A speedometer calibration is a test that is run on the speedometer of the vehicle that is being used to gauge your speed. A speedometer is something that is in every car and it needs to be accurate for police to use it for measuring speed correctly.
The police they have their speedometer calibrated every 6 months. That means that a mechanic or other expect in speedometers, comes in and runs the wheels and make sure that the wheels are aligned to the reading on the speedometer. For example, if the wheels are going 65 mph, the speedometer must read 65 mph.
If that number is off once they’ve run that test, they will calibrate it so that the speed read on the speedometer is the same as that of the car. Once they’ve calibrated it to make sure that those two numbers are in line, they will certify that it’s been calibrated. They will issue a certificate of calibration and that certificate is admissible at trial to help the state prove someone’s speed at trial.
It’s not that expensive. There are many mechanics that will do it for you. They’ll take your car and spin your tires at certain speeds. Then they’ll check whether the speed of your rotating tires is equivalent to what’s showing on your speedometer.
If your speedometer was off (for example the wheels are spinning at 65 miles per hour but the speedometer reads “63”) the mechanic will provide you a certificate showing that your speedometer was off.
That certificate can serve as a basis for mitigation of your offense before trial or as a partial defense if you go to trial. Those readings are admissible in trial and they can be used to reduce speeding charges by several miles per hour.
It can help because it is admissible in trial to show that the speed your car was traveling was different than what was shown on the speedometer, and that’s because the speedometer hadn’t been calibrated correctly.
For example, you might have thought you were traveling at 62 mph while your car was actually traveling at 65 mph. Well, this would knock 3 mph off the speed limit that you thought you were going.
That’s admissible. It’s relevant. It shows that you were not intentionally committing the offense at 65 mph, but perhaps for 62. That reading can reduce the amount of charges. It can be used as leverage to get you looked upon more favorably in the eyes of prosecutors. Getting your speedometer calibrated can only help you. If it is higher, meaning you thought you were going faster than you actually were, your attorney won’t use that reading.
That doesn’t have to be disclosed and it will not hurt you. So, it can only benefit you. A speedometer calibration can be used as leverage in pre-trial negotiation or as evidence in trial. It is admissible in court and it can help you out in some way.
Although it is not your fault if your speedometer is off, the fault does not apply to the law in this scenario. If it is off, it will be evidence that perhaps you thought you were traveling at a lesser speed than you were actually traveling. No fault will be brought to you for having a speedometer that is not appropriately calibrated before you were pulled over. There is no duty to keep a properly calibrated speedometer. You wouldn’t even really know that’s not properly calibrated until you take it to a mechanic. So, there’s no fault associated with that and there’s no fear of a court holding that against you if you come to court.
It is a mitigating factor. Having a speedometer that reads a speed other than what the car is actually traveling can be a mitigating factor for a judge or in pre-trial negotiations with the prosecutor. It can be the difference between certain levels of speeding or the difference between the reckless driving misdemeanor and a traffic infraction.
You should know that speedometer calibration can only be used to your benefit. You should go get your speedometer calibrated. If it would actually work against you, your attorney does not have to use it in court. So, it can only help you. And if it helps you and there is no risk of getting your speedometer calibrated, then, of course, you should do it. Anything that can possibly help you, even if it cuts only 1 mph off of your speed limit is in your interest and can give you a better disposition in court.