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Speed Traps in Arlington

The following is taken from an interview with an Arlington traffic lawyer as they discuss speed traps in Arlington and how they can lead to reckless driving charges. For more, call and schedule a consultation today.

A speed trap is a colloquial term for an area where police setup and run radar or LIDAR. Sometimes police will find areas that have either been an area of concern for the community (meaning they’ve received complaints) or an area that they know a lot of people speed through. They will setup on the side of the road and will train their radar on approaching vehicles to stop speeders and issue tickets, and then often go back to the same location and continue to run radar or LIDAR again.

Examples of Speed Traps in Arlington, VA

Speed traps can take many different forms, but typically it’s just the concept of when police sit in one place that is known to them as an area where a lot of people speed and they run radar for several hours.

They will pull over numerous people on most days and sometimes they will have an operation going where they have one person running radar and radioing that into another officer who makes the stop. They may have several officers on the scene that are pulling people over once one of the officers spots the speeding individual. They typically happen at the same areas over and over because of either community complaints about speeders, or because police know it is an area where a lot of people speed so they are more likely to issue a lot of tickets in a short amount of time.

Areas Where Speed Limits Change

Sometimes they will wait in areas where the speed limit drops down from one-speed limit to another. Arlington officers try to be fair about speed traps. They typically won’t wait right at the border of two-speed limits, and they will give you some time to adjust.

Typically, officers go to where the community concerns have been voiced about speeders or to areas where they know people speed a lot. Typically, those areas are areas where the speed limit has dropped or at the bottom of the hill. The best advice is always to be aware of the speed limit and to comply with those laws as they change in different areas.

Are Speed Traps Legal in Arlington, VA?

There’s nothing illegal about speed traps and police have the right to setup wherever they want, as long as they’re charging people for actually speeding and using the proper equipment. That’s completely legal. Arlington Police can sit wherever they want and monitor speed. And if you are speeding, there’s nothing illegal about police giving you a ticket for it whether it’s a speed trap or not.

Laws Regarding Speed Limit Drops

Technically, any time after you drive past the sign of certain speed limit you should be slowed down to the new speed limit. In theory, the police can give you a ticket if you’re traveling above that speed limit even if it has just lowered from a higher speed limit to a lower one. That being said, police in Arlington tend to be fair and give you at least a little bit of time to get your car in accordance with the newer lower posted speed limit. But to be safe you should try to come into compliance with the lower speed limit as soon as possible, because police can issue tickets once you are in the new area.
Speed traps are certain areas where police sit and try to catch people for speeding. Law enforcement may sit in that location for several hours and may issue summons throughout that period for speeding. The areas where these traps are set up are usually areas where people frequently speed or where there is some kind of concern to the community. Sometimes they also occur where speed limits drop dramatically.

To catch speeding offenders speed traps are completely legal and you can be stopped, pulled over, and charged with an offense just like any other speeding ticket when you come to court. If your offense rises above the level of simple speeding and becomes reckless driving, it is important you consult with an Arlington reckless driving lawyer to discuss your case.

What is the Purpose of Speed Traps?

The purpose is partially to extract revenue, but also to make sure people slow down in a given area. The speed limit has been posted for a reason in most cases.

Additionally, sometimes the community has concerns about people speeding through their neighborhood. Sometimes there have been numerous accidents in that neighborhood and authorities have determined a lower speed limit would make the area safer.

So while revenue generation is important for a county or a town, the purpose of speed limits and speed traps is more so about safety and less about revenue generation. If an area is known as a speed trap, many drivers will slow down because of the fear of police action, it’s a safer road for everyone and maybe saving someone’s life.

Impact of Speed Traps on a Reckless Driving Case

The presence of a speed trap will not really impact the case, it will be treated essentially the same as any other speeding or reckless driving case. Just because the area is known as a “speed trap” does not mean it’s necessarily going to make it any easier to win your case. Speeding is speeding, whether in a speed trap or not.

It’s the same as any other speed case. Your attorney can look for any other possible defenses, but being a “speed trap” by itself won’t be a defense. There’s nothing unique about getting caught in a speed trap that would affect the outcome of your case.

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