Law enforcement officers are no longer required to use a radar device to support a speeding violation. The Ohio Supreme Court recently decided that a law enforcement officer can issue a speeding citation based on his opinion that the motorist was traveling above the posted speed limit. The court ruled that an officer’s visual observation of the vehicle is enough and a radar reading is not necessary to support a conviction for speeding.
Despite this change in the law, not many officers will be issuing speeding tickets without a radar reading to support the charge. The standard of proof in a traffic case is proof beyond a reasonable doubt. That is a very high standard that the prosecutor must establish at trial. Prosecutors and law enforcement officers want easy convictions and a speeding citation that is supported by a radar reading in an easy case to prove. On the other hand, a speeding citation that is supported only by the visual observation of the officer is a much more difficult case to prove and the likelihood of a conviction is not automatic. As stated in this Toledo Blade editorial, this decision has implications both for drivers and law enforcement that will be ongoing.