Back and Forth on Visual Estimates of Speed

Can an officer’s visual estimate of a vehicle’s speed, uncorroborated by radar, pacing, or other techniques, support a speeding stop? The Fourth Circuit has been whipsawing back and forth on that question recently. First, in United States v. Sowards, __ F.3d __, 2012 WL 2386605 (4th Cir. June 26, 2012), a case I discussed here, … Read more

Visual Estimates of Speed and “Slight Speeding”

The Fourth Circuit recently decided United States v. Sowards, an interesting case about a traffic stop. The case arose when an experienced traffic enforcement officer stopped the defendant on I-77 near Charlotte. The basis for the stop was the officer’s visual estimate that the defendant was driving 75 m.p.h. in a 70 m.p.h. zone. During … Read more