Here we go with another installment in how to fight a speeding ticket in Florida.
Almost all speeding tickets will be written after an officer captures your speed on a speed measuring device. This device is basically a machine that determines how long it took you to go from one point to another and does some quick math and BOOM! your speed pops up.
There are times an officer will witness your speed independent of any electronic assistance and issue you a ticket, but you would have to be flying and probably committing some other offense such as weaving in and out of traffic for this to happen. Even in that situation, the chances are an officer would cite you for something other than speeding because of the difficulty of proving your speed with nothing more than an eyewitness evaluation.
So, if we agree that most speeding tickets are going to be written with the aide of a machine, does this mean you are dead in the water? Hardly, these machines all make mistakes, just like the human beings running them.
The first thing you need to know is that every one of the different types of devices used by the police must be checked, certified and calibrated every few months. The purpose of this should be quite obvious. If the government is going to rely on a piece of equipment to determine your speed and issue a speeding ticket, they need to be certain that the device is actually working properly. If you are travelling at 35 miles and hour, the device can't say you were going 59 mph.
As you can imagine, the more "requirements" the government has as it relates to having to prove anything in court, the more "opportunity" you have when they can't meet their requirement. Paperwork can get lost or misplaced before your trial, and if the officer can't produce what's necessary, the case will be dismissed.
Now in addition to being able to show that the device the officer relied on was actually working properly, the officer is required to keep a daily log showing that the machine was tested the day your ticket was issued. Again, if this document is not ready on the day of your trial, you're looking pretty good.
The other important piece of paper the officer must be able to produce is one that relates to the officer's ability to work these various speed measuring devices. I mean, let's be honest, there must be more to using a radar gun than just aiming and shooting moving targets. Thankfully there is, and the officers must undergo training and complete all the required testing in order to become "certified."
If you're following the pattern, you will probably see this coming, but certification requires documentation and if they don't bring it to court, you can try and get the case dismissed on these grounds.
It's important to know that when you challenge a matter in court, the State (in a traffic matter, the police officer represents the state) has the burden of going first and presenting all the evidence against you. You (or your attorney if you've hired one) have the right to look at this evidence and question the validity or inquire as to the accuracy of what's being offered against you.
If you feel intimidated or overwhelmed, you can hire an attorney to go on your behalf. I've written extensively on this blog about some of the benefits to hiring a traffic attorney, but you can read the five questions you must ask before hiring a traffic attorney by clicking this link or the button below.