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Radar certification does not always equal proper operation.

Every hour of every day, drivers in Virginia are pulled over by officers and troopers for exceeding the posted speed limit.  In many of these cases, the officer or trooper is operating a radar gun to determine the vehicle’s speed.  Despite receiving a uniform traffic summons stating that they were exceeding the speed limit, many drivers maintain their innocence.  “It’s not possible that I was going THAT fast!”

I have always been skeptical of blindly accepting radar gun results as proof that a driver was speeding.  When I represent a client charged with exceeding the speed limit or reckless driving based on the radar gun readout, I am always sure to do my due diligence to ensure that proper protocol has been followed.  Those lovely little radar guns must be calibrated and in proper working order at the time of use; the officer/trooper must be properly trained; and most importantly, they must use the equipment in the proper manner.

A fellow member of the bar, David Good, was doing his due diligence recently in the General District Court of Petersburg and hit a shocker that resulted in dozens of cases being nolle prossed immediately!  Mr. Good was able to elicit from the officer that he had no idea what a “tracking history” was and went so far as to tell him he would have to ask a radar tech.  In fact, tracking history is a critical element of proper radar operation.

Police are hired to do a job and for the most part they are good at what they do.  However, just like everyone else officers make mistakes in the execution of their job duties.  Just this past week I heard an officer testify on cross examination that he did not know what he was looking for when administering field sobriety tests to a driver suspected of DWI.  Our criminal justice system is only effective if defense attorneys are not asleep at the wheel and doing their due diligence.

*This blog site is intended to give for general information only. The information presented at this site should not be construed as formal legal advice and should not be interpreted to create a lawyer/client relationship. 


Reckless Driving by Speed – Fairfax County

Reckless Driving (83mph/55mph zone) – Virginia Code section 46.2-862 – Class 1 Misdemeanor with a maximum punishment of up to 12 months in jail and/or a fine of $2,500.00. Reckless driving also carries with it 6 demerit points that remain on a driver’s record for 11 years.

Case Disposition: Charge reduced to speeding with a $75 fine plus court costs. Unlike reckless driving, speeding is not a misdemeanor conviction. This was an important factor in this case because my client was in the process of a character and fitness review which a misdemeanor conviction could have jeopardized.

The results shown above are actual case dispositions achieved by Criminal Defense Attorney, Dontae L. Bugg.  Please note that the results of these cases are contingent upon a number of factors unique to each case and previous results to not guarantee or predict future results.  Client privacy is of the utmost importance.  Thus, client names or identifying facts will not be published.