t, and neither does an experienced traffic ticket attorney. Proving the radar ticket was wrong is nearly impossible and unnecessary. Remember, the state must prove your guilt “beyond a reasonable doubt.” Therefore, an experienced attorney must raise the level of doubt. Not necessarily about the accuracy of the radar device itself.  If the radar gun was not recently calibrated or was used by an untrained LEO either of these could be just the “reasonable doubt” needed. However, there are a few other methods as well.

It’s crucial to your defense to take notes as soon as possible after receiving a radar ticket because every detail could be significant. Although the name of the LEO is on the ticket, along with a few other details, the weather could be a relevant detail as heavy winds and rain can affect the reading. Was there heavy traffic? The further your vehicle was from the radar gun, the less accurate the device is in heavy traffic. Was the patrol car stationary or moving?  The speed of the patrol car must be figured into the equation as well. Did the LEO clock just your vehicle, or were you part of a group? The LEO and another officer might pull over two or three vehicles based on the speed of the first car. “Guilt by association” is easier to dispute than saying the radar was wrong.

It is not necessary for you to have all the answers or even to know why they are relevant if you give the details to an experienced and knowledgeable traffic attorney.     

Traffic Attorneys for Fresno County  

Bigger & Harman represent clients with traffic tickets across Central Valley. Call Bigger & Harman, (661) 349-9300, when you receive a radar ticket or other violation on I-5 or SR-99 in Fresno County, before making a decision about fighting that ticket. Although there are many technicalities and possible reasons for dismissal of a traffic ticket, not all tickets are worth fighting. Particularly when you are eligible to attend traffic school to keep your ticket confidential. 

You can also send them an email, attorney@biggerharmanlaw.com, with the details of your situation. They will reply with details of your options. Since they charge a flat rate, you will always know how much it will cost no matter how many hours it requires to resolve your case.

The Bigger & Harman Facebook page provides information on traffic laws, road closures, and legal advice to California drivers. Find client referrals, other law professionals endorsements, and their license and bio information on Avvo and Nolo; two prestigious online law advocate referral websites. Or, read several of the 85 or more primarily positive reviews on Yelp

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References

The Findlaw online article, “Are Speed Traps Legal?”

CA Vehicle Code 40802, Illegal Evidence

The 2018 CA Drivers Handbook.pdf on the DMVPortal