Police Radar Detectors in Virginia

The following is information on radar detectors in Virginia including what a radar detector is and whether it is legal. To learn more call and schedule a consultation with a Virginia speeding ticket lawyer today.

Definition of a Radar Detector

In order to catch speeding drivers in Virginia, Police use a couple of different kinds of “radar.” Some police vehicles are equipped with forward and rear looking radar, which is a traditional radar device that bounces a radio wave off of a target and measures speed by the time it takes the wave to come back to the device. However, in order to avoid being caught by these radars someone created a device, known as a radar detector, that detects when a radar is nearby and allows the driver to therefore slow down or avoid the road where the radar is being used.

With this said, it is illegal to operate a vehicle equipped with a radar detector anywhere in Virginia. This includes any device that either detects or interferes with a radar or laser devices used by police.  The key here is that if the device has no power source and is inaccessible, it is not a violation of Virginia law.

What If You’re Driving From a State Where it is Legal?

Since there is a “safe harbor” that allows these devices to be possessed in Virginia so long as there are not readily accessible and not connected to a power source, the safest bet is to place the device in your trunk, turned off, before you get to Virginia.

Penalties For Having a Radar Detector in VA

If the individual is found to be operating a radar detector in Virginia, the face a fine of roughly $100.  The law is very clear, however, that while an officer can seize a radar detector for use as evidence at trial, the device must nevertheless be returned when the proceedings are concluded.

Mistakes to Avoid

The biggest mistakes to avoid with radar detectors in Virginia is forgetting to disable it and put it away before entering the Commonwealth.  It’s simply illegal to operate them in Virginia.  But the fix is easy: don’t use it and obey the speed limit.

Radar Jammers

A radar jammer is a device that is designed to confuse a radar device which is used by the police. A jammer can do everything from scrambling the radar signal to giving a false speed. These are in fact illegal in Virginia and are treated identically to radar detectors.

How a Lawyer Can Help

Like any case, the Commonwealth has a burden of proof to meet in these kinds of cases.  They have to show that your vehicle was “equipped” with the device, and that it was readily accessible and not disconnected from a power source.  “Readily accessible” is not defined by the statute, nor is “power source.”  While these terms will be given their common sense definitions, there will in many cases be plenty of room to argue that one of those elements has not been proved by the government.