Beat laser in a Virginia Reckless Driving case — possible?

You can beat laser in a Virginia Reckless case if the charge is by a Metropolitian Airports Authority police officer.  (“Laser” is a speed detective device more accurately called “LIDAR”).

I have recently represented numerous people charged with Reckless Driving by Speed on the Dulles Toll Road.  To win, one must beat laser.  The Dulles Toll Road is owned and operated by a the Washington Metropolitan Airports Authority (“MWAA”).  Pursuant to a compact (an agreement by the legislatures), this is essentially a separate government.  It is 1/3 Virginia, 1/3 Maryland and 1/3 Washington D.C.   The MWAA patrols the Dulles Toll Road and the Dulles Access Road and has been given jurisdiction by the Virginia General Assembly to pull over and charge offenders, including, but not limited to Reckless Driving.  But, the Virginia General Assembly has never given MWAA the authority to use laser (a.k.a. Lidar).  I know this to be the fact because I sit on the House Courts of Justice Committee.  I remember when MWAA came to the legislature asking for permission to use laser/Lidar, and their bill was killed.  I don’t know why they continue to use laser/Lidar to enforce Reckless Driving, but they do.  Here is the existing Code section.  If you read it, you will see that MWAA does not have the authority to use laser/Lidar.

To make it easier for you to see my point, I have shortened up the code section below so you can see.  Notice that only State Police and “localities” (meaning Counties, Cities and Towns) can use laser.  But MWAA is not a State Police entity and it is not a County, City nor Town.  MWAA will disagree with my analysis.  But MWAA does not make the decision.  A judge makes the decision.  And I am confident that my legal analysis is accurate and that one can beat laser.

For more information on Virginia Reckless Driving by Speed, you should click here and go to the bottom and click on the Reckless tab.  

46.2-882. Determining speed with various devices; certificate as to accuracy of device; arrest without warrant.

The speed of any motor vehicle may be determined by the use of (i) a laser speed determination device, (ii) radar, …

State Police officers may use laser speed determination devices, radar, and/or microcomputer devices as described in this section. All localities may use radar and laser speed determination devices to measure speed. The Cities of Alexandria, Fairfax, Falls Church, Manassas, and Manassas Park and the Counties of Arlington, Fairfax, Loudoun, and Prince William and towns within such counties may use microcomputer devices as described in this section.


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