Protecting Your Rights
Any driver charged with reckless driving by speed in Virginia should discuss getting a speedometer calibration with their attorney. The only down side to getting a speedometer calibration is cost and time (typically about $70 and about one hour).
A speedometer calibration is when a mechanic checks the accuracy of your car’s speedometer. If your speedometer is low then the argument can be made that you did not know you were going as fast as you were going. Some judges or prosecutors may amend a driver’s case to reflect the speed their speedometer said they were going. For example, if your speedometer is 3 mph low and you are charged with 86 mph in a 55 mph zone some judges may agree to treat you the same as a driver accused of driving 83 mph in a 55 mph zone. Even though 83 mph in a 55 mph zone is still reckless driving, the punishment is usually much less severe and it could make a major difference in your case.
In Virginia, speedometer calibrations are also useful if you want to testify that you know you were not driving the speed you were accused of going. If you plan on testifying that you looked at your speedometer and it said you were driving slower than the speed on the ticket then you should get a speedometer calibration to verify that your speedometer was reasonably accurate.
If you get a speedometer calibration, make sure to also get a speedometer calibration certificate. Without the certificate, your calibration is useless. Be careful, some mechanics (especially dealers) tend to generate useless speedometer calibration certificates. A local reckless driving attorney will be able to assist you in obtaining a reliable speedometer calibration.
A speedometer calibration certificate should identify the car and state the various speeds at which the car was tested. The speeds at which the car was tested should at least come close to the speed on the ticket (i.e. don’t have the car tested at only 25 mph if you are charged with going 85mph). And most importantly, the mechanic should record the speedometer’s results at the various speeds.
Here are some examples of appropriate calibration certificates.
There are dozens of places in Virginia where you can go to get a speedometer calibrated. Here is a list of some places that are equipped to producing calibration certificates for court cases.
3165 Campbell Drive
Fairfax, VA 22031
Bill’s Auto Service & Discount Tire Center
98 Hardees Dr.
Manassas Park, VA 20111
Ron’s Mobile Services Cars And Trucks, Inc.
1412 S. 28th St., #5
Arlington, VA 22206
Drake Auto Shop23571 Pebble Run Place # 150
Sterling, VA 20166
6328 Baltimore National Pike
Catonsville, MD 21228
Chesapeake Auto Center Incorporated
119 Tilden Ave, Ste. H
Chesapeake, VA 23320
Southern Electronics, Inc.
730-A Research Rd.
Richmond, VA 23236, USA
Local: (804) 423-1100
Toll Free: 1-800-446-2880