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Are Radar Detectors Legal In USA? – Know Before You Buy In 2024

Are radar detectors legal in usa

Are you someone who loves speed but hates getting a ticket? Have you had thoughts like are radar detectors legal in usa to avoid this issue? If yes, then you are not alone. Driving at higher or lower speeds than required and getting fined for it is one of the biggest issues drivers face in the USA.

But this situation can be avoided altogether if you own a radar detector. A radar detector is a device that alerts you if there is a police radar or laser gun and gives you time to attain the required speed.

However, not just anyone can install radar detectors in their rides in the USA. Each state has its own particular laws and rules, which can put you in great trouble.

Radar detectors are mostly legal in the United States, but there are some rules around it that you must know. So, suppose you are someone who always finds themselves getting pulled over and fined for going too fast or too slow. 

In that case, you should know are radar detectors legal in texas and other states of the USA. In this article, we will explain to you what radar detectors are, how they work, states where radar detectors are legal & illegal, and how you can install them.

Let us begin.

What Are Radar Detectors?

Before we begin exploring are radar detectors legal in New York and other states of the United States Of America, we first need to find out what a radar detector is.

A radar detector is an electronic device or tool designed to alert a motorist if their speed is being monitored by police or law enforcement via a radar gun.

Radar detectors serve as an aid to the driver by alerting them and giving them time to check their speed and bring their ride to the necessary driving speed range.

How Do Radar Detectors Work?

Where are radar detectors illegal in the us

You can not simply go antsy over are radar detectors legal in Florida or my state and decide to install them. Installing a radar detector will not do you any good if you do not know how it works.

If you have ever been pulled over by a cop saying you were going too fast or too slow, they found it via their radar guns, popularly referred to as police speedometers. The Police speedometers use radio waves to determine the speed of vehicles passing by. 

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And the radio detectors are tuned to pick up these radio waves to alert you. Think of it as your car radio, where you adjust it to get your favorite station. The horn or waveguide is the part of the radar that receives the signal and alerts you. 

But please understand that radar guns transmit their frequency for miles. So, you need good quality radar detectors that are capable of warning you long before your vehicle enters the speed target zone.

Suppose you are driving, and there is a police officer a few miles ahead using a radar gun. As soon as your radar detector senses the presence of the offending radio waves, it will pass the information to a microprocessor.

The microprocessor then identifies the signal and alerts you immediately. In other words, this might seem like a lengthy process, but the radar detector device does it within a few seconds.

Types Of Radar Detectors

Another thing to learn that is more crucial than knowing are radar detectors legal in NY is the different types of radar detectors. Generally, there are two types of radar detectors that you can buy in the USA.

– Dash or Window-Mounted Radar Detectors

Window or dash-mounted radar detectors are the most common ones. You place them on your dashboard or windshield using suction cup mounts. The best thing about this type of radar detector is that it can be easily transferred or moved, as it has all of its parts in a single unit.

So, if you are someone with multiple vehicles and love to take a different ride on different days, this radar detector type comes in handy. Also, if you enter from a state where radar detectors are legal to a state where they aren’t, you can simply unmount them, turn them off, and keep them in your trunk safely.

– Custom Installed Radar Detectors

Suppose you want a radar detector that is premium and more professional-like. In that case, a custom-installed or remote radar detector is for you.

However, this one is complex. Custom radar detectors have their parts integrated into the vehicle itself. It means this type of radar detector becomes a physical part of your vehicle’s system.

What Kind Of Signals Does A Radar Detector Pickup?

Most radar detectors that are sold in North America are tuned to the X-band, K-band, and Ka-band signals. It is because these are the signals that most radar guns in the USA use. However, this is not always the case. There are several other radar products in the market that can detect just any radio wave coming within its range.

We all know that several forms of technology emit radio waves. Cell phone towers, vehicles with satellite radio, and CB radios are a few examples. And there are many radar detectors in the market that can detect these radio waves in addition to the waves from a radar gun.

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This detection of unwanted signals can be annoying as you end up getting frequent alerts. Due to this, it becomes hard for the driver to differentiate if the alert was due to a police radar gun or just any other radar wave interference.

