In this case, the officer observed a car that appeared to be traveling above the posted speed limit of 65 mph. He took two measurements of the car’s speed with a laser speed detector. Based on those, he stopped the car, which was driven by the defendant, and cited him with speeding in violation of R.C. 4511.21(D)(2).
The case went to trial. The prosecutor’s only witness was the officer, who testified that he measured the defendant’s speed with an Ultralyte laser gun. The first reading returned a measured speed of 80 mph, while the second reading returned a measured speed of 79 mph. Based on these readings, he stopped the vehicle and issued the defendant a citation for speeding. He further testified that he tested the Ultralyte laser before he began his shift and that it was operating properly.
The defendant in turn argued that the prosecutor had to actually put on expert testimony about the accuracy of the laser or radar gun—the court could not take “judicial notice” of the laser gun’s reliability without some evidence.
In the municipal court, the defendant was found guilty, ordered to pay a fine of $35.00 and court costs, and assessed two points to his Ohio driving record. He appealed the verdict. The court of appeals reversed the conviction, finding that the prosecutor failed to prove his case.
Generally, to convict someone of speeding based on a laser device, “there must be evidence introduced at trial that the device is scientifically reliable.” State v. Starks, 196 Ohio App.3d 589, 2011-Ohio-2344, ¶ 21 (12th Dist.). Here, the State did not present any expert testimony concerning the scientific reliability of the Ultralyte laser.
Because the State presented insufficient evidence to convict the defendant of speeding, the defendant’s speeding conviction was reversed.
If you have been charged with speeding, call now for a free consultation with a Columbus, Ohio speeding ticket attorney.