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Pacing a vehicle (CA VC)


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  • Pacing a vehicle (CA VC)

    Well I was behind a motorcycle traveling 55+ in a 35MPH zone today on base. I realized I was going 60MPH in a 35MPH to catch up to him. Once I finally caught up I was going at a steady 55 as I paced him for about 1000 feet before I hit my lights.

    Since I was unsure of the distance needed to pace a vehicle/motorcycle I told the rider to slow down .

    My supervisors gave me conflicting advice on what I should/could have done.
    Last edited by MCSD; 07-24-2008, 10:44 AM.

  • #2
    It may vary from court to court, but in general I have found that the minimum accepted distance in CA is 2/10 of a mile for a paced speed. I also usually round down to the nearest 5 MPH just to give the benefit of the doubt to the other party. As far as I know, there is no law in CA stating that you have to have a recent cert. of calibration, but it would cerainly add credibility to your testimony if you can show the accuracy of your speedo...

    Nothing wrong with a warning if you aren't sure, there will always be another speeder to pace tomorrow....


    • #3
      Originally posted by andy5746 View Post
      Nothing wrong with a warning if you aren't sure, there will always be another speeder to pace tomorrow....
      True. If I would have wrote a Federal Cite and he would have challenged it, I might have had to explain it a bit more then another cite since I'm not sure if I would have had enough PC for the cite so that's why I gave the warning.


      • #4
        I have paced for as much as miles and as little as 100 yards and won in court....just depends on the situation. There is no law regarding a specific pace distance and there is no law regarding having your speedo certified. A good case law to know is Superior Court of San Bernardino People vs Lowe (2002) 105 Cal.App.4th Supp. 1 Cal.Rptr 2d. That case essentially sums up several other cases and supports that a speedometer calibration is not required for a conviction. The lack of a speedometer would only go towards the weight of the officers testimony....for example...if you paced at 68 mph and wrote for driving faster than 65 it is such a close speed that a speedometer calibration may come into play, but 10 or 15 over the limit it would be pretty hard believe a speedometer is that far off.

        If you are radar/lidar certified then you can also testify to visual observation.....that plus a speedo pace (even uncalibrated) is golden.


        • #5
          There is no state law that stipulates a distance one must continuously observe a suspected traffic violator before taking an enforcement action.

          There is case law that infers an officer should make the observations for an ample period of time to conclude that a violation does exist.

          Therefore, I used to begin the pace until I was able to articulate the violator was in violation. I would see the vehicle, estimate the speed, set the pace and initiate the stop. Sometimes within a few hundred yards - depending on the speed.

          If you can offer proof to the court of your ability, based on training, experience and observations, that you are capable of ESTIMATING speed with a certain degree of accuracy, you don't need to pace anyone. You can simply make an observation and estimate the speed to establish the violation.
          Be courteous to all, but intimate with few, and let those few be well tried before you give them your confidence!

          [George Washington (1732 - 1799)]


          • #6
            Thanks Fuzz and SgtCHP. Great information for the future.


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