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Suspect radar readings could lead to tickets being tossed

Posted May 9
Updated May 10

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— Dozens of speeding tickets issued by Raleigh police might be thrown out of court because of an issue with the radar guns used to clock drivers' speed, officials said Monday.

Law enforcement agencies are required to have their radar equipment calibrated yearly. When a Raleigh officer noticed the inspection on his radar had expired and brought it to the attention of his superiors, an audit of the Raleigh Police Department's 400 radar guns found 10 others also weren't certified.

Hundreds of speeding tickets were issued based on those guns, and Wake County District Attorney Lorrin Freeman said she is considering throwing out 60 to 70 pending cases because evidence from uncertified radar equipment cannot be used in court.

"We do know that these radar machines were reading accurately even though they had not been certified," Freeman said. "We are reviewing those (cases) to make the determination as to whether any of them can be proceeded with or whether they will all have to be dismissed."

Most of the people who were issued tickets based on the uncertified radar equipment have had their day in court, and she said she will review those cases as well.

"It's really encouraging to know that a DA, once they find out that something may not be right, is willing to do the right thing," defense attorney Bill Young said.

Radar isn't the only tool officers use to track a driver's speed, so Freeman said she will look at each case independently and consider all of the circumstances when deciding whether to dismiss a case.

Raleigh police said an administrative error was to blame for the lapsed inspections on the radar guns. The department has changed its oversight policy so a similar error doesn't occur again.


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