The Legal Issues with Radar Detectors and Traffic Violations


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If you are using a radar detector in Florida, it can become evidence against you in a criminal traffic case. A Miami Dade traffic defense lawyer will know how to handle this situation.

There are many types of electronic devices like a radar detector in Florida that can be used to alert you of police presence. Some of these are legal, while others are not, and the difference can be critical to your Miami Dade traffic defense case.

A Radar Detector in Florida May be Legal

The legality of your police detection equipment will be the main focus of the evidence against you if you are convicted of a traffic violation. The only type of police avoidance equipment that is legal for any driver is a LIDAR (Light Detection and Ranging), or radar detector. Florida laws do have one exception: Radar detectors are illegal in commercial vehicles weighting over 10,000 pounds.

In a standard passenger vehicle these devices are legal, but many argue that they only promote speeding by allowing drivers to get a “heads up” if a speed trap is nearby. The counter argument to that, especially voiced by Miami Dade traffic defense attorneys, is that police radar is often inaccurate.

In many successfully defended speeding cases, it was found that some of the common reasons for police radar inaccuracy or failure were:

• radio frequency interference from nearby signals;
• improperly angled laser gun;
• inadequate training of officer in targeting a moving object; and
• failure to maintain equipment.

Having a personal radar detector in Florida installed in your vehicle may become a key point in your traffic defense case.

Other Types of Police Avoidance Methods are Illegal

In Florida it is illegal to have a laser or radar jammer in your vehicle. Any interference with police radar and laser signals is prohibited under Florida law and subject to serious penalties.

There are illegal vehicle painting methods known as “stealth coatings” that can be used to interfere with the accuracy of police laser systems. The LIDAR laser signal can be deflected or absorbed by these special coatings, therefore reducing the accuracy of the speed reading or negating the detection completely.

Police scanners lie in a gray area of whether they are legal or not. Most drivers are not allowed to have them in their possession, but there are certain driver classifications that are permitted to operate one. Drivers who are considered amateur radio operators, licensed alarm system workers and press workers on assignment all may be permitted to use a police scanner.

If you have obtained the written permission of the chief of police or sheriff to use a police scanner, you will also be exempt from the rules against their use. It is important that you carry this proof with you in the case that you need to represent yourself in a Miami Dade traffic defense case.

Using a Radar Detector in Florida as Evidence in a Miami Dade Traffic Defense

If your vehicle contains a radar detector in Florida there’s a good chance that the prosecution will attempt to use this against you in a traffic violation case. It’s not uncommon to have the prosecutor claim that you had a radar detector for the purpose of knowing when police were nearby so you knew when to stop speeding.

It may take the help of a traffic defense attorney to argue against these accusations. Remember that you not only have a right to own a radar detector in Florida, but you also have the right to the guidance of a Miami Dade traffic defense attorney when you are cited for speeding.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Eric Falk
If you received a DUI then you need an experienced Miami DUI defense attorney that is committed to getting you the results that you deserve. Choosing a DUI attorney is not a fun process, but by choosing an experienced attorney from Falk & Ross, you greatly increase your chances of having your Florida DUI charges reduced or dismissed.

Copyright Falk & Ross, PA
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Disclaimer: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide legal advice as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with an expert and/or lawyer. For specific technical or legal advice on the information provided and related topics, please contact the author.

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