Driver finds new way to fight speeding tickets
Defense attorney: ‘This is an absolute sword' for defendants
ORLANDO, Fla. – Thousands upon thousands of people are ticketed for speeding in Florida every year. In traffic court, there has been little drivers can bring in to defend themselves in the way of evidence.
[WEB EXTRA: How to get Drivewise device, video]
Now, that all may be changing because of a Pompano Beach case.
Mike Skversky said a Broward sheriff's deputy pulled him over in early October and accused him of speeding.
"He said I was going 58," Skversky said.
He was cited for traveling 58 mph in a 50 mph zone. Skversky said he is positive he wasn't going that fast.
"I was not going 58, I knew that," he said. "I knew I had back-up. ... I have a device in my motor vehicle."
The device is an insurance monitor from Allstate called "Drivewise." It's designed to record a driver's speed to lower insurance rates. But Skversky downloaded that data to verify his speed of 47.8 mph at precisely the same time his speeding ticket was written.
"There's a problem here, a very serious problem," Skversky said, adding that he felt wrongly ticketed. "100 percent wrong."
"I think the implications of this are huge," said Orlando defense attorney Lyle Mazin, who believes the devices may give drivers the evidence they need to contradict cops' radar guns.
"This might be the technology that gives the defendant the opportunity to be the same level playing field as law enforcement," Mazin said.
But in court, it may not be that simple. Florida Judges may not automatically trust the devices.
"There is one fly in the ointment," said Broward Chief Judge Peter Weinstein.
Weinstein believes other judges will most likely want the device makers themselves to appear in court to prove that these things aren't just driving in bad data.
"I don't know how accurate that equipment is," Weinstein said. "Someone would have to testify to that."
Mazin agrees that defense attorneys would have to lay a foundation to show the devices are reliable.
"I think this is a really interesting device that can really help people out in a traffic hearing," Mazin said. "The true question is going to become is it financially viable for a traffic ticket defendant to get evidence and witnesses he needs to get it admissible into court."
Mazin believes it could be worth the cost in major felony cases, where a cop finds drugs only because he stopped a car for speeding -- and the defendant can prove he wasn't.
"If the whole stop is determined to be unlawful, no evidence comes in," Mazin said. "There's no trial. This is an absolute sword for defense attorneys."
Allstate itself would not comment directly, except to say that its devices are accurate enough to set its rates.
Skversky said he believes they are at least as accurate as the sheriff's own radars.
"This is pretty much bulletproof evidence," he said. "How can you disagree with the computer?"
Public records reveal that the deputy's radar detector was properly calibrated at the time. Local 6 is waiting to find out how Skversky's South Florida case wraps up and is monitoring Central Florida courts to see how local judges react if a defendant tries to use the device here.
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