California Speeding Tickets With Radar

Speeding Tickets Measured by Radar

After receiving a speeding ticket, many people feel that their only option is to just pay the ticket and, if eligible, take traffic school. Some people even believe that fighting their ticket will either be fruitless, with the officer's word against theirs, or that doing so will result in additional penalties or fines. However, it is actually your legal right, guaranteed by the Constitution, to contest your traffic ticket. And although the officer's testimony does hold some weight, the officer must actually provide certain evidence to substantiate his testimony that the speed measurement was accurate.

In contesting a traffic ticket, your goal is not to prove that you were not speeding, but rather you are making sure that the Court requires to officer to prove, through testimony and evidence, that the speed measurement was accurate beyond a reasonable doubt. Beyond a reasonable doubt means that the officer must show 100% that the speed reading was accurate, and that it came from your vehicle and your vehicle only.

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

Interference from Other Objects

A radar device measures speed by shooting out a beam from the antennae in a counter clockwise spiral until it hits a reflective target. Because the beam width increases with the distance from which the officer is measuring speed, it is possible for larger vehicles around you to dominate the speed measurement and make it appear that you were driving faster than you actually were.

In fact, a radar gun does not measure the speed of each vehicle within the beam, and generally will show only the speed of the strongest reflective vehicle. Other vehicles or objects, such as large power lines, can also interfere with the beam and cause it to return a speed measurement that is different from the speed at which you were actually driving.


The California Vehicle Code requires that a radar device used to measure speed must have been calibrated within the past three years prior to the date of your alleged violation. Not only must the device have been calibrated, it is also required to be calibrated at an independent and certified radar repair and testing or calibration facility.

Such testing will have paperwork associated with it, and so you want to request that the officer provide this paperwork in order to prove that the device was calibrated.


Another requirement under the California Vehicle Code is that the officer received the appropriate training needed to operate the radar device. This means the officer must have completed at least 24 hours of a radar operator course that was approved and certified by the Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training.


The items discussed above are just some of the things a licensed attorney will bring up when defending 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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