Expensive speeding tickets and traffic violations have been easier to avoid in the past years, especially with some of the newer radar detectors. It’s easier to buy them in big box stores or order them online, they come at all forms and prices, some are even really affordable, too.
It’s not that hard to find information, purchase and install a radar detector to your private car. However, it isn’t that easy to determine whether owning or using radar detectors are against the law or not.
It depends on your location as if you are a cross-country driver you should mount the police detecting device on the windshield mount or the dash. Let’s see if it’s illegal to have a radar detector in different circumstances.
While radar detectors are usually legal in the US and as a driver you are allowed to have a radar detector in your car, except for commercial drivers and military bases, radar jammers are illegal because of the federal law.
Using radar jammer is way riskier as it could lead to charges, hefty fines and even jail time in any state where you’re using this device.
Radar Detector Laws in the World
It might seem like quite be a simple question answerable by yes or no. But it isn’t that plain. Like any other law, the question of radar detector legality varies in different parts of the world. So, for those traveling from country to country, or even just state to state, you might want to ask the question more often.
Or else, your effort to avoid speeding tickets might get you into worse traffic violations that can lead to fines, radar detector destruction, license withdrawal, and jail time.
Here are some of the vital information you’ll need to familiarize yourself with the laws involving radar detectors.
Radar Detector Laws in Europe
In Europe, the laws on radar detector possession and use are different for each country. While some allow possession of the gadget but not the use, other countries are strict and don’t allow anyone to own a radar detector.
Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Greece, and Spain are just some of the countries that do not allow drivers to own and use radar detectors, and there are a lot more. Here’s a quick map that will help you quickly go over the different laws per country in Europe:
Radar Detector Laws in Canada
In Canada, having and using radar detectors vary per state, with British Columbia, Alberta, and Saskatchewan allowing them. However, for the majority of the states, radar detectors and other devices that can warn about traffic enforcers’ speed guns are banned.
In these states, it is illegal to have a radar detector: Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Yukon Territory, and Northwest Territory.
For the three states that allow the use of radar detectors, mounting devices in your windshield would be no problem at all. However, if you are in any other place, you might want to conceal your device. But take note that if you are caught, your device will be confiscated and you will be fined.
Radar Detector Laws in the United States
In general, using radar detectors is allowed, because they are designed to warn a driver so he/she can slow down. The main goal of the speeding ticket is to make drivers drive slower. Radar detectors do the same thing.
For the United States of America, it is easier to determine if having and using a radar detector is legal. So if you live in the U.S., you might want to know if it is illegal to have a radar detector in your state.
While laws may vary from state to state, for current radar detectors laws, only Washington DC and Virginia ban the use of radar detectors. For all other states, ownership and use of radar detectors are allowed in private vehicles.
So if you don’t live in the two exception counties, you would have the freedom to be assisted by radar detectors during your drives without being worried about officers and cops to confiscate your device or giving you a penalty/fine/speeding ticket for possession.
Jammers have different laws and sometimes may be legal to own but illegal to use. Continue reading to check out the quick list of those districts/states/areas in the US where radar detectors are legal or illegal for different drivers and vehicles:
Radar Detector Laws in Alabama (AL)
Alabama is one of the states that doesn’t ban radar detectors so they are 100% legal in Alabama. The state of Alabama deems the use of radar detectors and keep it legitimate to possess and operate them in passenger vehicles.
However, radar detectors are illegal/not allowed for commercial vehicles under the federal law. The next state we asked the question about is NY – are radar detectors and laser detectors legal to use in NY? here’s the answer to the question.
Radar Detector Laws in New York State (NYS)
Answer: Radar Detectors are legal in NYS and permitted to use. A radar detector or a laser detector is illegal and not allowed in any motor vehicle with a weight of more than 18,000 lbs and in commercial vehicles. Laser Jammers are banned by federal law and unauthorized.
Our next state is NJ – are radar detectors legal or illegal in New Jersey? It is known that a radar detector is a device that can be installed in a vehicle to notify the driver of any speed trap so he could avoid getting a ticket.
Radar Detector Laws in New Jersey (NJ)
Radar detectors are illegal in some states but they are allowed in the state of New Jersey. However, radar and laser jammers are prohibited in all of the states as they are unauthorized under federal rule. The same law that’s outlawing jammers, making detectors not legal in commercial vehicles.
