Officer Said One Speed and Wrote Another

What happens if the officer verbally tells you one speed but then writes another on the ticket?

Video Transcription

Hello, my name is Andrew Flusche. I’m a Virginia traffic attorney. One thing I hear from potential clients sometimes, is that the officer said a different speed when he came to the window than the speed he wrote on the ticket for speeding or reckless driving cases.

For example, somebody may tell me “Well, the officer wrote 75 on the ticket, but he told me 70 when he came to the window and I didn’t even realize it until I got home.” Honestly, I have to tell you that it really doesn’t matter what he says when he comes to the window. The key thing that matters in a speeding or reckless driving case, or any traffic case, is can the officer prove what he’s claiming on the ticket?

What his proof is in a speeding or reckless driving case is going to be whatever the radar or laser gun or speedometer read. How he proves that is with his testimony in court. Now, one thing I do in every case is I get to court early and I would check the deputy or trooper’s evidence. I would take a look at his ticket–usually they have notes written on the ticket–to see what speed they clocked you at, if your speed varied, if you entered into the radar beam at one speed and exited at another speed, and so on.

Sometimes they’ll clock you at a couple different speeds. So it may be in some cases that the officer may say that you entered his beam at 75 and slowed down to 70. So maybe he did mention 70 and you didn’t hear part of what he was saying. It’s loud on the side of the road and the driver is nervous or scared about what might happen, so it’s perfectly reasonable that you might have missed a couple words he said. Or it could be that the officer has had a long day. He might pull over dozens of cars in a given shift and he’s tired, so maybe he just said the wrong thing. It could be either side just mishearing or misspeaking, but what really matters is what the officer can prove when he comes to court.

That’s why having an attorney is valuable: we can check the actual paperwork from the officer and maybe even be able to see his notes. We can talk to him and find out why there was a discrepancy, what’s going on with the case, and can he prove the actual charge that he’s talking about. Because that’s what matters: can he prove that he clocked you, that his equipment was calibrated and accurate that day, and that his equipment read the alleged speed?

Andrew Flusche

My name is Andrew Flusche. I am a traffic and misdemeanor defense lawyer in Virginia. I limit my practice to traffic tickets and misdemeanor defense, so I know the ins and outs of these offenses. I literally wrote the book on reckless driving in Virginia which you can get on Amazon here or download for free here. I opened my practice in 2008 after earning my Juris Doctor degree from the University of Virginia School of Law. Since then, I have earned over 600 5-star reviews from happy clients on Google, Yelp, and Facebook. If you’ve been charged with a misdemeanor offense in Virginia, please don’t hesitate to contact me. Your initial consultation is always free, and you'll talk directly with me about the details of your case.

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