Police officers will sometimes determine that a driver is traveling fast enough to be charged with reckless driving through a method called pacing. Pacing typically involves the officer following behind or next to the car and observing the speed of his cruiser on his speedometer. Pacing also requires that the officer believes the distance between his cruiser and the other car did not change over the distance of the pace. This is a subjective statement which can be difficult to verify and to prove at trial.
It is clear from this type of proof that the accuracy of the police cruiser’s speedometer is essential to getting a precise determination of the driver’s speed. In order to prove the accuracy of the speedometer, the government must produce evidence that the speedometer has been calibrated. Under Virginia Code 46.2-882 “no calibration or testing of such device shall be valid for longer than six months.” Thus, it is important in every case to make sure that the government has met its burden of establishing that the speedometer is accurate and that such proof is admissible in trial.
If an officer has charged you with reckless driving in Fairfax County by pacing, it is imperative to determine what method he used and your possible defenses.
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