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Have you considered purchasing a radar detector for yourself or maybe for someone else as a holiday gift? Good news: if you’re purchasing the radar detector for use in New York, they are likely legal (with some exceptions, of course).

A radar detector is a device that alerts a driver when a police officer has an enabled radar detector in use in proximity to the driver (depending on the ability of the device). Newer units are capable of detecting signals in both the United States and Canada. Costs vary and range from around $35 to over $250, depending on specifications. While a device with this type of meaningful functionality seems like a bargain at under $50, complaints about lower-end models usually indicate false positive readings, typically from safety response vehicles like ambulances or fire-trucks (this means driving around with a detector going off and no radar gun nearby).

New York’s Vehicle and Traffic Law §397-a states that “No radar detector or laser detector shall be used in any motor vehicle with a gross vehicle weight rating of more than eighteen thousand pounds or in any commercial vehicle with a gross vehicle weight rating of more than ten thousand pounds.” Considering that the 2015 Cadillac Escalade weighs between approximately 5,845 and 7,500 pounds, most personal passenger vehicles should fall below this threshold. Thus, radar detectors should pose no problem if properly placed in a vehicle (without obstructing the view of the driver).

While radar detectors can identify nearby enabled radar guns, most will not read laser radars. Although laser shields exist, their legality is less clear. A radar detector simply alerts the driver that a nearby radar gun is enabled, while a laser shield or veil hides the vehicle from detection. This sounds more like interfering with police work than merely acknowledging that a radar gun is nearby, and should be used with heightened caution as a result.

If you have been given a ticket for possessing a radar detector or any other traffic violation, call the law firm of Schalk, Ciaccio, & Kahn, P.C. at 516-858-1266 for a consultation concerning your rights.

(*Note that this article is expressing an opinion as to the legality of radar detectors and is not providing legal advice. Readers should proceed accordingly.)

Radar detector