Lucky Legal Pointer: Fairfax County Reckless Driving Lawyer Explains Virginia’s Radar Calibration Rules

Fairfax County Reckless Driving Attorneys Know How to Leverage Radar and Laser Calibration Requirements to Help Clients

Fairfax Reckless Driving AttorneyIf you are familiar with Northern Virginia, you may be like most people: extra careful to avoid surpassing the speed limit.  There are many wide public roads in Northern Virginia that span multiple lanes in both directions. These major routes sometimes have surprisingly low speed limits. Perhaps the limit is 50 or 55 mph (like the Fairfax County Parkway) but it  otherwise seems like a road with a much higher limit. Or, maybe the limit is 65, and going just 16 over puts you at risk for a criminal Class 1 misdemeanor, a Virginia reckless driving charge.

Radar and Calibration Devices: Yes, Virginia Police Use These.

The Code of Virginia § 46.2-882  enables law enforcement officers to use laser, radar, or microcomputer devices to measure the speed of any vehicle. But the law also has language that says:

Neither Virginia State Police nor county or other local police officers are permitted to make use of helicopters and airplanes to catch speeding drivers with radar or laser devices.

When you go to court because you have been charged with a Fairfax County reckless driving violation, this same law tells us that the result from the radar/laser device is evidence of your speed.

Luckily, there is more to this law and an experienced Virginia traffic attorney or Fairfax criminal defense lawyer will ask the officer if he or she has the calibration certificate as required by the law. The officer has to not only have an acceptable copy of the certificate of calibration, but it must contain specific information:

  • method used to test device
  • When device was calibrated
  • person who calibrated device

In addition to the above, the date the device was tested or calibrated must have been within a six month time frame.

Can you get arrested for a Fairfax County Reckless Driving violation?

Yes, and technically since this is a criminal charge, an arrest record will go on your permanent criminal record even if you are not physically taken to jail. If you are found not guilty or if you are otherwise eligible, you can talk to your local Fairfax reckless driving attorney about expungement.

If you did not go to jail after your reckless charge in Virginia, it is because most jurisdictions do not jail individuals charged or convicted of reckless driving if it is a very mild case. What constitutes whether or not a case is mild depends on hundreds of facts, and there is no bright line rule or answer, other than to say that you should talk to a local Fairfax county reckless driving lawyer sooner rather than later. There are many small details that you could forget if you do not either write down the details or discuss them with a Fairfax traffic lawyer.

If you are arrested, the law tells us that the officer can do so without a warrant. He or she has to be in uniform and show a badge of authority. The police officer can make an arrest if he or she observed your vehicle as well as the read out produced by the radar, laser, or other device. If an officer receives a radio message that is coming from another officer who observed the vehicle, then the officer on the receiving end can make an arrest.

But note: there is an important part of this statute that a careful Fairfax traffic lawyer and reckless attorney may analyze according to your facts: the law states that for an officer to be allowed to make an arrest based on receiving a message from another officer, the message must be dispatched immediately after the observing police officer noted the speed of the vehicle and identified the vehicle. The word, “immediately,” becomes an important word in some cases.

§ 2.2-1112, explains how the radar or laser calibration devices are designated as worthy.

What should you do if charged?

First, you will want to discuss the case with a local Fairfax reckless driving lawyer. You can find Fairfax reckless driving attorneys online who will provide you with a free consultation (Defense law firm, Vincenzes Law, PLLC, is one such firm). Your attorney or the attorney you talk to may discuss possible defenses to your case. One way some individuals escape prosecution has to do with an insufficient radar calibration certificate. There are rules regarding the calibration of radar and laser devices used to measure speed of drivers. Some of the requirements are subtle.

Note: There are over a dozen reckless driving laws in Virginia, and although speed-related reckless driving is perhaps the most common (and well – known), if you want to learn more about Virginia reckless driving laws, it would not be a waste of time.

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Brenton D. Vincenzes is a lifelong Fairfax County resident and Fairfax Criminal Defense Lawyer. He is a member of the Virginia Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, National College of DUI Defense, NORML, and has been awarded the following in 2014-15: Top 100 Trial Lawyer (National Trial Lawyers) Top 40 Under 40 Trial Lawyer (National Trial Lawyers) Nationally Ranked Top 10 Under 40 Defense Attorney (National Academy of Criminal Defense Attorneys) 10 Best in Client Satisfaction for Criminal Defense (American Institute of Criminal Law Attorneys) Nationally Ranked Top 1% Attorney Award Recipient (National Association of Distinguished Counsel) As a local leader, Mr. Vincenzes mentors troubled youths, volunteers his time to serve at his church, takes select pro bono clients, and strives to improve the community. Mr. Vincenzes represents men, women, and juveniles through zealous and diligent advocacy, strategic planning, and skilled trial work preparation. Mr. Vincenzes' areas of criminal law practice are broad, and include most felonies and misdemeanors such as: reckless driving, DUI & DWI, drug offenses, assault and battery, domestic violence, assault on an officer, destruction of property, alcohol offenses, firearm offenses, larceny, shoplifting, embezzlement, fraud, and other theft offenses, and moving traffic violations among others. His private legal services are available in most Northern Virginia jurisdictions, including Fairfax County, Arlington County, Prince William County, Loudoun County, Stafford County, Alexandria, Manassas, Leesburg, South Riding, and other cities and towns.


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