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Measure, counter-measure; ever since police began using more forms of technology to assist them in detecting and apprehending traffic violators, people have sought ways to avoid or to defeat that technology. One ongoing battle in this regard has been the contest between police use of radar and laser detectors to measure speed, and devices meant for consumer use to alert drivers to the presence of such devices. Different states have adopted various legal responses to the proliferation of radar and laser detectors, and this can lead to some confusion about their legal status in New York.

No matter what the circumstances are, if you have been cited for speeding and you believe that there are either extenuating or mitigating circumstances on your behalf, or you just cannot afford another speeding ticket, you will need the help of a dedicated New York traffic attorney in your defense.

So can you use a radar or laser detector? The answer is, "It depends." It depends on what kind of vehicle that you are driving:

  • If you are driving a commercial vehicle with a gross weight of five tons or more, you cannot use such a device.
  • If you are driving any kind of vehicle that weighs nine tons or more the law also prohibits your use of a radar or laser detector.

So in short, unless you are driving a commercial vehicle of a certain weight, or a particularly large sized vehicle, having a radar or laser detector in your car is not illegal. The question remains, however, whether you would really want to use one. A famous football coach once said, "When you throw the football, three things can happen -- and two of them are bad." It may be the same way with these kinds of devices.

They may alert you to the presence of police radar or laser usage, but they may not, too. And they may also give you a false sense of confidence that might encourage you to drive too fast beyond the speed limit. Either way, over-reliance on this technology may not help, and can actually hurt your desire to avoid being pulled over for speeding.

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