Radar Detector Laws in Ohio (OH)
Ohio gives legal permission to own and use a radar detector for private cars. However, like for the rest of the US, both radar detectors and laser jammers are illegal for commercial vehicles.
Radar Detector Laws in Georgia (GA)
Georgia is one of the states that doesn’t ban radar detectors. The state of Georgia deems the use of radar detectors for passenger vehicles, making it 100% legal to own and use a radar detector. However, laser jammers are illegal and unauthorized in Georgia. But what about the state of Arizona, are radar detectors outlawed or allowed in Arizona?
Radar Detector Laws in Arizona (AZ)
Arizona is one of the states that doesn’t ban radar detectors and outlaw them. The state of Arizona allows the use of radar detectors and they are legal for passenger vehicles. However, radar detectors and laser jammers are illegal for commercial vehicles, therefore unauthorized in big trucks. Our next state on the list is Colorado – are radar detectors legal in Colorado or using them in a violation of the law like with radar and laser jammers so law enforcement officers may pull over vehicles just for using them?
Radar Detector Laws in Colorado (CO)
Radar detectors are not illegal in Colorado so they are perfectly legal and allowed to use. Laser jammers are outlawed in Colorado and unauthorized due to federal and state law. Ten states are specifically banning illegitimate laser jammers: California, Colorado, Illinois, Minnesota, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Oklahoma, and Tennessee. Time for our next state. Drivers should stop worrying about using them in Michigan instead of getting speeding tickets by law enforcement traps? Are radar detectors legal in Michigan?
Radar Detector Laws in Michigan (MI)
Private vehicles are allowed to use radar detectors as they are legal in Michigan. However, just like any other state which prohibit and ban them, radar detectors are illegal in Michigan for commercial vehicles. Laser and Radar jammers are banned by federal law and therefore not permitted in Michigan. The next state is Texas, are radar detectors legal or illegal in texas?
Radar Detector Laws in Texas (TX)
In Texas, radar detectors are legal in normal vehicles and they aren’t allowed in commercial vehicles. Radar jammers (not detectors) are illegal in Texas because the federal law that prohibits them and keeps them banned in Texas. Detectors are unauthorized/unlawful in Texas for commercial vehicles.
Our next state is California, are radar detectors legal in California or drivers should keep being worried about speed tickets and policemen that might stop them?
Radar Detector Laws in California (CA)
While it is 100% legal to use and own a radar detector in California and Minnesota, mounting one on your vehicle’s windshield is illegal and not allowed and may end up with a ticket. The answer is, radar detectors are not unlawful, but unauthorized in California on the windshield. After California, are police avoidance equipment like radar detectors and LIDAR are allowed or forbidden in Florida?
Radar Detector Laws in Florida (FL)
Like most of the states, Florida laws allow the use of radar detectors (avoiding speed traps, not speeding) so they are legal for private cars vehicle drivers; However, radar detectors are illegal and unauthorized in commercial vehicles that weigh more than 10,000 pounds and therefore banned and unlawful. You can’t have any kind of radar or laser jammers, as they are banned by the federal law in Florida. Our next state that can stop you is the one with the PennDOT system, are radar detectors allowed in Pennsylvania or state trooper can pull you over?
Radar Detector Laws in Pennsylvania (PA)
Radar detectors are legal in Pennsylvania and allowed for passenger vehicles, William said. However, radar detectors are illegal in commercial vehicles so they are banned from your car. Radar and laser jammers are not legal in Pennsylvania as they are unauthorized there. Washington D.C. has slightly different laws, but are radar detectors illegal in the state of Washington?
Radar Detector Laws in Washington (WA)
Within the state troopers of Washington, like in Virginia, using radar detectors in passenger vehicles is legal and allowed. On the contrary, radar detectors are illegal and unauthorized in Washington for commercial vehicles. Radar/Laser Jammers (not detectors) are banned in Washington according to the federal law. according to William Johnson. Next on our list is the state of Illinois, are radar detectors legal or illegal in Illinois?
Radar Detector Laws in Illinois (IL)
Under federal law, commercial vehicle drivers are not allowed to use radar detectors, radar jammers and laser jammers in Illinois, Missouri and any other state in the US as they are illegal. However, private vehicles are not unauthorized from using radar detectors legally in Illinois. The last state on our list in Maryland, do you think that police traps radar detectors are legal and not banned in the state of Maryland?