To avoid this issue, which can cause you to lose money to a speeding ticket or illegal installation of a radar detector, we recommend you go for only the good quality product.

They might be a little costlier than the others, but they will ensure you are safe and away from police radars all the time.

What states allow radar detectors

Now that you are familiar with what a radar detector is, what are its different types, and how it works, it is time we discuss are radar detectors legal in all 50 states of America.

There are a total of 50 states in the United States Of America. Each state abides by some crucial central laws and simultaneously practices its regional laws.

And this is the case in terms of radar detectors. The legality and illegality of radar detectors across all the states of the US are based on the type of vehicles.

– Radar Detectors In Commercial Vehicles

Some states allow the usage of radar detectors only in private vehicles and ban their use in commercial vehicles weighing over 10,000 pounds.

All states except Illinois, Iowa, Mississippi, Minnesota, New Jersey, Virginia, and Washington D.C. allow radar detectors in commercial vehicles under 10,000 pounds.

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– Radar Detectors In Passenger Vehicles

In the USA, radar detectors in privately owned passenger vehicles are legal. However, the states of Virginia, Mississippi, and Washington D.C. are exceptions to this.

In Washington D.C., the District Of Columbia and the state of Virginia deem the usage of radar detectors is legal in private vehicles but with some gray areas. Whereas Mississippi has a complete ban on them.

As per Virginia Law, you can have a radar detector in your vehicle only if it has no power and is not accessible to the occupants of the car.

Suppose you have a non-functioning or shut-down radar detector in your car’s trunk. In this case, you are in the clear even if you get pulled over and the police find it. But if you are keeping a functional radar detector in your cabin space, you are more likely to get fined.

As per Virginia Law, you could face a penalty of up to $250 for a violation. Not only this, police can legally confiscate your radar detector on the spot. Meanwhile, in Washington, D.C., only the District of Columbia bans the usage of radar detectors.

Out of the 50 states, 48 states allow the usage of radar detectors in one way or another. Most of them allow usage in private vehicles. Some allow radar detectors in commercial vehicles, but only those that weigh less than 10,000 pounds.

Check out the list of American states where radar detectors are legal:

  • Alabama
  • Alaska
  • Arizona
  • Arkansas
  • California
  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Hawaii
  • Idaho
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana
  • Maine
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Missouri
  • Montana
  • Nebraska
  • Nevada
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • New Mexico
  • New York
  • North Carolina
  • North Dakota
  • Ohio
  • Oklahoma
  • Oregon
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • South Carolina
  • South Dakota
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Utah
  • Vermont
  • Washington D.C.
  • West Virginia
  • Wisconsin
  • Wyoming

Which States Are Radar Detectors Illegal?

48 states deem radar detectors legal under their specific rules, but the remaining two states consider their usage illegal. Mississippi and Virginia do not allow the usage of radar detectors on private and commercial vehicles. 

There is no gray area for you to get a pass in Mississippi if you are found carrying one in your car. However, Virginia allows you to carry a radar detector as long as it is not functioning.

Meaning it is shut down and away from the reach of people inside the car. So, if next time someone asks you, “Are radar detectors legal in Mississippi?” answer them with a big NO.

Check out the list of American states where radar detectors are illegal:

Just like most people use radar detectors to save themselves from getting pulled over by the cops and fined for overspeeding, others prefer Laser Jammers. Laser Jammers are devices that transmit invisible light sources or no response or an error when a police LIDAR gun is targeted at your vehicle.

As the police receive an error code on their gun, they are unable to detect the driver’s speed, resulting in them thinking they simply didn’t aim correctly at the coming vehicle.

Since there is no federal law banning the usage of laser jammers, they can be used in all American states except California, Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Mississippi, and Washington D.C.

Can Americans Use Radar Jammers?

So far, you have got your answer for are radar detectors legal in Georgia. But now we move forward to another type whose US laws every car driver should be aware of.

A radar jammer is an electronic device that intentionally sends out radio frequency signals to interfere with the operation of a radar by jamming its receiver with noise or wrong information.

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When it comes to the use of radar jammers, they are illegal in all 50 states of America. The primary reason is their interference with broad signal law enforcement that is used to target speeding vehicles.

