In Florida, speed alone does not amount to a charge of reckless driving or being able to prove it in court. However, an individual might still face a charge of reckless driving when an officer proceeds on speed alone.
A defense attorney could argue on behalf of the defendant that speed alone is insufficient to sustain a conviction for a charge of reckless driving. Usually, in reckless driving cases, it is speeding along with other allegations like weaving in and out of traffic or inappropriate driving.
Call today to learn more about speedometer calibration in Ft. Lauderdale reckless driving cases. Our seasoned reckless driving lawyers at Leifert & Leifert could advocate for you.
What is the Speedometer Calibration?
Speedometer calibration is the method by which a vehicle being utilized by Law Enforcement is regularly checked by an independent mechanic. The speedometer is usually put on a machine to detect its accuracy. In Ft. Lauderdale, officers are required to maintain speedometer calibration certifications.
The calibration must be done at least every six months. Without the checks and certificates, most Judges rule in favor of the driver charged with speeding or reckless driving. As far as speed detection is concerned, without the certificates, most Judges do not allow an officer to testify as to an exact rate of speed if it is used against an individual in an unlawful speed case in conjunction with other driving in a reckless driving case.
Some courts have held that if the speed is excessive such as 25 or 30 miles an hour over the speed limit, other allegations of inappropriate driving are not required for reckless driving charges.
In cases where an officer is using pacing, the speedometer calibration in Ft. Lauderdale reckless driving cases is crucial. The State may have a difficult time proving a particular rate of speed without it in some reckless driving cases.
In Florida, there is a method of speed detection called pacing (clocking). This is when an officer gets behind an alleged offender for a specific distance and maintains the same distance between their vehicle and the vehicle they are tracking to detect its speed. The officer maintains a constant distance over a particular length of time or distance. They will look at their speedometer to determine the speed of the other driver.
The presumption is that when an officer is follows another vehicle for a quarter of a mile and maintains a constant distance between their vehicle and the vehicle they are observing, the two vehicles are traveling at the same speed if the distance remains constant and the pacing is done over a certain length of time.
The issue with calibration and pacing cases is that the vehicles might be going the same speed, but there could be a question as to the speedometer in the officer’s vehicle being accurate.
Just because the speedometer is accurate or the speedometer was calibrated, that does not mean the speed is exact. There may be degrees of error on either side. If the speedometer is not regularly calibrated, the speedometer may not be accurately measuring speed.
A Speedometer Calibration Could Help with a Defense
When someone is facing a reckless driving charge and their vehicle was recently calibrated, their lawyer can use that to challenge the speed and provide testimony as to the defendant’s opinion about how fast they were driving. However, it might be a challenging defense unless there is video evidence of the actual speedometer reading at that particular time. Calibration evidence proves that the speedometer is accurately detecting the speed. Law Enforcement officers are required to have calibration evidence to prove speed in a particular case. Presenting calibration of a defendant’s vehicle increases the credibility of how fast they were going.
What if Someone’s Speedometer is Off?
If someone’s speedometer is not working correctly, that does not mean they cannot be held accountable for any of the penalties on a speeding ticket or reckless driving case. It could be used as a mitigating factor to lessen the penalties or reduce a specific charge that might be reckless driving to careless driving. Even without proper calibration, if an individual is alleged to have been traveling 100 miles per hour, they do not need to have the vehicle speedometer calibrated to know they were driving in excess of any speed limit.
Contact a Ft. Lauderdale Lawyer About Speedometer Calibration in Reckless Driving Cases
Speedometer calibration in Ft. Lauderdale reckless driving cases can be used as essential evidence. Call our team at Leifert & Leifert for more information about calibrating speedometers and how an accomplished defense attorney could help you. Let us fight for you.