The Implementation of Laser Speed Devices
There are a number of different laser devices available to law enforcement, and the Laser Atlanta is one of those. Seven years after first appearing in the United States, a second generation of speed lasers arrived in 1997. These laser devices were lighter, smaller, less expensive, simpler and offered much greater versatility than the older models. Today’s laser devices are battery powered, which eliminates the restricted movement of the older models which had bulky power cords. The newer lasers have microchips which offer a menu of user-selected options as well as a serial port for downloading data or interfacing with computers or digital cameras. These newer laser devices are considered extremely accurate, and some can even map accident sites or crime scenes.
Specifications of the Laser Atlanta
The Laser Atlanta speed measurement devices are made by Laser Atlanta Optics, Inc. (or Laser Atlanta, LLC) which is now owned by MPH industries. The Laser Atlanta models that are approved for use int he state of Florida can be found in the list below:
- Laser Atlanta Speed Laser
- Laser Atlanta Speed Laser S
- Laser Atlanta Speed Laser B
- Laser Atlanta Speed Laser R
The Laser Atlanta speed laser is one of these second-generation lasers, and is closer in size to the ProLaser II, Kustom ProLaser I and Laser Technology’s Marksman. The Laser Atlanta is, however, lighter and better balanced. The Laser Atlanta has a removable battery handle containing two 6.3 volt NiCad batteries good for eight-ten hours of constant operation. The Laser Atlanta shows speed and range as well as operating parameters such as minimum and maximum speeds and range. The Laser Atlanta “chirps” when the gun is acquiring target speed, becoming a continuous tone when target acquisition is confirmed. The Laser Atlanta is used by Florida Highway patrol on a fairly regular basis as it is forgiving of operator shake and, under 1,500 feet, acquires a target as quickly as the officer can squeeze the trigger. In 1999, the Laser Atlanta had an obstructed mode menu option added which allows the laser to ignore foliage, the effects of vehicle glass and other sources of interference, and in 2002, Laser Atlanta scored an industry first when stealth mode was added. Stealth mode is meant to outwit radar or laser detectors often used by motorists.
Inherent Problems With Laser Speed Devices, Including the Laser Atlanta
Although the Laser Atlanta is a highly advanced form of laser speed detection, like any laser device there are inherent problems, most notably, calibration. While tuning forks are used to provide external verification of radar units, no external testing methodology exists for laser units; laser guns use a proprietary algorithm to determine a vehicles speed, which is never divulged in a Florida court. In fact, laser guns, including the Laser Atlanta can only verify its own accuracy. Even so, laser devices are allowed in Florida, however they must be certified at least every six months.
The beam of the laser gun must be shot directly at an automobile in order to create a valid reading, and laser guns—including the Laser Atlanta—can be less than accurate in inclement weather. While the laser light beam is much narrower than a radar beam—which theoretically means there is much less chance of targeting the wrong vehicle, the accuracy of the Laser Atlanta is dependent on the officer’s ability to hold the unit perfectly still. Further, in extremely dense traffic, one laser beam can hit your car and another hit a nearby car, increasing the chance of an incorrect reading. In one study, a laser gun clocked a windblown tree at 70 mph, therefore there are certain defenses you may have when issued a speeding ticket using the Laser Atlanta.
If you have been issued a speeding ticket by a Florida officer using a Laser Atlanta, the prosecution must prove the following elements:
- The posted speed limit where your alleged speeding offense occurred
- The officer who issued your speeding ticket must be able to show sufficient training in the use of the Laser Atlanta.
- The officer who issued your speeding ticket must be able to show he or she used the Laser Atlanta in the manner intended by the manufacturer.
- The officer must be able to show the Laser Atlanta unit was tested prior to clocking your speed and issuing your speeding ticket
- There must have been no outside interference which could have potentially caused an erroneous reading from the Laser Atlanta device.
- Your car was the vehicle targeted by the police officer and was the vehicle whose speed was measured by the Laser Atlanta device.
How an Attorney From Our Speeding Ticket Defense Firm Can Help
There are a number of negative outcomes should you decide to pay your speeding ticket rather than appearing before a judge with a knowledgeable Florida speeding ticket lawyer by your side. Your attorney knows which questions to ask the officer who issued your speeding ticket, whether related to procedural issues or issues associated with the laser device itself. Paying your speeding ticket results in points being added to your driving record. These points could cause you to lose your license for a period of time, should you accumulate a sufficient amount. Points on your driving record can also cause your insurance premiums to skyrocket, making your insurance unaffordable in some instances. If you have received a speeding ticket in the state of Florida, speaking to a traffic ticket defense attorney could result in a much better outcome, so call one of our experienced speeding violation attorneys today.