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It's easy to lose track of your speed when you drive around with your college buddies. Before you know it, you could find yourself handing your license and registration to the police officer holding the radar gun a few miles back that you failed to see. Did the officer give you a speeding ticket? Don't be in a hurry to pay it, especially if you received your ticket based on a radar gun. Those devices aren't infallible.

Many people who get speeding tickets simply pay them without giving them a second thought. However, depending on how fast the radar gun said you were going, a significant amount of points could end up on your license. If you accumulate too many points, you could discover that you could lose your license for a period of time.

Do you know how radar guns work?

Most people don't know how radar guns work. You might have heard of the "Doppler effect" in science class. Using a simplistic definition, the radar gun bounces radio waves off your vehicle and the rate at which they return determines your speed. Some police departments might use light detection and ranging technology, which does the same thing, but use lasers instead of radio waves.

In order to work properly, each device requires routine calibration and maintenance. For instance, radar guns require calibration using a tuning fork to measure whether readings are accurate. The recommended frequency of calibration for radar guns is before each use, according to manufacturers. Most departments don't train their officers to do so this often, which means incorrect results could occur.

Officer training

In order to use speed detection equipment properly, officers must attend approved training from which they receive a certification. If the officer fails to attend this training, it's possible the officer used the device incorrectly. Even if an officer has received certification, that doesn't guarantee proper usage each time. Going back to the calibration of a radar gun using a tuning fork, many officers forgo this step, which could produce a false reading.

Calibration and maintenance records

Improperly maintaining records regarding these devices could cause a judge to question the validity of your speeding ticket. In addition, if the records show that a device failed to receive appropriate and timely calibration or maintenance in accordance with established policies and procedures, the validity of your ticket could become suspect.

Challenging your speeding ticket

The last thing you want to do is call your parents and tell them you need hundreds of dollars for a speeding ticket and that you might lose your license because of too many points. Even though you won't get a guarantee if you go to court, you could at least tell your parents that you attempted to get the ticket dismissed.

To increase your chances of keeping those points, or at least some of them, off your license and avoiding paying a hefty speeding ticket, you may consider discussing your situation with a North Carolina attorney who handles traffic violations. With an understanding of the technology involved and the questions to ask, such an ally could prove invaluable.

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