In Virginia, courts allow a defendant in a speeding case or reckless driving by speed case to present evidence (known as a speedometer calibration) showing that his speedometer was not working properly. While a speedometer calibration test may be helpful in certain situations, the speedometer calibration report needs to be in proper form to be accepted in court.
Virginia Code § 46.2-942 states that “the court shall receive as evidence a sworn report of the results of a calibration test of the accuracy of the speedometer in the motor vehicle operated by the defendant… at the time of the alleged offense.” Properly authenticated calibration test results are admissible in court and the technician who performed the test does not have to be in court with you.
In Virginia, the courts accept a speedometer calibration report that is signed by the technician and notarized. The judges want to know how “off” your car’s speedometer is so they know how much credit to give you. Basically a helpful speedometer calibration report comes into play where a vehicle’s speedometer displayed a lower speed that the vehicle’s actual speed.
Typically, mechanics will perform a speedometer calibration test with a dynamometer. The dynamometer will determine your vehicle’s actual speed by examining your tire rotation. The mechanic will document your vehicle’s actual speed and your vehicle’s displayed speedometer speed. The test can even be done by GPS if your mechanic does not have fancy equipment. You can try to find a mechanic near you to test your vehicle’s speedometer if you are no longer in Virginia.
As you can see in the sample below, the speedometer calibration report should have two columns: one showing the actual speed of your vehicle and another showing your speedometer’s displayed speed. Mechanics will often test a vehicle at 10 mph increments. This test can be done for digital or analog speedometers.
The sworn report should have two signatures: one from the technician performing the test and one from a notary declaring that the mechanic is a real and authentic person. Notice the “witnessed and sworn” language on the sample template above stating that the mechanic’s signature was witnessed and sworn before the notary. We have seen judges reject speedometer calibrations where this attestation clause was missing.
Because most Virginia uniform summons for court do not list your VIN number, your speedometer calibration report should make clear that the vehicle tested was the same as the one you were stopped in for your traffic stop. The make and year of your vehicle as well as your license plates identifiers are good items to include.
In Virginia Beach, Beach Calibration can do a speedometer calibration test for a reasonable price, around $60 dollars. Our clients have also found shops in their home states but prices can range from $100 to $200 dollars depending on how common the procedure is in your area.
In some jurisdictions, some judges like the calibration report to do done close in time to the date of a defendant’s traffic stop. Some judges are fine with a scanned copy of a speedometer calibration, while other judges want us to present the original speedometer calibration in court. Call us today at 757-384-4357 for a free consultation in your traffic matter.