How is a Laser Speeding Ticket Different from Radar?

There are various types of devices used by police to measure the speed of vehicles before deciding whether or not to make a traffic stop.   Although the end result is the same – a speeding ticket – the differences in the type of device used to make the determination of excessive speed can make contesting the speeding ticket more difficult, depending what device was used and the conditions under which it was employed.   The two main types of speed measuring devices used by police today are radar and laser speed devices.   If you want to defend yourself against a traffic ticket, it is important that you understand the differences between a radar device and a laser device, and that you know what makes a laser speeding ticket different from a radar ticket in the courtroom.

Laser Speeding Ticket versus Radar Speeding Ticket

  • A radar speeding ticket is assessed using a radar device that measures the speed of the vehicle by reflecting the radar waves off of a piece of reflective metal, such as the paint job of your car, or the chrome of your wheels.  

A radar speeding ticket is easier to defeat than a laser speeding ticket, because the radar device is more subjective – it can reflect off of other metal, like cars near you, or a road sign, and it can also be disrupted by electromagnetic emissions from power lines and roadside transformers.   A radar speed assessment also requires the officer to determine which vehicle was moving at which speed if there are several vehicles near each other when the reading is made.

  • A laser speeding ticket is generated by a laser beam targeting an individual vehicle and measuring its change in distance over a given period of time.  

Because a laser beam has a very specific and well defined point, it can be very accurate in determining what vehicle’s speed was measured, and it is much harder to defeat in court as a result.   If you have received a laser speeding ticket, your best bet for a court defense is to attempt to claim that the device was miscalibrated or was measuring something other than your car, such as a nearby vehicle.  

Getting Help

To best determine how to defend against a speeding ticket that you have received and are disputing, you should speak with an attorney who is experienced in dealing with speeding violations.   Because of the differences in types of speeding tickets, and the complexity of the laws, it can become very difficult to beat a speeding ticket, and you'll want a qualified and knowledgeable lawyer on your side.

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