Radar Detector Laws and Info on Virginia


  • Illegal to use and sell in Virginia, Washington D.C and on all United States Military Bases
  • D.C. also prohibits possession of such device
  • Penalties are often less than a speeding citation
  • California and Minnesota have grey laws on windshield mounting legality

A mixture of federal and state laws determine the legality of radar detectors in the United States. Note that the Communications Act of 1934 interdicts all radar jammers in the U.S. and this ordinance will be explained in a later article. For now, radar detectors are legal to own, and use in all U.S. States, except Virginia and Washington D.C. where lower level laws ensures their prohibition (http://leg1.state.va.us/000/cod/46.2-1079.HTM – VA statue 46.2-1079 & ). The VA ban states It shall be unlawful for any person to operate a motor vehicle on the highways of the Commonwealth when such vehicle is equipped with any device or mechanism, passive or active, to detect or purposefully interfere with or diminish the measurement capabilities of any radar, laser, or other device or mechanism employed by law-enforcement personnel to measure the speed of motor vehicles on the highways of the Commonwealth for law-enforcement purposes….This section shall not be construed to authorize the forfeiture to the Commonwealth of any such device or mechanism. Any such device or mechanism may be taken by the arresting officer if needed as evidence, and, when no longer needed, shall be returned to the person charged with a violation of this section, or at that person’s request, and his expense, mailed to an address specified by him.

Virginia’s radar detector users should know that being charged and convicted with the use of a radar detector means “no demerit points shall be awarded by the Commissioner for violations of this section” and the fine is usually less than $105, a pittance compared to the possible year in jail, fines up to $2,500, increased insurance premiums, and having a criminal record for a trivial traffic offense after a conviction of reckless driving. Reckless driving in Virginia occurs when going more than 20 miles per hour over the posted speed limit or when exceeding 80 miles per hour. The aforementioned situations are not the only scenarios that may lead to a reckless driving in the state. To learn about the other scenarios, clickhttp://www.dmv.state.va.us/webdoc/citizen/drivers/points_6.asp – here to learn more about the VA reckless driving law .

The District of Columbia’s (D.C) statue clearly expresses the illegality of speed radar detecting devices. http://www.dcregs.dc.gov/Search/FullTextSearch.aspx?SearchType=DCMR&KeyValue=radar – 736 RADAR DETECTORS AND JAMMERS

736.1 No person shall sell or offer for sale in the District any device designed to detect or counteract police radar.

736.2 No person shall use or have in his possession in an automobile in the District any device used to detect or counteract police radar.

736.3 This section does not apply to any vehicle or equipment used by the Armed Forces of the United States.

SOURCE: Commissioner’s Order 61-2026 effective November 21, 1961, Article 25, § 16 of the Police Regulations (May, 1981).

The use of speed radar detecting devices is also prohibited on all U.S. military bases and in all class three commercial vehicles and up, meaning those that have a gross vehicle weight rating of 10,001 pounds or more (§*392.71) (http://-http://www.dtic.mil/whs/directives/corres/pdf/605504p.pdf – DoDI 6055.04).

Department of Defense Instruction 6055.4 says prohibits“the use of radar or laser detection devices that detect the presence of speed recording instruments or transmit simulated erroneous speeds on installations. Such devices shall not be sold in DoD-controlled sales outlets.

Possession of a radar or laser detecting device is legal on a U.S. Military Base, however, the use or sale of such device is prohibited.

Two U.S. states have statues that may prohibit mounting radar detectors on any window in the car, California and Minnesota. Many Californians claim this statue,http://www.dmv.ca.gov/pubs/vctop/d12/vc26708.htm – vehicle code 26708, is rarely enforced and its message is clouded at best. Minnesota’s https://www.revisor.mn.gov/statutes/?id=169.71 – statue 169.71 is similar to the one found in California, however, not much is know in regard to the intensity of enforcement.

Note: This map does not show the ban in Washington D.C and on all U.S. military bases.




Although much effort has went into ensuring the accuracy of this article, its author and the parties of radardetectorforum.org hold themselves irresponsible from misinformation it may contain. Use all advice at your own risk.