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Thread: Virginia and radar detectors

  1. #1
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Virginia and radar detectors

    Here's the law:

    46.2-1079. Radar detectors

    "A. 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. It shall be unlawful to use any such device or mechanism on any such motor vehicle on the highways. It shall be unlawful to sell any such device or mechanism in the Commonwealth. However, provisions of this section shall not apply to any receiver of radio waves utilized for lawful purposes to receive any signal from a frequency lawfully licensed by any state or federal agency.

    "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. Any unclaimed devices may be destroyed on court order after six months have elapsed from the final date for filing an appeal.

    "Except as provided in subsection B of this section, the presence of any such prohibited device or mechanism in or on a motor vehicle on the highways of the Commonwealth shall constitute prima facie evidence of the violation of this section. The Commonwealth need not prove that the device or mechanism in question was in an operative condition or being operated."


    Now, as I understand it, the Supreme Court has ruled that Va's law is not constitutional; yet VA continues to enforce its ban on radar detectors per the above. Apparently, you may still be fined, your detector confiscated and yourself subject to aggravating/time-consuming BS.

    What I'd like to know is whether anyone out there has had any recent experience with VA and radar detectors, knows what the "real world" level of enforcement is - and whether in their opinion it's a smart move to get a detector and use it in VA....

  2. #2
    gail
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    Re: Virginia and radar detectors

    Radar detectors are illegal in both Virginia and Washington, D.C. I had one the entire time I lived there without incidence. As I said in another post -- I am invincible. I had decided that if I ever got a ticket because of my detector that I would fight it on 1st Ammendment Rights, as it is air waves.

    Others thoughts on how successful I might have been?

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric
    Here's the law:

    46.2-1079. Radar detectors

    "A. 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. It shall be unlawful to use any such device or mechanism on any such motor vehicle on the highways. It shall be unlawful to sell any such device or mechanism in the Commonwealth. However, provisions of this section shall not apply to any receiver of radio waves utilized for lawful purposes to receive any signal from a frequency lawfully licensed by any state or federal agency.

    "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. Any unclaimed devices may be destroyed on court order after six months have elapsed from the final date for filing an appeal.

    "Except as provided in subsection B of this section, the presence of any such prohibited device or mechanism in or on a motor vehicle on the highways of the Commonwealth shall constitute prima facie evidence of the violation of this section. The Commonwealth need not prove that the device or mechanism in question was in an operative condition or being operated."


    Now, as I understand it, the Supreme Court has ruled that Va's law is not constitutional; yet VA continues to enforce its ban on radar detectors per the above. Apparently, you may still be fined, your detector confiscated and yourself subject to aggravating/time-consuming BS.

    What I'd like to know is whether anyone out there has had any recent experience with VA and radar detectors, knows what the "real world" level of enforcement is - and whether in their opinion it's a smart move to get a detector and use it in VA....

  3. #3
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Re: Virginia and radar detectors

    "Radar detectors are illegal in both Virginia and Washington, D.C. I had one the entire time I lived there without incidence. As I said in another post -- I am invincible. I had decided that if I ever got a ticket because of my detector that I would fight it on 1st Ammendment Rights, as it is air waves."

    Apparently, Virginia's law is itself illegal; a violation of federal law. However, my concern is that some asshole cop is going to detect my $400 detector (even if I am not caught speeding) and confiscate it. Yes, I know, the law says he can't - and that he-the court must eventually give it back. But the way I read the law (and based on the experiences I have heard about) they can and do still make it a real hassle - and just as expensive as getting the damn tickets.

  4. #4
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    Re: Virginia and radar detectors

    They usually don't consficate them -- they put them on the ground in front of your back tire and tell you to drive safely.

    Chip H.

    Former owner: 2012 Honda Civic LX, 2006 Honda Ridgeline RTL, 2000 Honda CR-V EX, 2003 MINI Cooper S, 1992 Honda Accord LX, 1999 Mercedes ML-320, 1995 VW Jetta GLX, 1991 Mercury Capri XR2, 1981 Mercury Zephyr, 1975 Chevrolet Impala

  5. #5
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Re: Virginia and radar detectors

    Quote Originally Posted by chiph
    They usually don't consficate them -- they put them on the ground in front of your back tire and tell you to drive safely.

