Mobile scanning Legal?

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cola

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What are the legalities involved in driving around with a scanner? Is there somewhere I can check for my area?
 

SCPD

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What are the legalities involved in driving around with a scanner? Is there somewhere I can check for my area?
According to your post you live in Texas and there are no laws in Texas about the use scanners in vehicles. However many States have laws about using a scanner in a crime.
 

cola

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Thanks everyone for the info and the link that's what I was looking for.
 

kb2vxa

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"However many States have laws about using a scanner in a crime."

It's a federal statute prohibiting use of a radio, any kind of radio in the commission or facilitation of a crime so for all intents and purposes every state has the same prohibition. Leave it to New Jersey and it's little quirks, the state statute mirrors the federal word for word, otherwise there is no prohibition.

Just a word of caution, just because it's OK on the state level doesn't say the County Mounties and/or the Local Yokels don't have other ideas. Even if there are no county or municipal ordinances (and they do exist) the fuzzy ones still may give you a hassle being they don't like being monitored so just use a little practical discretion like pretty much anything when dealing with them, or in other words "don't shove it in the cop's face".
 

kb2vxa

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Originally Posted by kb2vxa
It's a federal statute prohibiting use of a radio, any kind of radio in the commission or facilitation of a crime.

"While that may be the case, I've looked for the federal statute and didn't find it. Do you have a citation?"

Not offhand, I'd have the same difficulty searching the United States Code the FCC relies on for it's citations as you do. You might try searching the forums, I've seen what you're looking for but don't remember just where I saw it.

"Keep in mind that free legal advice on the Internet is often worth what you've paid for it."

Now what's THAT supposed to mean as if this topic hasn't been gone over so many times with so many citations and references we can't remember what we've read? That's what these forums are for, why pay for what is right here at your fingertips for free? Some may pull information out of thin air, I for one don't and as an Amateur I have done my homework as not to run afoul of the law being my radio hobbies are all closely related. Not that I am one of them but we have quite a few experts in their fields here, plenty of excellent advice and information is available if you ask the right questions.
 
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I'm new here but just wanted to say one thing. I too live in Texas and my town, The Colony, has a law that you cannot be mobile with your scanner unless you are registered with the town and I think there is a small fee, maybe $10.
 

rvictor

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It's a federal statute prohibiting use of a radio, any kind of radio in the commission or facilitation of a crime.

"While that may be the case, I've looked for the federal statute and didn't find it. Do you have a citation?"

Not offhand, I'd have the same difficulty searching the United States Code the FCC relies on for it's citations as you do. You might try searching the forums, I've seen what you're looking for but don't remember just where I saw it.
I don't share your difficulty searching the U.S.C., nor the C.F.R., since I've done so professionally for the last 40 years. Nonetheless, my initial search failed to find the provision that you're sure exists. It may, but so far no one has been able to provide me with a citation. In the absence of a citation, its existence is questionable. In my profession, one backs up assertions with citations to statutes and/or cases. Just thought that you might know the citation since you're so sure that it's the law.

"Keep in mind that free legal advice on the Internet is often worth what you've paid for it."

Now what's THAT supposed to mean as if this topic hasn't been gone over so many times with so many citations and references we can't remember what we've read? That's what these forums are for, why pay for what is right here at your fingertips for free? Some may pull information out of thin air, I for one don't and as an Amateur I have done my homework as not to run afoul of the law being my radio hobbies are all closely related. Not that I am one of them but we have quite a few experts in their fields here, plenty of excellent advice and information is available if you ask the right questions.
I think the meaning is pretty clear. What that means is that when you get on a forum such as this, you get a bunch of people who think they know the law giving advice which may or may not be worth a damn. Generally, they fail to cite the authority for their assertions just as you have. Some of them are knowledgeable and provide correct information and some don't despite good intentions. The problem is to determine which is which.

An answer which is correct with respect to one jurisdiction may be absolutely incorrect with respect to another. The law today may not be the law tomorrow due to the passage of new laws or the issuance of new court opinions. Slight changes in the underlying facts can change the outcome 180 degrees. Some questions have no absolute answers because they have yet to be litigated in the particular jurisdiction with the particular facts. Sometimes two courts of equal status will decide cases in a conflicting manner which will not be resolved until a court of greater status decides which one is "correct".

From your posts, I gather you have a technical background. Would you say that everything that you read here of a technical nature is accurate and correct? I assume not. Then why would you assume that all the legal opinions are any better?

