Speed Defense Myth: If the Officer Can't Pick You Out, You Win

Wrong. The officer has to be able to testify that he got the right person. That’s correct. He has to be able to identify the driver of the vehicle that he pulled over and make sure it was the person who he charged with the offense. However, most judges around Virginia have a much easier way of making sure the officer could identify you.

If the officer can testify that he checked the driver’s license of the person who he pulled over, that the driver’s license matched the person that he pulled over when he inspected the license, and that he copied down the information from the license accurately onto the ticket, that is usually enough to prove the identification of the defendant.

I’ve heard some people claim that you can sit in the courtroom without getting up when your name is called. Then your attorney can ask the officer to point out the client. That’s simply not needed in most reckless driving by speed or speeding cases in Virginia. What would happen most likely is the judge would simply mark the defendant down as not present in court. The trial would continue as if the defendant wasn’t even there. The officer would testify that he checked the license, the license matched the driver, and he copied the information down onto the ticket.

The only tiny kernel of truth of this myth is that the officer does have to prove the identity of the person he pulled over. If there’s a case where the officer maybe made a mistake on the ticket writing down the information, then this line of approach could be fruitful. However, most judges would probably not appreciate the manner of executing it in court. The easier thing to do would be to just tell your client not to come. You could then argue to the judge about the mistake on the ticket, perhaps bringing a copy of the license to show the judge that your client’s information is different than what is on the ticket.

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