Does a Police Officer Know if You Have a Radar Detector?

Does a Police Officer Know if You Have a Radar Detector?

Drivers can easily get away with speeding ticket by avoiding routes with police or speed guns with the help of radar detectors. This is considered a violation of the law.

Even though numerous smartphone radar detector application software has been developed and some places legalized the usage of most radar detectors by civilians, this is still a big concern for police officers. Because they're unable to catch criminals who are avoiding them on the road.

But in case you miss an alert and come into contact with police officers, you might be at risk if they know you own a radar detector. That’s why we’re going to talk about what might happen if a police officer knows if you have a best radar detector with you or not.

Police Officers Knowing if You Have a Radar Detector

Radar detectors are a type of device used by drivers who want to avoid speeding tickets or getting caught by the police for any other reason. The radar detection device is installed in the vehicle. They give alerts to the driver of any police cars nearby or any speed guns waiting to catch speeding vehicles.

A Radar Detector

In the right hands, such a device would be used by civilians who want to avoid nearby traffic or accidents, take quicker routes, get navigated, etc. But in the wrong hands, this radar detector would be used by civilians who want to speed up on the road in areas where there are no police or speed guns.

Police officers have access to all public records. They have certain software that helps them tap into websites related to social media, trading sites, etc. And they can keep tabs on purchases and sales of radar detection devices on sites. They’re even allowed to raid hi-tech shops that sell accessories and devices meant for vehicles.

Luckily most states legalized radar detectors, but only for private cars, not commercial cars. But states like Virginia or the District of Columbia have made it illegal for civilians to own a radar detector.

These devices are solely meant for law enforcement. But whether detectors are legal or illegal, police officers can tell if you have a radar detector or not. Given below are some ways they can find out:


When you're driving right past a police car, they won't really get a good look at your facial expressions or your reactions. But they will get signs from the way you're driving.

Radar Detector

And you could turn your best radar detector off right before you're about to drive past the police. But experienced police won’t need to get signals from your radar detector to make you pull over. They can visually detect erratic or nervous driving and know which car has a radar detector tucked away somewhere.

The easiest way for you to get targeted is by speeding when you're driving nervously. Once the police’s speed gun goes off, they’ll have you pull over, and you don’t have a choice other than to hit the brakes.

If you are guilty of having a radar detector in your car, you will most likely be going at a speed that allows you to stop quickly after the speed detector gives an alert. And since you're slowing down before the speed detector gives information on your car, the police will already know by instinct that you're guilty.

These police officers have the experience of visually calculating the speed of a suspicious car before you get detected by the speed gun.


Radar detectors are hard to hide. They’ll end up being visible one way or another. You use radar detectors in places where you can keep your eyes on it, and it also has to be near the front window to be able to detect fast.

Radar Detectors

In case you’re pulled over, the radar detector will be exposed, and the police who walk over to check or interrogate you will obviously see it.


radar detector detectors

RDD stands for radar detector detectors. These are detectors meant for detecting other radar detectors and give you alerts of any driver using one nearby.

Each radar detector gives out a signal when it's active. The signal may be weak, but an RDD can still detect it since they are made in a way to detect the slightest leaked signal from other radar detectors.

This depends on the type of radar detector you're using. If your radar detector is strong and of high quality, then it can work without leaking any signals out to let RDDs sense them.

Despite it, the police still like using RDDs around vehicles to see if they can pick up some signals.

Training and Experience

Police officers are trained beforehand with various radar related devices.

They know how radars and radar detectors work, and how to find illegal radar detectors in other people's vehicles.

They are also given visual training so that they can calculate the speed of vehicles from just watching them.

This way, they can tell the difference between innocent and guilty drivers' driving style.

Even without an RDD, a well-trained police officer can tell if a certain driver is hiding a radar detector in their car. All they need to do is watch the way the vehicle is driven and how the driver reacts.

The same may also apply for speeding motorcycle riders if there is a police radar detector for motorcycles available for cops. And the speed might differ between a motorcycle and a car, but the more experienced a police officer gets with speed detecting, they can nail down who’s using radar detector illegally.

Final Words

Owning and using a radar detector comes with its own risks, especially if you live somewhere that bans radar detectors for civilians. Police officers are highly trained in knowing if you have a radar detector.

If you live in a state like Virginia where having radar detectors is illegal, it's best to not have a radar detector at all because you could risk getting caught and thrown in jail. But you wouldn’t have to worry about such things if you lived in a state where these devices were legalized for everyone and every vehicle type.

joshua mattie

Joshua D. Mattie

My motorbike addiction began with 50cc at 5 years old. I rode motocross as a teenager & into my 20's when I worked as a mechanic. This helped me to see the light—sportbikes & cruisers became a passion. Now I'm building BikersRights to be the #1 resource for everything on 2 wheels!