The main thing you need to know about radar guns is that they emit a radio signal measured in GHz at your car. Using the Doppler shift, it can measure your speed when the radio wave returns to the radar gun. However, they are not 100% accurate. If a law enforcement officer (LEO) is not trained or the radar gun is not calibrated, it can give a false reading.
However, as a layperson, you might not want to try arguing that in traffic court. Always consult a traffic ticket defense attorney. Plus, they can get the LEO’s training record and radar gun calibration record a lot easier than you can.
How Far Out Does the Radar Gun Pick Up a Speeder?
Typically, radar can spot a speeder 300 meters away on a clear day. It’s a simple formula (distance X time = speed). However, the distance it can travel depends on traffic, weather, the vehicle involved, and the strength of the radar gun. Radar picks up the strongest signal. A larger vehicle, like a tractor-trailer, could interfere with an LEO trying to capture a sports car’s speed, but they’ll usually reshoot it.
The radar gun’s signal moves at a consistent speed of 186,000 miles per second, or the speed of light. A vehicle moving away from the signal will return at a lower frequency, a car moving toward the antenna will have a higher frequency. Of course, a stopped car will return the same signal.
The distance depends on the time of day, the weather, the amount of traffic, the type and size of vehicles involved and the individual strength of the unit. Radar will pick up the most prominent, strongest signal. Some believe that the weather affects the ability of the radar unit to determine speed, but that’s rarely true and difficult to prove.
Radar Guns & Radio Frequencies Used
The radar guns used by LEOs across CA can be hand-held or dashboard-mounted. Plus, the dashboard-mounted can have two antennas to detect speeds of the vehicle ahead or those approaching from the rear.
Radar guns typically use three frequencies +/- 100GHz between 33.4 to 36.0 GHz. Four different radar gun manufacturers use those three frequencies. MPH Industries uses 33.8, Stalker uses 34.7, and Decatur Kustom uses 35.5 GHz.
Therefore, if the LEO out there on highway #99 in Tulare County is using a Stalker radar gun set at frequency 34, 700,000 Hz, and it comes back at 34,700, 006,713 Hz, they know you are going 65 mph. No ticket. Of course, they do not have to do the math. The radar gun does that for them.
You need to know that most radar guns are accurate; however, you can hope the calibration is not up-to-date, the LEO didn’t complete training, or they don’t show up for court. Likewise, there are other options known by traffic ticket attorneys, depending on your specific circumstances. Your best option is to consult a traffic attorney before deciding to pay the fine or dispute your speeding ticket.
If you are captured by a radar gun and ticketed for speeding in Tulare County, CA, call Bigger & Harman (661) 349-9300.
We are Bakersfield Traffic Ticket Defense Attorneys who have proven methods to resolve your speeding ticket, most often favorably. The circumstances surrounding each traffic ticket vary, so give us the details. We’ll tell you if we should challenge it and give you a flat rate to resolve your ticket.
Se habla Español (661) 349-9755.
The Neltronics.com article, HOW DOES A SPEED CAMERA OR RADAR GUN WORK?