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Should I have my speedometer calibrated?

You may think a safe driver pays careful attention to the car's speedometer, but this device isn't always an accurate indication of how fast you're going. Having your speedometer calibrated can give you a more accurate indication of your speed while serving as valuable evidence in a reckless driving by speed case.

Speedometer Discrepancies Add Up Over Time

Typically, your car comes direct from the factory with a speedometer variance of one to three miles per hour. As you drive, this discrepancy slowly increases. Part of this is simply attributed to the general wear and tear on your vehicle, but problems with your tires or transmission can accelerate the process.

Getting Your Speedometer Calibrated

If you've been charged with reckless driving by speed, Virginia courts will allow you to use a speedometer calibration certificate as evidence in your case. However, the certificate must be from a shop within the state of Virginia. Calibrations from other states are often inadmissible because they don't meet the court's requirements for authentication.

The most accurate speedometer calibration is done using a dynamometer. This machine works by having your car placed with the wheels resting on the dynamometer's cylinders. As your car's wheels turn, the dynamometer shows how fast your car would be traveling if it was on the road. If there's a difference between the dynamometer reading and what your car's speedometer says, this evidence can be submitted to possibly reduce or drop your charge.

Handling Evidence That Hurts Your Case

If you're not 100% positive your speedometer is inaccurate, you might wonder if obtaining a calibration is risky. Although it's possible a calibration could hurt your case, you don't need to provide the certificate to the court unless the prosecution requests it. In most cases, a calibration certificate that shows you were actually driving faster than what the officer who ticketed you listed belongs to you alone.

Protecting Your Rights

Virginia treats reckless driving by speed as a serious offense, with stiff fines and the potential for jail time. To protect yourself, seek the assistance of an experienced defense attorney. Contact attorney T. Kevin Wilson to schedule a free, no-obligation case review.

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