Although laser guns are extremely accurate, which is one reason more law enforcement departments are switching to those from radar guns, a laser gun is not infallible. The formal name for this device is LIDAR (“light detection and ranging”).
Most (when used correctly and sight aligned) are accurate within plus or minus one mile per hour (mph) up to 60 mph. One mph will probably not change much about your speeding ticket unless it takes your speed from 99 up to 100. A 100+ mph speeding ticket is a major infraction that differentiates from a regular speeding ticket significantly.
Provided the laser gun is working properly, and the user, the law enforcement officer (LEO), has been trained to use it correctly. Another significant factor that could raise a benefit of doubt in your favor was the weather when you received the speeding ticket.
The LIDAR device emits an infrared light beam, which reflects off a target vehicle and then returns to the receiver within the device. This unit measures the targeted vehicle's speed by measuring the change in distance from the origination point (the LEO’s patrol car or motorcycle) to the moving target vehicle.
However, the “laser beam” can be affected by fog, rain, humidity, or other adverse weather. According to *NOLO’s article, Fighting a Speeding Ticket When the Cop Used Radar, several elements could affect the measured speed’s accuracy, such as:
- Operator errors
- Wrong vehicle
- A scratched lens on the LIDAR
- Incorrect aim
- Radiofrequency (RF) interference
- The A/C in the LEO’s vehicle
*Nolo is one of the nation’s largest online libraries of informational articles authored by legal professionals across the USA.
Although not all of these apply solely to laser gun speeding tickets, a traffic attorney knows which are pertinent. The answer to these questions could raise the level of doubt about the accuracy of the device that measured your speed. We do not need to prove you weren’t speeding; we only need to raise a “reasonable doubt,” which is the standard.
These are questions that need to be asked of the LEO, the state’s star witness. Questions a knowledgeable and experienced traffic ticket attorney will know to ask. Likewise, if the LEO does not show up for court, it puts the state’s entire case at risk if the attorney asks for a dismissal.
Even when there is not enough evidence to get a dismissal, a traffic attorney could ask the judge for a reduced no-point conviction. The speeding ticket holder would still pay the fine but would not get assessed NOTS points. Therefore, their auto insurance premium will not rise, possibly saving them $1,500 or more. Consult a traffic attorney before you decide.
Questions You Should Ask Yourself Rather than Just the Accuracy of a Laser Gun
Do you have the ability to subpoena the training records for the LEO? Do you have the knowledge and experience to find out the LEO’s performance record or even how long they have been on traffic duty? It could make a significant difference. Would you know, without the benefit of 100’s or even 1000’s of hours per year in a traffic courtroom, like a traffic attorney has, who can help you get this information?
Have you heard dozens of speeding ticket cases, much like yours, where the lawyer asks the LEO about the weather when they issued the ticket? Would you know how to question the LEO if the weather could have affected the laser gun’s accuracy? When was the last sight alignment performed on the LIDAR device?
Of course, the traffic attorney already knows the answers to these questions. The point is to raise the level of doubt for the traffic court judge.
Would you know what to do with that information? Would you know when is the appropriate time to ask the judge for a dismissal based on the answers you received, or if the LEO did not show up for court?
Who to Call for a Speeding Ticket in Tulare County, CA
When you have a traffic court date in Visalia or Porterville, CA, call Bigger & Harman, (661) 349-9300. Se habla Español (661) 349-9755.
We are a Bakersfield Traffic Law Firm that handles speeding and other traffic violations for drivers. Do not pay a speeding ticket fine without consulting us. We could save you $1,500 or more by keeping your driving record clean and auto insurance the same with your “good driver’s discount” intact.
The 2020 CA Driver Handbook.pdfThe NOLO’s, article, Fighting a Speeding Ticket When the Cop Used Radar