Pace Defense for Virginia Reckless Driving Tickets

If you get a reckless driving ticket for speed in Virginia, it’s usually due to radar or LIDAR (laser). Those are the two most common methods of speed determination in Virginia.

However, sometimes officers pace drivers. It surprises some people to learn that pacing IS a valid way to measure speed, at least in Virginia.

To find out how your speed was measured, you can check your ticket. Sometimes the officer writes a note to that effect. If it’s not on the ticket itself, the officer can be asked at court.

When an officer paces you, he basically drives behind you at a steady distance and watches his speedometer. Assuming he keeps the same distance between your car and his, his speedometer should be reading the correct speed you’re traveling.

The main piece of evidence the officer needs for a pacing case is his speedometer calibration. This is a document separate and apart from his tuning fork calibrations, so knowing the speed determination method makes a critical difference in reckless driving by speed cases. But like tuning fork calibrations, his speedometer must have been calibrated within the previous six months.

Other than the calibration, the main defense for a pace case would be to question if the officer actually got a solid pace of your car. Questions like these might determine if there is reasonable doubt about the alleged speed:

How long did the officer pace you?

Did your speed vary at all?

Was there any traffic between the officer’s vehicle and yours?

Did the distance between the vehicles EVER change?

If the following distance changed and the speed readings varied, it could possibly cast some doubt on the final speed reading.

Even if the officer can prove your exact speed with a valid pace, there may still be hope for your case. Sometimes driving school or other alternative dispositions are available.

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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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