Can Maryland Police Tell If You Have a Radar Detector?

Can Maryland Police Tell If You Have a Radar Detector?

When you’re driving, you may feel anxious about police officers, no matter your speed. The fear of turning a corner and seeing a car sitting on the side of the road can be startling. You may also desire a few moments of knowledge before an officer comes speeding past you or is in the right-side lane. Whether you’re interested in avoiding speed traps or just to make you feel more comfortable on the road, a radar detector can come in handy.

Similar to dashcams, many motorists are interested in purchasing accessories that can prepare individuals for unexpected occurrences while driving. Radar detectors are useful to drivers who travel often and in areas with fluctuating speed limits. Going from an area with a speed limit of 60 mph to a long stretch of road where the speed limit is 45 mph can cause you trouble if you’re not aware of lingering officers.

What Is a Radar Detector?

When law enforcement uses a radar gun to catch a speeding vehicle, the device emits invisible waves that operate on three signals: the K, Ka, and X bands. Once the waves detect the vehicle, they will bounce back and notify the officer of the vehicle’s speed. A radar detector can pick up on those waves and inform you that a police officer or a radar gun is near.

The range of detection and ability to accurately shift through false alerts depends on the age of the detector and the model. Some more expensive and high-quality radar detectors can offer more reliable readings.

Is a Radar Detector Legal in Maryland?

In Maryland and most states, a radar detector is legal. However, there are a few circumstances and locations in which this is not the case. Consider the list below for situations in which the use of a radar detector is illegal and when the use of one may cause you to incur fines and other punishments:

  • If you are a commercial (CDL) driver
  • If you are operating a vehicle on a military base
  • If you are located in Virginia or Washington, D.C.
Virginia and Washington are easily accessible to Maryland, and the residents of Maryland may often find themselves passing into these areas. If you have a radar detector, you can be at risk of fines. It’s essential to be aware of your route if you have a radar detector in your car and avoid traveling in those areas.

How Can a Police Officer Tell If I Have a Radar Detector?

Many radar detectors go unnoticed by law enforcement and simply assist drivers with staying within the speed limit and reducing their fear of being pulled over. However, there are a few ways a police officer can tell if you have a radar detector device.

  • The Detector Is Visible: A radar detector is placed on the vehicle’s front window in an unobstructed view to function properly. If you’re pulled over, an officer will see your radar detector if you can. This won’t be an issue unless you’re in an area where the device is illegal.
  • Police Training: There are times where police can visually estimate the speed of a vehicle or are not using a radar gun, so a radar detector will not notify you of the police’s location.
  • Your Reaction: When your radar detector goes off, your natural reaction is to hit the brakes and slow down if you’re moving at a faster speed. This reaction will cause your car’s brake lights to come on, and the front end of your car will dip down. These reactions can signal the police officer.
  • Radar Detector Detectors (RDDs): Some radar detectors can emit a weak signal. If an officer has an RDD, they’ll be able to detect your radar detector. More advanced radar detectors can shield the signals, which prevent the RDDs from picking up the waves.
If you’re in an area where a radar detector is legal, you have no worries about having a radar detector. Unfortunately, many Maryland residents visit areas where these devices are illegal and can face problems if they forget to turn off the device while in the area. If you encounter a situation similar to this, contact an experienced defense attorney for legal assistance.

Trust a Motivated Defense Attorney at the Law Office of Hillel Traub

If you still pulled over for speeding with a detector and were pulled over in an area where a radar device is illegal, you can face expensive fines for having one in use. Our team at the Law Office of Hillel Traub can offer detailed legal advice for your case. With over 20 years of experience working in Maryland, Attorney Hillel Traub is a strong advocate for those in the community and wants to make sure you’re properly represented during legal conflicts.

For a free consultation, call (410) 580-1100 or fill out our contact form.