Federal law is complex even for attorneys. Those without appropriate training, experience, and research resources may not get it right. Just because I can look up information on brain surgery on the Internet doesn't make me a brain surgeon. The same goes for legal matters. Fortunately, the consequences aren't usually as serious. They can, however, be sufficiently serious as to require one to spend considerable time and money resolving the problems created by following bad advice.

I don't have the time, desire, nor intention of providing legal advice on every question of a legal nature that hits these forums. I do, however, feel it appropriate to point out the risks of accepting, at face value, all that one reads here. Everyone is free to disregard my advice regarding free opinions posted here just as they are free to disregard the free opinions.

Dick
 
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tampabaynews

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I would look up your state's official website and search for laws and statues. If you call a law enforcement agency you'll probably be speaking to a dispatcher, so asking for a sworn supervisor would be your best bet. In my neck of the woods, dispatchers are not taught all the state laws, just the basics. Heck, even some law enforcement officers in my area don't know what the laws are without breaking out the book.
 

KE5TLF

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Don't have a clue about a specific statute that specifically states using a radio to commit a crime is illegal....HOWEVER.....

Using a radio band for anything other than it's intended purpose IS illegal and I'm pretty sure there isn't a "criminal use only" band allotted by any regulatory authourity anywhere. ;)

That is a fact.....
 

cola

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Don't have a clue about a specific statute that specifically states using a radio to commit a crime is illegal....HOWEVER.....

Using a radio band for anything other than it's intended purpose IS illegal and I'm pretty sure there isn't a "criminal use only" band allotted by any regulatory authourity anywhere. ;)

That is a fact.....
I think what law the previous poster is stating is one that says not to commit a crime and listen to your scanner while you commit that crime, in order to find out what leo is up to regarding the crime that you are committing. I would say modifying a scanner to listen to encrypted freq's etc. is what you are commenting on here which is illegal as well. I also read somewhere that if you are scanning and go to a location of an incident and interfere etc. you are committing a crime involving your scanner also. Feel free to comment anyone here if you can clarify. thanks.
 

DickH

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... I do, however, feel it appropriate to point out the risks of accepting, at face value, all that one reads here. ... Dick
Exactly as it should be. I never accept anything I can't read for myself.
 

kb2vxa

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That's the trouble with some people and frankly I hate being called a liar even when couched in terms. That is what you have done for all practical purposes and I resent the innuendo. Perhaps you have never heard of a man's honor but be that as it may. If you can't take me at my word don't take me at all, in other words just ignore me without comment, please.
 

rvictor

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That's the trouble with some people and frankly I hate being called a liar even when couched in terms. That is what you have done for all practical purposes and I resent the innuendo. Perhaps you have never heard of a man's honor but be that as it may. If you can't take me at my word don't take me at all, in other words just ignore me without comment, please.
My original question was to try to find the source of an often asserted, but not readily apparent, law. You said you didn't know the source.

I am neither claiming nor implying that you are a liar. I am claiming, and you are admitting, that you can't provide the source of your assertion. You may well have read it "somewhere", but that's a far cry from providing a source by which one might actually read and understand the implications of the claimed law.

If it is improper to ask people to provide some basis for things that they assert as facts, then I'm guilty. Most people understand the concept and don't try to hide behind accusations that such requests are an insult. They are only insulting to those that think they know everything and are beyond having to provide some reasonable basis for what they post.

You have the right to post as you please and I have a similar right to question the basis for your assertions so that others might either have the benefit of knowing the basis or knowing that you have no such basis.

Frankly, there may actually be a law similar to what has been asserted, but if it exists, it would be very helpful to know exactly what it says so that we can understand its scope.

Is it a federal crime to remove my scanner from my belt and beat someone with it? I'd be using a radio in committing a crime. Is the company that sold me the scanner an accessory?

What about planning to rob a bank and deciding that I would only want to do so on a day on which there would be no snow so as to not get delayed in my getaway by snowy roads? If I listen to the NOAA weather radio to find out the weather forecast, have I violated "the law"? If I use my GPS to find my way to the bank, does that violate "the law" since the GPS is a radio receiver?

The point isn't that one can think of silly examples, but rather that criminal laws are interpreted strictly by their terms and, therefore, one must know what they say in order to understand them. Unlike horseshoes and hand grenades, close does not count.

Dick
 
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