My buddy and I were going to visit a friend at school. Maybe going a little fast. HP cought up to me and cited me for 75 in a 60 and actually confiscated my radar detector. Is that even legal? I mean, it wasn’t even working and hadn’t been used for years. I just happened never to remove it. I’m kind of a hoarder I guess. I don’t really care about that but can anyone tell me about the speeding ticket? I don’t need any points and my insurance is already too high!
In the Commonwealth of Virginia, radar detectors are illegal. The specific code section is 46.2-1079. The statute specifically authorizes the seizure of the device for evidentiary purposes.
“Any such device or mechanism may be taken by the arresting officer if needed as evidence, and, when no longer needed, shall be returned to the person charged with a violation of this section, or at that person’s request, and his expense, mailed to an address specified by him. Any unclaimed devices may be destroyed on court order after six months have elapsed from the final date for filing an appeal.”
The code section also says: “[T]he presence of any such prohibited device or mechanism in or on a motor vehicle on the highways of the Commonwealth shall constitute prima facie evidence of the violation of this section. The Commonwealth need not prove that the device or mechanism in question was in an operative condition or being operated.”
There are no separate demerit points for a radar detector violation, but many judges often order the device to be forfeited or destroyed if you are convicted under the code section.
As far as the speeding violation goes, at 75/60, you are looking at a four-point demerit violation and a fine. However, there are a number of things that you can do to potentially avoid a conviction.
- If you have a good driving record, you will want to obtain a copy of your driving record showing such.
- If you have never attended an IN PERSON driver improvement program, you would want to look at doing so prior to your court date. Many jurisdictions look favorably upon attendance of a DMV driver improvement program prior to a court appearance.
- If you have any indication that your speedometer is not reading properly, it is a good idea to obtain a calibration. If your speedometer is not properly calibrated, many courts will reduce the charge to a non-moving violation.
There are a number of things that an attorney can do for you potentially mitigate any points or a conviction.
If you are convicted, there is a likelihood of increased insurance rates for at least 3 years.
The law on radar detectors is as follows:
§ 46.2-1079. Radar detectors; demerit points not to be awarded.
A. It shall be unlawful for any person to operate a motor vehicle on the highways of the Commonwealth when such vehicle is equipped with any device or mechanism, passive or active, to detect or purposefully interfere with or diminish the measurement capabilities of any radar, laser, or other device or mechanism employed by law-enforcement personnel to measure the speed of motor vehicles on the highways of the Commonwealth for law-enforcement purposes. It shall be unlawful to use any such device or mechanism on any such motor vehicle on the highways. It shall be unlawful to sell any such device or mechanism in the Commonwealth. However, provisions of this section shall not apply to any receiver of radio waves utilized for lawful purposes to receive any signal from a frequency lawfully licensed by any state or federal agency.
This section shall not be construed to authorize the forfeiture to the Commonwealth of any such device or mechanism. Any such device or mechanism may be taken by the arresting officer if needed as evidence, and, when no longer needed, shall be returned to the person charged with a violation of this section, or at that person’s request, and his expense, mailed to an address specified by him. Any unclaimed devices may be destroyed on court order after six months have elapsed from the final date for filing an appeal.
Except as provided in subsection B of this section, the presence of any such prohibited device or mechanism in or on a motor vehicle on the highways of the Commonwealth shall constitute prima facie evidence of the violation of this section. The Commonwealth need not prove that the device or mechanism in question was in an operative condition or being operated.
B. A person shall not be guilty of a violation of this section when the device or mechanism in question, at the time of the alleged offense, had no power source and was not readily accessible for use by the driver or any passenger in the vehicle….
Section D goes on to say that possession of a radar detector does not result in points on the driving record in and of itself. With regards to the speeding ticket, 75 in a 60 is an offense of “speeding less than than 19 miles over the limit”, which is a four point offense in Virginia, but points would be assessed with the same number of points an equivalent offense in your home state.
It probably goes without saying that the outcome of your case will depend on the specific facts (including your prior driving record, encounter with the officer, traffic that day, etc.), so it’s hard to give you specifics here. However, it is common to reduce these charges either to a non-moving violation (typically no points, no insurance increase), or a lower speed like 9-over (which will avoid a lot of insurance increases in states like NC), or sometimes even to get it dismissed.
Regarding the radar detector, the relevant code section is VA §46.2-1079, which does allow the officer to take the radar detector as evidence, but requires him to return it after the trial. But yes, radar detectors are illegal in VA (and I typically notice the road signs that say as much that are posted at the VA border).