Are Radar Detectors / Jammers Legal?

Radar DetectorsRadar detectors are legal in California but any kind of radar jammer or lidar jammer is not. A “jammer” is any kind of device that is capable of scrambling or interfering with radar, laser, or any other electronic device used by law enforcement to detect the speed of moving objects.

Don’t Get Caught Using a Radar Jammer!

Using a radar jammer or lidar jammer is a federal offense that can carry up to five years in prison. If caught with a radar jammer or lidar jammer in California, you can be charged with an infraction and a fine. If you have four or more such jamming devices on your vehicle, you can be charged with a misdemeanor and face jail time.

Radar detectors can be helpful to avoid a speeding ticket if the officer is using a radar gun. But they have significant limitations.


Radar Dectectors Give too many Frustrating False Readings

Radar detectors (especially cheap ones) can easily be fooled by other types of radio signals.

1) – New Car Blind Spot Monitoring Sensors
New Car Blind Spot Monitoring SensorsNewer cars’ Blind Spot Monitoring systems – are environmental radar-wave signals that create all kinds of false positives! These sensors often use K Band sensors for Blind-Spot Monitoring (BSM) Information systems and automatic emergency braking systems. These transmitters can give false readings on radar detectors, increasing the frustration-factor thus limiting their usefulness.

2) – Retal Store Automatic Door Openers
Automatic Door Opener SensorsAutomatic door openers at the local supermarket, drug and convenience store triger the opening mechanism automatically when you approach. That is real convenient. Expecially for germophobes not wanting to touch every public door! These automatic door sensores use doppler radar to sense movement, and transmit on same frequencies as police radar guns. Years ago these door opener sensors were built using X-Band transmitters, a microwave frequency used by older police radar guns. Now with the more cost-effective K-band transmitters, most newer automatic door openers transmit on K-band which, of course, is used by most newer police radar guns and most consumer radar detectors.

3) – Traffic Speed Warning Signs & Traffic Monoitoring Systems

radar speed signThe exploding deployment of traffic warning signs is adding another level of frustration for radar detector owners. There are more and more X-Band and K-Band environmental signals flooding the streets in major cities. These now ordinary speed warning signs are installed by schools, in residential neighborhoods, or anywhere community leaders place them in reaction to resident’s requests, traffic accidents and pedestrian deaths. The effectiveness has been documented (according to the manufacturers) and the per-unit cost of these warning signs has come way down adding to the increased numbers seen around Orange County. These K-Band signal transmitters add to the growing environmental radar-wave frustration of radar detector users reporting false police radar usage.

Then there are the K-Band traffic speed-monitoring sensors (not necessarily advertised to drivers with a connected speed-readout sign) placed on freeways and at many busy city intersections. These speed-monitoring sensors measure traffic speed and traffic flow and relay the speed data (and video) back to CalTrans and local city traffic monitoring centers.

traffic control center

Upshot? – Many drivers report that the use of consumer radar detectors in congested urban areas like Orange County causes so much stress and frustration by the constant false negatives as to be turned off but for out of town road trips when hitting the Interstate, or long stretches of freeways away from environmental X-Bank and K-Band noise where the CHP is known to use radar.

Yes, the California Highway Patrol does use radar. From some busy radar user forums, it is estimated that the CHP (California Highway Patrol) has north of 3,500 RADAR, LIDAR and LASER speed measuring devices deployed throughout California in three configurations: vehicle-mounted, motorcycle-mounted and hand-held.


Lidar Detectors – The Newest Technology

DetectorsLidar Detectors – In addition, many police agencies are switching from radar guns to the newer technology of lidar. Lidar uses beams of light to detect the speed of a car. It is more accurate but more expensive and cannot be used from a moving vehicle, like radar. Lidar detectors are available on the market but have somewhat limited usefulness because if a device detects that lidar is in use, it is probably too late. Light moves extremely fast and by the time the lidar device is detected there is a good chance the police have already determined the speed of your vehicle.

Radar detectors must be used with caution, however, as they are outlawed in some states, Canada, and on military bases.


Please Fill Out CASE EVALUATION or Call Scott Ball

Did you receive a radar speeding ticket in California? If so, Orange County Traffic Ticket Attorney Scott Ball can defend your radar ticket for you in court. Please use the Case Evaluation form HERE for a fast call back or email reply form attorney Ball. If you want to call, you are always welcome! 714-547-7500.


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