Sunday, March 13, 2011

DUI Appeal of the Day (DAD) - Estimation of Speed for Traffic Stop

In Deramus v. State of Texas --- S.W.3d ----, 2011 WL 582667 (Tex.App.-Waco), the defendant challenged his traffic stop, arguing that the officer's visual estimation of the speed of his vehicle was insufficient as a matter of law. Officer Clark testified that “the vehicle was traveling at a speed greater than the posted speed limit,” and that he was “familiar with what a car traveling in that block looks like at 40 miles an hour, and this vehicle was traveling at lot faster than that.” Officer Clark further testified that he estimated Deramus's speed to be fifty miles an hour.

The appeals court overruled the defendant's objection:

"There is no statutory requirement that an officer always use radar to confirm a vehicle's speed, nor is it always possible for an officer to do so. Further, it is not necessary to show that Deramus actually violated a traffic regulation. “It is sufficient to show that the officer reasonably believed that a violation was in progress.” Powell v. State, 5 S.W.3d 369, 376-77 (Tex.App.-Texarkana 1999, pet. ref'd). We therefore hold that Officer Clark had a reasonable suspicion that Deramus was committing a traffic offense based solely on his visual observation of Deramus's speed and his determination that Deramus's speed was not reasonable and prudent."

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