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The officer did not use radar to document my speed, but instead used something called lidar. What is it?

If you frequently watch cop shows on TV, you're probably familiar with the practice of using radar guns to track speed. However, if you've been charged with reckless driving by speed under Virginia law, your speed may have been checked with lidar.

Understanding the Difference Between Radar and Lidar

RADAR stands for RAdio Detection And Ranging. It's been used by law enforcement since the 1950s and uses radio waves to determine the speed of vehicles that are in the beam. The calculation involves both radio transmit frequency and the returning signal frequency.

LIDAR is a newer technology. This acronym stands for LIght Detection And Ranging. Lidar uses lasers to detect the speed of vehicles that are in the path of the beam. The advantage of lidar is that it allows officers to more accurately hone in on one specific vehicle.

Although lidar is thought to be slightly more accurate when determining the speed of vehicles that are traveling in heavy traffic, both radar and lidar usage are acceptable for the purpose of issuing a reckless driving ticket.

Reckless Driving by Speed

You can be charged with reckless driving if your speed was measured at 20 miles or more over the speed limit or over 80 miles per hour, regardless of the posted speed limit.

Penalties for reckless driving by speed include:

  • Jail time of up to one year
  • Up to $2,500 in fines
  • Driver's license suspension of 10 days to six months
  • Six demerit points added to your driving record for 11 years

Defending Against the Charge

It does not matter whether the officer used radar or lidar to measure your speed. However, the officer does need to be able to prove the device was functioning correctly. This involves producing a calibration certificate issued within the last six months.

Working with an experienced attorney is the best course of action after receiving a reckless driving ticket. T. Kevin Wilson is dedicated to helping Virginia drivers build an aggressive defense against reckless driving charges. Call today to schedule a free, no-obligation case review.

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