Does a Police Officer Have to Show You the Radar?

In Illinois, the law does not specifically require that a police officer show the radar to the driver in order to prove the speed alleged, even if the driver requests to see it. Many drivers believe that this requirement exists and that the failure to do so is a reason to have the speeding ticket dismissed. Unfortunately, that is not the case.

Officer’s Choice to Show the Radar Gun

Occasionally, an officer will agree to show the driver the radar device in order to build trust with the driver, but the failure to do so is not a defense against a charge of speeding. Many police officers argue that allowing a driver to walk back to their squad vehicle to view the radar is a safety risk for both officers and drivers.

While the speed does not have to be demonstrated to the driver by the officer at the time of the traffic stop, in court the prosecutor must prove that the driver drove “a vehicle upon any highway of this State at a speed which is greater than the applicable statutory maximum speed limit” as posted. The prosecutor will typically call the police officer as a witness. The officer’s testimony may include, but is not limited to, what he or she observed and that the radar/lidar was calibrated and working properly. The prosecutor may also produce evidence of any statements that the driver made to the officer.

Evidence of Speeding

As much of the evidence presented at trial typically relies on the officer’s “word” on the stand, the credibility of the police officer’s testimony plays a crucial role at trial. As a result, proper cross-examination of the officer is extremely important in challenging and defending a speeding ticket.

If the driver is charged with a petty speeding offense (a speed less than 26 miles over the limit), the prosecutor must prove the charge beyond a preponderance of the evidence. If the speed alleged is 26 miles or more over the limit, then the charge is aggravated speeding (a criminal offense), and the prosecutor must prove the charge beyond a reasonable doubt rather than a preponderance of the evidence.

If you received a speeding ticket in Illinois, contact our traffic ticket defense attorneys to discuss your options. We provide experienced and knowledgeable representation to clients throughout Illinois and the Chicago area including Cook, Lake, and DuPage Counties.