Radar Detector Laws in Maryland (MD)
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, radar detectors are allowed and legal in Maryland. Laser Jammers are banned and outlawed in the state of Maryland. Under federal law, the use of radar or laser speed detectors is illegal and unauthorized in all commercial vehicles over 10,000 pounds.
For the laws of rest of the states, check out Drivinglaws.
Additional Conditions on Legality of Radar Detectors in the US in 2020
It’s important to note that while the general use of laws for private vehicles in different U.S. states is easy to remember, there are other factors concerning the legality of radar detectors. Some of these factors that would affect whether or not a radar detector is legal to include military bases, commercial vehicles, and windshield mounting. Read on to know more details about these factors.
Is it illegal to have a radar detector if you work in a military base?
As you already know, using a radar detector is generally allowed. However, using it in a military base is strictly forbidden! This applies to all visible radar detectors (there are hidden radar detectors). If you work in a military base, or you are planning to enter into it, you must remove your radar detector.
A good thing is that an officer will ask for you to remove it, so you won’t be fined. Due to the fact all military bases have checkpoints, you cannot enter into a base with a radar detector. Remember that hiding a radar detector and entering the base is breaking the law.
Is it illegal to have a radar detector in a commercial vehicle?
Is it illegal to have a radar detector in a truck or a bus? It is strictly forbidden using a radar detector in all commercial vehicles that weigh 10.000 pounds or more. These drivers are treated as professional drivers, so different laws apply to them.
In this case, there are no exceptions. The laws about radar detectors in private passenger cars and small trucks are different, but even for private vehicles, there are some actions you are not allowed to do.
Is it illegal to have a radar detector in your car?
Unless you are the driver of a big truck or commercial vehicle (under the federal law), it is completely allowed to have a radar detector in your car. Radar jammers, unlike laser speed detectors, are illegal and therefore banned in your car, doesn’t matter where it’s mounted.
Is it illegal to have a radar detector mounted on your car windshield?
In most states installing a radar detector on a windshield is treated as breaking a law, due to the fact it affects the driver’s line of sight. Some states that are strict about mounting devices in the windshield include California and Minnesota. So, if you are planning to travel across different states, keeping your radar detector off the windshield is something you must do.
It is recommended to install it on your dash or the sun visor. Cops always see a radar detector on a windshield, so a ticket and violation might easily come your way. Good thing, there are radar detectors that are designed to be concealed, so a cop won’t even notice them.
Radar Jammer Laws
While a radar jammer is different from a radar detector, it is quite helpful to know the laws about it too. This is especially because the two devices are often used together to have security from speeding tickets. A radar jammer is a device designed to interfere with the police radars and prevent them from detecting your current speed.
So, is it illegal to have a radar detector and a radar jammer at the same time?
In general, only using the radar detector is usually allowed. On the other hand, using a radar jammer is strictly forbidden. Most drivers use both devices, due to the fact they are more effective when used together.
You should know that radar jammer has a certain effect on law enforcement equipment and on air traffic control (on radars air companies use). This means that they work in a completely different way than radar detectors.
Jammers are usually installed as hidden devices, so cops cannot see them. However, they will notice that they cannot determine your current speed! As a result, you will be checked for these devices. And if caught using radar jammers, you’ll likely end up with an expensive fine and also confiscation.
Radar jammers are forbidden in all states and unlawful under the federal law. Using radar jammers will result in an expensive fine and also confiscation. However, laser jammers are not prohibited.
For specific radar detector laws, 41 states allow their use, while ten states have state laws banning laser jammers: Texas, Utah, Virginia, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Minnesota, California, Illinois, Colorado, and Tennessee. Radar detectors are legal in those states excluding Virginia. Radar detectors are also prohibited for big trucks in some states like Illinois and New York.
Radar detectors are awesome driving gadgets to have, especially when you’re keen to avoid speeding violations. There are lots of options in the market today, including these under $300 radar detector options.
But it’s important that before you even choose and buy the perfect radar detector for your needs, you ask is it illegal to have a radar detector in your country or your state. The same goes for radar and laser jammers, too. On the other hand, things like police scanners are legal.
Specific rules including mounting of the device are important to research as well, especially when it might cost you bigger fines or even suspension of license. So make sure that a part of your radar detector hunt involves the legality surrounding it for you to fully enjoy its perks and benefits. Another option instead of radar detectors is using license plate blocking tools.
If you already got a ticket, you might think about taking a traffic school, check our article about the best traffic school online today.