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Are Police Radar Detectors Illegal in Virginia?

Key Takeaways

  • It is illegal to use radar detectors and radar jammers in Virginia.
  • Police can still cite a driver if their radar detector is disconnected from its power source but still within reach. Drivers passing through Virginia must put their devices somewhere inaccessible.
  • A violation of the radar detector law can result in a fine and temporary confiscation of the device.

Did you know that Virginia is the only state where police radar detectors are illegal? The use of a radar detector is a motor vehicle offense under Virginia law. Some Virginia police officers even have radar detector detectors to catch drivers with detectors, and they have the authority to confiscate your device.

As one anonymous Redditor recalled, “I was pulled over when I was passing through the state, and my radar detector was turned off. I explained to the officer that it was off the whole time. He believed me, but I still got the $200 fine. Fortunately, my [detector] wasn’t confiscated.”

Your safest bet is to unplug the device and store it in your trunk while in Virginia. If you have been caught with a radar detector in Virginia (whether you were speeding or not), the speeding ticket lawyers at Randall & Bruch, PC are ready to help.

Are Police Radar Detectors Legal in Virginia?

No, but the Virginia radar detector law prohibits equipping any motor vehicle with a device that can detect, interfere with, or diminish the effectiveness of devices that law enforcement officers use to measure a vehicle’s speed and enforce speed limits. This includes radar guns and laser detectors, also known as lidar, used at speed traps.

Unplugging Your Detector is Not Enough

As long as a radar device is within reach of anyone in the vehicle, including passengers, police can still charge you. However, the radar detector law makes an exception if the device is not connected to a power source and is “not readily accessible for use.”

One of the biggest mistakes drivers make when coming from outside the state is forgetting to stow their radar device. Drivers can be liable even if they do not know about the law against the use of radar detectors. The best way to avoid a charge is to put the device in the trunk or luggage while driving anywhere in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Are Laser Jammers Legal in Virginia?

No, laser jammers are not legal in Virginia. Virginia law has a rather broad definition of “radar detector.” It includes laser or radar jammers that can interfere with a police officer’s radar equipment.

What is the Penalty for Having a Radar Detector in Virginia?

motorist receiving a traffic ticket for having a radar detector

The state will not award any demerit points for violating the radar detector law, but other penalties may apply:

  • Drivers may face a fine of around $100.
  • The police can confiscate your device, but they must return it to you once your case is closed.

You can retrieve your device from the law enforcement agency that confiscated it, or you can pay a fee to have them mail it to you. If you have not done either of these within six months of the end of your case, Virginia law allows the police to destroy the device. Randall & Bruch can help you get your device back if necessary.

Can Police Detect Radar Detectors?

Technology exists that allows police to detect radar detectors. Not many police in Virginia have radar detector detectors (RDDs), but they are out there.

  • The radar guns that police use send out radio waves and measure the echoes of those waves. This allows them to determine a vehicle’s speed.
  • Radar detectors look for radio waves at frequencies that police radar guns typically use. In doing this, the devices also emit electromagnetic radiation.
  • RDDs look for the waves that radar detectors emit.

Why Clients Choose Randall & Bruch, PC

The team at Randall & Bruch has 85 years of combined experience in multiple areas of law, including defending people against speeding tickets and other alleged motor vehicle offenses. Our firm is a Better Business Bureau Accredited Business, and our attorneys have received honors from Martindale-Hubbell and other legal organizations.


“True professionals. They came highly recommended and helped me out with multiple out-of-state tickets, including speeding. When I spoke to them early in the process, they were easy to vet and delivered exactly the outcome we discussed when my court day came. I would 100% recommend them.” — Todd T.

“Randall, Page & Bruch, P.C, can only be described by me as having the most exemplary model of representation that deserves to be followed by all other Firms within their legal demographic. I was hoping for adequate service, and what I received was exceptional communication and professional representation. I am very pleased and 100% satisfied with all that was done and accomplished on my behalf. I truly recommend that anyone in need of professional legal assistance that’s held to a higher standard, contact the offices of Randall, Page & Bruch for their exceptional services.” — Sayfullaah A.

Assistance When You Are On the Police’s Radar

The attorneys at Randall & Bruch, PC fight for optimal outcomes for our clients in Tidewater and Southside Virginia. We have decades of experience providing zealous advocacy with sympathy and compassion. Schedule a confidential consultation today by calling 757-742-6115 or using our firm’s online contact form.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can Out-of-State Drivers Use Radar Detectors in Virginia?

No. Radar detectors are illegal for all drivers.

Can I Use a Radar Detector If I am Just Passing Through Virginia?

No. It does not matter if you have a destination in Virginia or you are driving nonstop from North Carolina to Washington D.C. Radar detectors are illegal either way.

Can Virginia Police Pull You Over for Having a Radar Detector?

Yes. The police can pull you over if a radar detector indicates you have an unlawful device or a radar detector is visible on your dashboard.

Are There Legal Alternatives to Radar Detectors in Virginia?

Yes. While you cannot use a device that directly detects a police officer’s radar gun, you can use GPS-based systems or smartphone apps that provide alerts about speed traps. Be mindful of safety while driving, though.

jack t randall

Written By Jack T. Randall


As lifelong resident of Western Tidewater, Jack Randall is a local attorney who wants the best results for his clients. He is an experienced and aggressive attorney with focus on family law, criminal and traffic law, as well as personal injury law cases.