Caught Speeding? Stick to Your Guns

Courts regularly dismiss tickets issued by LIDAR devices

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
    If you've been caught speeding by a LIDAR gun, you could beat that ticket just by showing up to court.

    If you've been caught speeding in Chicago, we have two things to say. First, slow down. Second, you stand a good chance of beating that ticket if you just show up to court.

    Three years ago, all city police districts were supplied with high-tech LIDAR (light detecting and ranging) speed detectors.

    But those detectors are not being upheld in Illinois courts, due to legal challenges to the laser technology. The science behind the devices has not yet been satisfactorily proven by the city in court, despite the fact that Police superintendent Jody Weis says they are a great technology.

    Their shortcomings have not stopped the city from using the laser-based detectors. After all, many drivers would rather just plead guilty and write a check then go through the hassle of court. And of course, the city is counting on that revenue.

    But the legal loophole could save many motorists a lot of money.

    How do you know if the "Get Out of Traffic School Free" card applies to you? Look at the speeding ticket itself. The officer checks a box to indicate whether he or she caught you via LIDAR, radar or laser.

    Lt. Dave Blanco, commanding officer in CPD's Traffic Section, nevertheless argues that the devices are accurate.

    "We know it to be a very reliable speed-measuring device," he said.

    Matt Bartosik, a "between blogs" blogger, makes haste slowly.