If an officer pulled me over with a miscalibrated radar gun and issued a possession charge, canI get this dropped for lack of probable cause?

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If an officer pulled me over with a miscalibrated radar gun and issued a possession charge, canI get this dropped for lack of probable cause?

I was going 46 mph in a 40; he wrote on my warning ticket 58 in a 45. He then found marijuana on a passenger and failed to provide paperwork for the possession for said passenger. If the possession charge goes to court, can it be dropped for lack of probable cause? According to his radar, I was going 12 more than I actually was, and just barely over what he thought was the speed limit.

Asked on January 8, 2012 under Criminal Law, Maryland

Answers:

B.H.F., Member, Texas State Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

The best answer is not likely.  Radar has been accepted as reliable in most jurisdictions.  So refuting the RADAR or its equipment is very difficult.  To have a shot, you'll have to prove that the RADAR equipment was not properly working and that the officer knew it-- such that when he conducted the traffice stop the officer knew they did not have reasonable suspicion to conduct the stop.  Absent some other evidence, it will just be your word against his-- which can be extremely difficult to prove.  If you only prove that the equipment was defective, but the officer did not know the RADAR equipment was defenctive, then you still won't prevail.  Officers only have to demonstrate reasonable suspicion that a traffic offense was occuring-- not that  it actually occurred.  "Reasonable suspicion" is an even lower burden than "probable cause."  As long as the RADAR provided some indication, along with the officer's training and background, that you were speeding, then the stop will be upheld.  Probably your biggest hurdle, however, is that you admit your were going six miles over.  Once you take the stand and testify to the same, the courts will rule that you were speeding and that the stop was justified.  All the state has to prove is one mile over.  Your admission alone is enough for the prosecution to win at a suppression hearing.


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