Does The Officer Need To Show You The Radar/Lidar Device When Pulled Over?

Sep 4, 18 by Ticket Snipers

Does The Officer Need To Show You The Radar/Lidar Device When Pulled Over?

There is a common misconception out there that police officers must show you the LIDAR or RADAR device when they pull you over. Generally, speeding motorists are not entitled legally to check the radar when pulled over. In case you ask the officer to show you the radar device, he/she will usually show you as a form of courtesy, or sometimes to deter any future speeding but it is not required of the officer to do so.

No state law requires a police officer to show you his/her radar device.

A police officer does not have to show you the laser or radar gun since it is located in the police car’s front seat. A majority of police officers do not want civilians to access their front seat since they may take or touch something that they shouldn’t.

In some of the states, the police officers cannot even lock your vehicle’s speed in. In traffic court, it usually comes down to your word against the police officer’s word. A majority of traffic stops in California are based on laser or LIDAR, although a majority of police cruisers have RADAR units. Some of the RADAR devices are “moving,” and this means that the device cannot get the speed readings of other vehicles when the cruiser is on the move.

Stationary RADAR

RADAR units have a wider beam that is used in gathering information. The device shows the speed of the strongest signal, and this might not necessarily be the fastest object. Among other different operating procedures, the police officer is usually supposed to use the “ Doppler Tone” in determining the signal’s strength. The louder and the higher the Doppler Tone’s pitch, the stronger the signal.

Moving RADAR

Moving RADAR makes use of the same technology as the Stationary RADAR. However, the device has two RADAR antennas, which operate at different frequencies. Since the device has two different antennas, several checks must be carried out to ensure that the device is functioning properly. When the device is used in moving mode, the police officer needs to ensure that the speed at which the RADAR device detects the police vehicle is moving matches the speed on a calibrated and certified cruiser speedometer.

There are a number of effective methods that you can use to fight a speeding ticket, and with an attorney who knows how to exploit every weakness in the speeding case, the case may be even dismissed.


LIDAR devices are typically vehicle-specific. This is because the laser beam is extremely narrow. The device has a red dot in sight, and the police officer places the red dot on the target’s car front part ( typically by aiming for the grill or the license plate) and then pulls its trigger. The LIDAR device will then send out three light pulses which bounce off the front of the target vehicle and are then reflected to the device. The LIDAR device uses the distance that the three light beams traveled together with the time difference between the light pulses to calculate the speed of the target vehicle. The speed that is displayed on the device is supposed to be correct to within 1 MPH, and this also gives the police officer the distance between your vehicle and his/her car to 1/10th of a foot.

What Should I Do In Case I Have Been Pulled Over By An Officer With A Radar Unit?

As an accused speeder, you have certain rights when caught with a radar device. You can contest the officer’s radar training, and even subpoena the calibration records for the laser or radar gun which was used in determining your speed. The radar device has to be adjusted at specific intervals, and if it has been used more than a particular number of days since it was adjusted, you may win your case. To put it simply, in case the device was supposed to be adjusted after every 10 days, and the police officer gave you a ticket 11 days after the Radar unit was last adjusted, you can challenge the speeding ticket successfully. If you want to know your state’s calibration laws, you can visit the state’s site or even call the police department.

Some police officer usually inaccurately believe that they can adjust the radar device without the use of a tuning fork. Therefore, you can ask in court whether a fork was used during calibration. In case, it wasn’t; this will give you another opportunity to argue your case that the speeding ticket was purely based on false evidence and it should be terminated.

A majority of states require that the police officers using LIDAR or RADAR technology go through certified and approved training programs before they use the devices. Therefore, you can check to see if the police officer who issued you with the speeding ticket received the required training. If not, you can point out that the elevated speed reading occurred due to operator error, and not because you were speeding as alleged.


The arguments stated above may not automatically result in the dismissal of your speeding ticket. If for a fact you know you weren’t speeding, you don’t have to pay for a speeding ticket just because an officer’s radar device showed that you were overspeeding. Radar devices/units are not foolproof or 100% accurate since they can provide inaccurate information when maintained or operated poorly.