Wanting to know when you’re being radar’d? Or maybe Lidar’d? There’s a multitude of reasons as to why anyone would want a radar detector for your vehicle (for personal use), but the question remains when the law is in play: can you get in trouble for having a radar detector?
Where it’s not allowed:
Most states are lenient with their rulings on radar detectors, unless you are in Mississippi, Virginia, or Washington D.C, then it is perfectly legal for you to own and operate a radar detector. Though do be warned, it may feel illegal with how certain counties operate, and it’s always best to check your local laws and listings in order to draw the conclusion for yourself.
Find Out: Are radar detectors legal?
Another thing to keep in mind is that while radar detectors are legal, it is illegal to have a radar detector on a MILITARY BASE or to have one in a commercial vehicle that weighs over 10,000 pounds. Don’t be worried about the second bit though, as most vehicles weighs in around half that: around 4,094 pounds.
Now the gray area on radar detectors pertains to their use commercially and in what way an individual intends to use them. Don’t let it dissuade you from buying one, but know that if you are close by to a military base, there is always a zero-tolerance policy in play regarding civilian disorderly conduct or disruption.
Don’t get things twisted either, this is for radar detectors: a device that allows you to know when your car is being pinged by police radar. If you were to say, buy a radar jammer, then that would cross over into illegal waters.
** Learn: Are radar detectors worth it?
Anything that is used to disrupt a government employee from conducting their job/task is grounds for infringement, and regardless of it being a free country to buy what you want, using things for their unintended and dubious purposes is a surefire way to get a misdemeanor on your record.
Also know that while advising people who are more on the fringe of society (low-populated areas, rural paradises) to invest in a radar detector is feasible, know that there are cheaper alternatives than to just buying a radar.
Everyone has heard of google maps, apple maps, or whichever your preferred GPS tracking service is; there are more on the horizon. Waze, a slightly open sourced GPS app, doesn’t have a radar built in per say, but gives users the abilities to mark police on the maps so that other users may be wary of their location.
Again, Waze is not foolproof, as it is not curated through moderation, moreso by the userbase and since cops can use the app, they are able to mark police cars as gone when they may still very well be there.
As long as you do not reside in the states of Virginia, Mississippi or the DC (District of Columbia) know that veteran cops still have a nose for radar detectors, and while a civilian may know their rights as well as laws for the state, cops are trained to be able to pull over anyone for just about anything. So if you have a radar detector, find a place to keep it hidden, or alternatively, invest in a dashcam.
The biggest thing to keep in my mind is why are you trying to buy a radar detector? Is it due to you wanting to speed through any area that doesn’t have a police radar, be wary, as it may not be worth it in the slightest.
If it is found that you have a radar detector post speeding / accident involving an officer, it can add more legal ramifications on top of you already getting into an accident.
So it’s best to know why you are getting a radar detector, if it’s just to avoid being caught for speeding it could cause more harm than help you due to you; subconsciously you may find yourself speeding when no police vehicles are nearby, making the roads a scarier place for all involved.