Fighting your Vermont speeding
A Vermont speeding charge is a problem for all
Vermont and out of state motorists and have to be fought. A speeding conviction
can cause an insurance increase and potentially a license suspension. If you
have a commercial driver’s license (CDL) it could result in a suspension of
your CDL privileges.
Vermont speeding ticket points
Speeding is prohibited in Vermont
pursuant to Title 23, Chapter 13, Vermont Statute 23 V.S.A. § 1007. Under
23 V.S.A. § 2502
the graduated point assessment for a speeding conviction is as follows:
10 MPH or less over limit:
11 MPH – 20 MPH over the limit: 3 points
21 MPH – 30 MPH over the limit: 5 points
31 MPH or more over the limit: 8 points
your Vermont speeding ticket
It is the state’s burden to prove you were speeding
by “clear and convincing” evidence. Under Vermont statute 4 V.S.A. § 1106,
“clear and convincing” evidence is defined as:
which establishes that the truth of the facts asserted is highly probable.”
In other words, just because you received a speeding
ticket does not mean you are actually guilty as charged and even if you think
you are the state must still prove the case pursuant to the above standard.
The state of Vermont’s case is predicated on 2
main elements of proof : the officer’s visual estimation and the radar results.
Therefore, our defense of your speeding charge is predicated on defeating
those main elements. Understand that it is very difficult for the State to
make its case on either visual estimation or the radar reading alone; the
2 go hand in hand in order to satisfy their evidentiary burden to establish
as HIGHLY PROBABLE the truth of the facts asserted. In fact, the visual estimation
is so important that the police are trained to visually estimate FIRST and
confirm with the radar SECOND.
2 types of radars used by law enforcement
There are 2 types of radars used by law enforcement
today – a doppler radar and a laser. Both have their infirmaries and weaknesses.
doppler radar works similar to the beam of a flashlight, widening as
it gets further away from the radar unit. Large objects such as buildings,
billboards, large trucks and heavy vehicular traffic distorts the wave
and leads to an artificially
high speed reading for the target vehicle. This is beyond
dispute, as it has been judicially recognized in the New York State
Court of Appeals decision of People v. Knight, 72 N.Y.2d 481, 530 N.E.2d 1273, 534 N.Y.S.2d 353 (1988).
Contrast a doppler to laser
which does not passively capture all vehicles in its beam but emits
a pinpoint beam that must be actively aimed by the police officer at
the vehicle. The evidence captured by the laser unit, in addition to
speed of the vehicle, is the number of feet by which it locked onto
the target vehicle to get its speed reading.
Defeating the radar: a 2 pronged
common area of suppression of both types of radars is to call into question
the calibration and maintenance of the units. As a condition precedent
to offering testimony of its reading, the state must put into evidence
the calibration certificate. This requires calling not just the police
officer but administrative witnesses whom maintain the records for the
department. If the state cannot lay the proper foundation as to the
“business records exception to the hearsay rule,” then the evidence
of calibration, and therefore evidence of reliability, cannot come into
evidence. Without that, the prosecution cannot elicit testimony regarding
the radar reading on the stop.
the state overcomes the obstacle of getting the calibration certificate
into evidence, there are many areas of cross examination available to
call into question the accuracy of the reading that the police testified
to. For example, both types must be field tested for accuracy before
and after the reading. With the doppler, things such as road conditions,
weather conditions, objects in the area are all relevant as to the accuracy
of the reading. With the laser, the distance by which the officer shot
the vehicle and conducted his visual estimation is highly relevant to
proving the “truth of the facts asserted” as highly probable.
Defeating the visual
Defeating the visual estimation turns on the scientific,
mathematical equation as stated above: Rate x time = distance. Now, there
is a lot that goes into this, however we focus our cross examination on the
The LONGER the visual estimation took, the SLOWER the vehicle
The SHORTER the distance of estimation, the SLOWER the vehicle
Calculating feet per second into miles per hour.
Using to your advantage the result of the testimony, EVEN IF
the elicited testimony is close to what you have been charged with.
Even if our attorneys cannot get your Vermont
speeding ticket dismissed, often times our lawyers get relief by convincing
the court that the state may have sustained its burden as it pertains to speeding,
but not “as charged.” Indeed, the difference between 33 MPH and 30 MPH over
the limit is the difference between 8 and 5 points; likewise, the difference
between 21 MPH over the limit and 20 MPH over the limit is the difference
between 5 and 3 points. Just this minimal relief may be what it takes to prevent
an insurance increase.
If you have been given a speeding
ticket by a Vermont State Trooper, Vermont Sheriff, or a Vermont city, town,
or local police officer, before you pay it call us today
toll free for a no cost, no obligation