Speed Enforcement by Aircraft in Florida
Nothing causes more calls to our office than motorists who have received a speeding ticket from a Florida Highway Patrol plane. The most common issue that people want to discuss is that by the time they saw the trooper on the side of the road there was no way they were speeding. That in fact may be true, unfortunately the pilot in the air probably clocked you a mile or so back and radioed to the trooper on the ground to pull you over. Let me explain how the aircraft enforcement works in Florida to dispel any mystery.
Every troop has a pilot who has received special training in clocking cars from the air. Typically, the pilot will be flying a cessna or similiar plane which affords the trooper pilot maximum air to ground visibility. On the roadway throughout Florida you will notice white lines. Those white lines, of which there may be several series, are spaced 1/4 mile apart from each other. When your vehicle crosses the first line the stopwatch is started and when your vehicle crosses the second line the stopwatch is stopped. A formula is built into the stopwatch that the pilot has that formulates your speed based upon the time it takes your vehicle to cross between the white lines. The pilot in the air will then call down to the troopers on the ground who will pull you over.
Prospective clients are shocked when they are stopped because they can’t believe that Florida uses a plane for speed enforcement. I assure you that Florida is one of only a handful of states that still use this method and they are VERY proactive in its use. If you intend to fight the speeding citation in court, both the trooper in the air and the stopping trooper must be in court on that day. The reasoning behind that, is that the pilot testifies to the speed measurement device and the stopping trooper testifies as to the identification of the driver. There are several defenses our office uses to attack aircraft speeding tickets and we use them daily in court. Our office represents motorists across the state of Florida on airplane speeding tickets. Call us at 941-444-4444 so we can talk about your ticket and discuss any possible legal defenses. We are here 7 days a week for a free consultation.
When you receive a ticket in Florida, the officer is required to list the type of speed measurement device he/she used in clocking your vehicle. Florida traffic court rule 6.445 states that if a mechanical or speed measuring device is used the TYPE of device and the manufacturer’s serial number MUST be included in the body of the citation. The Florida traffic court rules committee, of which David Haenel was the former chairperson, wrote the rule with fairness in mind. We didn’t want the motoring public to not know how they were clocked, for putting that information on the body of the citation is not unduly burdensome for law enforcement. Typical speed measurement devices include radar, laser, stopwatch and pacing.
A speeding ticket by pace in Florida, means that the officer follows you for a distance and while looking at their speedometer determines the speed of your vehicle. There is no predetermined exact distance under Florida law that the officer must travel in order for them to pull you over and issue you a ticket. All of the tickets are fact specific and any possible legal defenses can and will be explored in court prior to the officer testifying.
Florida is very cautious not the allow for the admission of an actual speed into evidence unless and until the officer can establish the scientific predicate for its admissibility. That means that officer has to bring in proof that his speedometer was calibrated properly within 6 months of receiving the violation. That documentation is required to be provided to the motorist at least on the day of the hearing upon request. Without that documentation the officer would be unable to admit the speed into evidence.
Our office has represented hundreds of Florida motorists who have been issued a citation by an officer pacing them. We welcome the opportunity to discuss the particular facts of your case. You can reach us at 941-444-4444. Our office is open 7 days a week for your convenience.