    Chip H.
    I have heard this - but can they make you do that? What if you (politely) refuse?

  6. #6
    mrblanche
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    Re: Virginia and radar detectors

    Quote Originally Posted by gail
    Radar detectors are illegal in both Virginia and Washington, D.C. I had one the entire time I lived there without incidence. As I said in another post -- I am invincible. I had decided that if I ever got a ticket because of my detector that I would fight it on 1st Ammendment Rights, as it is air waves.

    Others thoughts on how successful I might have been?
    They have been successfully challenged on being a violation of the Communications Act of 1934.

  7. #7
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    Re: Virginia and radar detectors

    I understand that there is a detector "dectector" that can be used to sniff out radar detectors. IIRC, it's called a VR-1 and it is looking for the electronic signature of the local oscillator used in the receiver. Cheaper detectors splatter that signature all over -- my Valentine V1 picks them up all the time as I pass other cars with radar detectors.

    It's pointless to argue the law with a law enforcement officer at the side of the road. They're going to do what they do and if you protest you may end up face down on the pavement with a foot on your neck. About all you could do would be to politely refuse a search of your car until they produce a warrant, in which event you'll set there until they get one, and then you'd better have your car in tip-top shape or you'll be looking at a citation for everything they can imagine.

  8. #8
    gail
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    Re: Virginia and radar detectors

    Quote Originally Posted by Rick
    I understand that there is a detector "dectector" that can be used to sniff out radar detectors. IIRC, it's called a VR-1 and it is looking for the electronic signature of the local oscillator used in the receiver. Cheaper detectors splatter that signature all over -- my Valentine V1 picks them up all the time as I pass other cars with radar detectors.

    It's pointless to argue the law with a law enforcement officer at the side of the road. They're going to do what they do and if you protest you may end up face down on the pavement with a foot on your neck. About all you could do would be to politely refuse a search of your car until they produce a warrant, in which event you'll set there until they get one, and then you'd better have your car in tip-top shape or you'll be looking at a citation for everything they can imagine.
    One time when I was driving in the outer region of the Northern Neck doing genealogy research, I stopped and talked with a man on the side of the road. He spotted my detector, and told me a few horror stories and a few funny one about cops and detectors. But the bottom line was to turn it off and removed it BEFORE the cop got to your car. If he asked you - you can lie, you aren't under oath, it is neither illegal or wrong. What is wrong is a LAW preventing you to carry a device to receive radio waves. This still is a free country, you know.

    As to lying -- get a grip and think back to all the lies you've already told, and don't bother telling me that you don't lie, because we all do it, we just don't like being lied to, especially over important things.

  9. #9
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Re: Virginia and radar detectors

    Quote Originally Posted by Rick
    I understand that there is a detector "dectector" that can be used to sniff out radar detectors. IIRC, it's called a VR-1 and it is looking for the electronic signature of the local oscillator used in the receiver. Cheaper detectors splatter that signature all over -- my Valentine V1 picks them up all the time as I pass other cars with radar detectors.

    It's pointless to argue the law with a law enforcement officer at the side of the road. They're going to do what they do and if you protest you may end up face down on the pavement with a foot on your neck. About all you could do would be to politely refuse a search of your car until they produce a warrant, in which event you'll set there until they get one, and then you'd better have your car in tip-top shape or you'll be looking at a citation for everything they can imagine.
    Roger all that...

    By the way, how would you rate your Valentine detector?

  10. #10
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Re: Virginia and radar detectors

    "..... About all you could do would be to politely refuse a search of your car until they produce a warrant, in which event you'll set there until they get one, and then you'd better have your car in tip-top shape or you'll be looking at a citation for everything they can imagine."


    And we like to think we're "free."

    Americans are a pretty deluded lot.

  11. #11
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Re: Virginia and radar detectors

    "As to lying -- get a grip and think back to all the lies you've already told, and don't bother telling me that you don't lie, because we all do it, we just don't like being lied to, especially over important things."


    There is nothing morally wrong with lying to avoid being persecuted by an unjust law - but I think the assholes can get you for "making a false statement" to a law enforcement officer. However, it's not making a false statement to refuse to respond either way - and you are within your rights, legally, to refuse to provide information that might tend to incriminate you.