Not only this, they can even cause problems for airplanes. So, if you are ever caught with a radar jammer on you, you will face heavy fines and jail time, even if it were to be your first offense.

Do You Wish To Buy A Radar Detector?

If you were contemplating whether radar detectors are legal in Illinois or any other state, then we assume that you have got your answer as you have reached this far in the article. Knowing how well such a small device can assist you, many of you sure would want to buy one.

But before you go out and purchase anything a seller hands you randomly, there are a few things that you need to know. Learning the right way will allow you to make the best purchase that will be light on your pocket and fruitful while driving.

How To Choose The Right Radar Detector?

Buying the right radar detector involves a bit of research and analysis. A radar detector can save you from getting pulled over by a police officer, but that is a surety only if you own a good-quality product.

You can buy anything from basic to high-end models. But first, do the research. If you are someone who gets pulled over a lot and is tired of paying those fine tickets, choosing a high-end radar detector is a wise choice.

However, if you do not have a good budget and rarely face overspeeding issues, going for a basic model makes better sense. Overall, we recommend you do some in-depth learning on radar detectors and radar jammers before buying one.

How To Install A Radar Detector?

Generally, most radar detectors come with suction cups that allow you to mount them on the windshield or the dashboard of your car. It is the most common style.

However, there are also other setups available in the market that you can choose from. But before you choose, remember that the states that allow the usage of radar detectors do not allow their installation on windshields as it can hinder the sight.

Thus, go for a radar detector that does a good job and can be installed somewhere it does not affect your driving.

If your budget allows you to spend openly, you can go for the custom radar detectors. Have them installed by a professional and enjoy driving without getting detected and hindered. 

Top FAQs On What States Allow Radar Detectors

Are radar detectors legal in Ohio?

YES. In Ohio, both radar detectors and laser jammers are legal. So, if you wish to save yourself from that fine you got simply because you were driving just one mile over the driving limit, have any of them installed in your ride.

Where are radar detectors illegal in the us?

In the US, radar detectors are strictly illegal in two states. And those two states are Virginia and Mississippi. 

It does not matter whether you own a private vehicle or a commercial one; these two states deem radar detectors and radar jammers illegal. You will be punished and fined heavily if you are found driving with one.

What states allow radar detectors?

In the US, radar detectors are legal in 48 states with some rules & exceptions. Only Virginia and Mississippi are the states that have ruled them out as illegal.

So, if you were thinking, are radar detectors legal in Minnesota or are radar detectors legal in Colorado, the answer is yes.

Can the police detect my radar detector?

Absolutely. A police officer can detect if you have a radar detector installed in your ride with the help of a “radar detector detector,” also called RDD.

RDD is a device that allows law enforcement to locate and identify a vehicle in which a radar detector is installed and is in active operation.

Today, many law enforcement agencies across the US have them, especially in the areas where radar detectors are illegal or not allowed.

Should I hide my radar detector?

The first thing that every driver should know is that they should not buy a radar detector without knowing about the law of their state regarding it.

If your state allows it, you can have the installation as per the provided government guidelines.

And if not, do not try to be a hero and play sneaky games like hiding your radar detector as soon as you stop at a traffic signal. This is a risky job because if you are caught, you will be fined heavily.

Furthermore, you do not always need to overspeed while driving and use a radar detector as a shield. 

If your radar detector ever delays or is unable to detect a cop’s radar radio signal, you can be in great jeopardy.


The answer to the question “Are radar detectors legal in USA?” is divided. It is both legal and illegal but based on the state. Out of the 50 states, 48 allow the use of radar detectors but only under certain rules and regulations.

Meanwhile, the remaining two have a strict no radar detectors policy. And defying them can lead to heavy fines and jail time. So, if you want answers about are radar detectors legal in NC or Georgia, the answer is above in the blog.

Kevin Williams is an automotive enthusiast and expert writer with a passion for all things related to cars. With a wealth of knowledge in the world of vehicles, Kevin's mission is to provide informative articles that empower car enthusiasts to make informed decisions about their automotive interests. With extensive experience, Kevin has contributed numerous articles to Cars Cache, covering a wide spectrum of topics from vehicle reviews to maintenance tips and more.


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