California Speeding Tickets With Laser

Speeding Ticket Measured by Laser

Although most people are familiar with the term "radar" when it comes to a speeding ticket, there is also another device called "lidar" or "laser," which operates distinctly and comes with its own set of defenses.

Laser devices operate by using a laser beam to measure the speed of a single vehicle, as opposed to a radar device which shoot a large beam into a group of vehicles and issues one speed measurement. Because lidar pinpoints a single vehicle, these tickets are generally a bit tougher to beat if the officer has all of his evidence in order.

When your speed has been measured by laser, there are still several things that could affect the accuracy of the speed measurement, and those things should all be discussed to ensure a solid defense.

Reflectivity of Vehicle

Because a laser device measures the speed of a vehicle by reflecting off the surface of that vehicle, a dirty or dusty vehicle can make it difficult for the device to produce an accurate reading. If you have not washed your car in a while, or were on a road trip down dusty roads, this could affect the speed measurement by the officer, and is important to bring up in your defense.

Direct Line of Sight

A laser device uses a small beam of light to measure the speed of the target vehicle. This means that the officer must have a direct line of sight in order to accurately measure your speed. If he does not have a direct line of sight, there is a possibility that another surface will distort the beam, or that the beam will reflect off an unintended surface and throw off the speed measurement.

If the officer in your case did not have a direct line of sight, and his view of your vehicle was obstructed by other vehicles, a curve in the road, or the surrounding landscape (i.e. hills/walls), then you can ask the judge to exclude the evidence from the lidar

Testing of Laser

Nearly all laser device operating manuals recommend that the officer perform periodic tests on the laser device to ensure it is working correctly. This generally involves a "time-distance" test, which requires the officer to mount the laser device on a tripod at a predefined distance and point the gun at an object that has been specifically measured for distance.

If the officer fails to perform these periodic tests, you can ask the judge to exclude the evidence of the laser device's speed measurement because it is possible the laser device was not working properly.


The items discussed above are just some of the things a licensed attorney will bring up when defending your case. More defenses may be applicable based on the facts of your case. If you have received a speeding ticket and wish to fight it, contact a traffic attorney to help you bring the best defense possible.

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