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Lawmoe, Criminal Defense Lawyer
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 2415
Experience:  More than 19 years of experience as a Criminal Defense Lawyer
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can someone get arrested for having a scanner in thier car

Resolved Question:

can someone get arrested for having a scanner in thier car?
Submitted: 8 years ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  Lawmoe replied 8 years ago.

The answer depends on your state and the type of scanner and its use


Several states require a permit or FCC amateur license for mobile police scanner usage. New York and Florida are suxch states. Radio scanners that are decryption-capable would be a violation of FCC regularions and United States law.


In the United States, it is always illegal to use a a radio scanner to:

  • listen in on cellular and cordless phone calls
  • intercept encrypted or scrambled communications
  • sell or import radio scanners that are capable of receiving cellular phone frequencies (Note: This rule does not apply to sales by individuals and radio scanners made before 1985)
  • modify radio scanners so that cellular phone frequencies can be received
  • use information received for personal gain use information received to aid in the commission of a crime, or
  • disclose information received to other persons


Possible offenses vary as well. It is a felony in most statees to intercept a call between other individuals. Possessing a scanner in violation of the law is often a misdemeanor level offense.


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Customer: replied 8 years ago.
I know the basics, I've read all of this online already. I'm wonder ing how common it is, that a cop would actually care in new york city and how serious an offense it is?
Expert:  Lawmoe replied 8 years ago.

The New York law appears below. It is a misdemeanor punishable by up to 6 months in jail. In most instances, if the scanner is noticed, you would be cited. However, often, if you were stopped for a greater infraction, the officer will cite you only for the more serious infraction.






A person, not a police officer or peace officer, acting pursuant to his special duties, who equips a motor vehicle with a radio receiving set capable of receiving signals on the frequencies allocated for police use or knowingly uses a motor vehicle so equipped or who in any way knowingly interferes with the transmission of radio messages by the police without having first secured a permit to do so from the person authorized to issue such a permit by the local governing body or board of the city, town or village in which such person resides, or where such person resides outside of a city, or village in a county having a county police department by the board of supervisors of such county, is guilty of a misdemeanor, punishable by a fine not exceeding one thousand dollars, or imprisonment not exceeding six months, or both.

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