    As far as detectors go, I think the key thing is "concealability" - and deniability. Maybe the cop can detect the presence of a detector. But if it's not visually apparent which car has the detector, you are probably safe.

    I want to get one I can "hard wire" to my bike (and keep well-hidden), perhaps with an integrated cover that can be discretely deployed during a traffic stop to make it impossible to see the detector without the cop putting his hands on the bike - which I would hope is more of a hurdle legally speaking and thus less likely.

    But I have litttle faith in that; we already live in an emergent police state. Our "rights" are heavily circumscribed and the cops feel emboldened to do pretty much whatever they want to.

    Because, of course, they can.

  12. #12
    mrblanche
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    Re: Virginia and radar detectors

    The most common "radar detector detector" is an officer sitting concealed and watching traffic go by. When he triggers the radar, the car whose brake lights immediately go on is the one with the detector.

  13. #13
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Re: Virginia and radar detectors

    Quote Originally Posted by mrblanche
    The most common "radar detector detector" is an officer sitting concealed and watching traffic go by. When he triggers the radar, the car whose brake lights immediately go on is the one with the detector.
    Yep...

    I'd still like to know what the actual practice is in Va with regard to being "caught" with a detector...

  14. #14
    gail
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    Re: Virginia and radar detectors

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric
    "As to lying -- get a grip and think back to all the lies you've already told, and don't bother telling me that you don't lie, because we all do it, we just don't like being lied to, especially over important things."


    There is nothing morally wrong with lying to avoid being persecuted by an unjust law - but I think the assholes can get you for "making a false statement" to a law enforcement officer. However, it's not making a false statement to refuse to respond either way - and you are within your rights, legally, to refuse to provide information that might tend to incriminate you.

    As far as detectors go, I think the key thing is "concealability" - and deniability. Maybe the cop can detect the presence of a detector. But if it's not visually apparent which car has the detector, you are probably safe.

    I want to get one I can "hard wire" to my bike (and keep well-hidden), perhaps with an integrated cover that can be discretely deployed during a traffic stop to make it impossible to see the detector without the cop putting his hands on the bike - which I would hope is more of a hurdle legally speaking and thus less likely.

    But I have litttle faith in that; we already live in an emergent police state. Our "rights" are heavily circumscribed and the cops feel emboldened to do pretty much whatever they want to.

    Because, of course, they can.
    You need to get out of Virginia, Eric. We all don't live like that. It is well-known that the northeast section of America is like you describe - not so out west. Maybe it is because we don't have as many trees for them to hide behind. 8)

  15. #15
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Re: Virginia and radar detectors

    "You need to get out of Virginia, Eric. We all don't live like that. It is well-known that the northeast section of America is like you describe - not so out west. Maybe it is because we don't have as many trees for them to hide behind. 8)"

    The maggots are encroaching everywhere, even here in rural SW Va...

    The upside is that with the maggots comes ridiculous escalation in the value of homes/property - so if it ever rises to the level of intolerability (as it did in NoVa) we'll be able to sell our spread here for a fortune and buy a couple hundred acres in Montana, Idaho or North Dakota..... I'll build as a cabin in the middle of it, off the grid, and say "FU!" in proper Nixonian fashion to the outside world.....

  16. #16
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    Re: Virginia and radar detectors

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric
    By the way, how would you rate your Valentine detector?
    I like it quite well, even though it hasn't been updated by the factory since 1995. Actual police speed detection radar is quite distinctive and although door openers use the same frequency you can tell when Smokey is around. Instant-on radar is always problematic, and unless you happen to catch them flashing traffic ahead of you (turning it on and snapping a short burst of microwaves) you don't get any warnings until you are in the crosshairs. You can (and I have) still beat the radar if you're not going too much over the limit AND you're "on it" in braking adequately and soon enough. It's just not fun leading the parade.

    Thus far in life my two tickets have been written off purely optical measurement tactics, made from a long way off (~1 mile or so), so I dunno if that's an endorsement of Valentine or not.

  17. #17
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    Re: Virginia and radar detectors

    The Valentine gets good ratings. I believe the guy who started the company was one of the lead engineers at Cincinnati Microwave when they developed the successful Escort radar detector almost 30 years ago.

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