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New User / Getting Started Forum The place for new users to discuss how to get started, and generally feel safe from the rest of the rabid technical community. If you just got your first scanner, this forum is for you.

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Old 04-24-2011, 4:15 PM
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Default Legality of having a scanner in a car

What are the laws regarding having a scanner in a car? Is it legal in NJ and PA? Anyplace where it is not legal?
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Old 04-24-2011, 4:31 PM
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Try Google using *scanner laws*. Here's a Sample.
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Old 04-24-2011, 5:24 PM
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Not to mention the few dozen previous threads discussing it on this board.
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Old 04-24-2011, 7:01 PM
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Legal or not, if you don't bring attention to the fact that you have a scanner in your vehicle, you probably have a better chance of winning $325m in the lottery than you do of being caught.
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Old 04-25-2011, 1:55 AM
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Originally Posted by b7spectra View Post
Legal or not, if you don't bring attention to the fact that you have a scanner in your vehicle, you probably have a better chance of winning $325m in the lottery than you do of being caught.
A very valid point I wouldn't chase calls or roll up on a crime scene with a scanner' s volume on 11 asking for trouble.
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Old 04-25-2011, 5:58 AM
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If you get a job working for the press it doesnt matter where you are you can legally have a scanner in your car WHILE YOU ARE WORKING, and only while you are working anywhere its illeal
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Old 04-25-2011, 7:54 AM
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Default Scanner in car

I am a former news photog/assignment with TV station here in Mississippi---I am now a volunteer FF and a fill time PI--I still have media credentials, I am a freelance photog, in the event that I run into problems with having scanners like in New York and recently in Florida.


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Old 06-22-2011, 9:33 PM
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here is a website with scanner laws for all 50 states An Overview of State Scanner Laws
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Old 06-22-2011, 10:03 PM
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Please note that it isn't just state laws you need to worry about (and those are easy to search for), but various counties and cities also have laws against mobile scanner use (and those are not only harder to search for, but also are generally enforced more closely than state laws). See this thread from MO for info on some of those Kansas City Metro Area Scanner Laws As you can see from that list, although it's legal as far as the state goes, you can still have issues with the local PDs.
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Old 06-22-2011, 10:22 PM
   
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I wonder what problems a hard nosed cop could give you if, while in your vehicle you're wearing a FD pager that covers more than one frequency? Could that pager be considered a scanner?
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Old 06-23-2011, 7:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TucsonDirect View Post
If you get a job working for the press it doesnt matter where you are you can legally have a scanner in your car WHILE YOU ARE WORKING, and only while you are working anywhere its illeal
Can you back up that statement with a reference to a law?
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Old 06-24-2011, 8:21 AM
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Please note that it isn't just state laws you need to worry about (and those are easy to search for), but various counties and cities also have laws against mobile scanner use (and those are not only harder to search for, but also are generally enforced more closely than state laws). See this thread from MO for info on some of those Kansas City Metro Area Scanner Laws As you can see from that list, although it's legal as far as the state goes, you can still have issues with the local PDs.
i always thought that state law trumps city/county law, just like federal law trumps state law. am i wrong in assuming this or is it different for things like scanners, etc. ?
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Old 06-24-2011, 8:39 AM
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I have had scanners in vehicles for over 30 years in Arkansas...no worrys here. Actually, as a volunteer fireman/rescue have helped in many emergency situations because of access to events occurring. In the "old days" before 911 and cell phones, having this access saved countless lives even.
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Old 06-24-2011, 8:54 AM
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i always thought that state law trumps city/county law, just like federal law trumps state law. am i wrong in assuming this or is it different for things like scanners, etc. ?
Not necessarily. Some states may allow cities/counties to their own laws regarding a particular subject matter. (Example: scanners may be regulated only at the state level, but liquor sales could be regulated at the local level. Ever heard of a 'dry' county ?) It is up to the individual to check to see if this is the case.
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Old 06-24-2011, 12:07 PM
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i always thought that state law trumps city/county law, just like federal law trumps state law. am i wrong in assuming this or is it different for things like scanners, etc. ?
The issue is that in most of those cases, there is no state scanner law, but there are local ones, so there's nothing to trump. What you have is no state law on scanners (so since it wasn't made illegal the presumption is that it is legal to have and use one). The local folks decided that this wasn't for them so they passed a law prohibiting it. Somewhat like spitting on the sidewalk, no state has outlawed it, but many cities have so you could be cited for doing so.

Now if the state passed a law stating specifically that having a scanner WAS legal and the city passed one stating that having a scanner WASN'T legal, you may have a point. I also believe that there would be issues if there was a state law prohibiting scanners and a city law allowing them.
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Old 07-18-2011, 8:31 AM
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In some states you may run into what is called a "Home Rule" city. I believe that Denver is one such city, and the city laws can trump Colorado state laws. I don't know how you'd find out if your city is a "Home Rule" city, or if you happen to be traveling to or through one. Google or other search engine, perhaps?

It should also be noted, that although the FCC has issued its' statement that licensed Amateur Radio operators are exempt from anti-scanner laws, and many states have codified this into their own laws, IIRC, this exemption ONLY applies to Amateur VHF, UHF, and/or multi-band transcievers that have incidental out-of-band reciever coverage of public safety frequencies. It DOES NOT apply to a licensed Amateur Radio operator who is in possession of a scanner radio.

It also does not apply to a licensed General Mobile Radio Service (GMRS) user who may own a new or used UHF land mobile radio that may be the same exact model used by local law enforcement, or which may be similar in appearance.

So, it is possible that a law enforcement officer could cite/arrest an ARS licensee, and confiscate the scanner(s) in their possession, and a prosecutor could attempt to prosecute the case with a judge's permission. For the GMRS licensee, a law enforcement officer or prosecutor may argue that the radio is capable of being programmed to a police or public safety frequency, especially if the licensee has a computer and the software to do so with them.

I'm not saying it has happened, and I'm not saying will happen. I'm saying the possibility is there. So, I would simply exercise caution in any state where an anti-scanner law is on the books.

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Old 07-18-2011, 9:52 AM
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Mobile Scanners legal here in Massachusetts, The state police have harassed me for having one in the car... I was assistant fire chief here in town and often I would respond in my own car in street clothes. Particularly to medical calls. Most often by rookie officers. I have also been harassed on the scene by rookie officers who felt the need to excersize authority and waste time. As long as you are not using the scanner to evade arrest or commit a crime you are legal. However, you are envading the police officers turf so to speak and they can be very territorial. If you do get pulled over shut the scanner off. If the officer questions its presence point out the fact that it is off. If you are suspected of commiting a crime kiss the scanner goodbye...
Trent Bradbury
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Old 07-24-2011, 6:22 PM
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I got pulled over recently for a tailpipe problem on my car, TWICE in the same day, a city unit and state trooper. I had the scanner off (handheld in the drink holder) but in plain site. Neither cop even acknowledged anything about me having a scanner in the car. So it would only be a problem if you were commiting an actual crime.
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Old 07-25-2011, 10:49 PM
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It is legal in NJ and in PA to have a scanner in your car. Unless you commit a crime while using one, then it's illegal.
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Old 07-26-2011, 10:06 AM
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Quote:
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i always thought that state law trumps city/county law, just like federal law trumps state law. am i wrong in assuming this or is it different for things like scanners, etc. ?
Thats why we have the executive,legislative, and judical where they are suppose to monitor each other. Check and Balance.
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