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Laser Jammer Device Laws in California

by Michael Rogers

Before laser jammers became popular, drivers used radar detectors together with radar jammers to avoid falling into a speed trap. The radar detectors detect the signal from a radar gun while the radar jammer prevents the gun from reading your speed. However, police departments now use laser speed guns or LiDAR guns to check the speed of moving vehicles.

Only laser jammers can stop laser or LiDAR guns from reading your speed. Before you go buy yourself a laser jammer, you should know what the law says about these devices.

How do Laser Jammers work?

Initially, laser jammers were designed to shoot an overpowering light beam at a laser speed gun. But this made it easier for law enforcement to spot when someone was using these devices. Modern laser jammers use a combination of sensors, receivers, and LEDs to detect and distort signals from laser speed guns.

That means that the laser speed gun receives an error response and cannot provide an accurate measurement of your vehicle’s speed. In such situations, the police officer using the laser speed gun will think that they aimed the gun incorrectly.

What's California's laser jammer law?

The California Vehicle Code 28150 is the most relevant law for anyone thinking of using a laser jammer in the state. The law says the following:

  • You should not equip your vehicle with a device that can interfere with any electronic device that law enforcement uses to measure the speed of moving vehicles
  • You should not manufacture, sell, or distribute a device that interferes with, radar speed guns, or any other electronic device that law enforcement uses to measure the speed of a vehicle.
  • Using any device that can interfere with a police officer's speed gun is an infraction
  • You can be charged with a misdemeanor if you are found using or buying four or more devices that can jam police laser speed guns or similar devices.

This law specifically targets devices that jam, neutralize, or disable the electronic devices law enforcement uses to measure the speed of moving vehicles.

What happens to people arrested for using laser jammers?

People found using four or more laser jammers on their vehicles can be charged with a misdemeanor. Anyone convicted of a misdemeanor may be incarcerated for a maximum of 6 months or 364 days in a local jail and may have to pay up to $1,000 in fines.

The severity of the punishments depends on the nature of the crime. So, you may get a less severe penalty if it’s your first offense rather than if it’s a subsequent offense. For other types of misdemeanors such as public intoxication or disorderly conduct, there are additional collateral consequences.

For example, the offender may have trouble qualifying for affordable housing programs and finding suitable rentals.

What if you are a first-time offender?

In California, first-time offenders can request a pre-trial diversion program. If you qualify, you will be expected to attend a class that can help you deal with the issues that have caused you to break the law. The prosecutor may drop your criminal charge if you complete the program.

This program can help you avoid the collateral consequences of going through the criminal justice system. An experienced attorney can help you determine whether this is the right option for your misdemeanor case.

Misdemeanor probation and house arrest

A court may impose a misdemeanor probation if you are a first-time offender. While this keeps you out of county jail, you have to meet all the terms and conditions of the probation. The terms of probation may include doing community service for a certain period of time or agreeing to random drug tests.

You have to follow probation terms or the court may revoke your probation and impose a jail sentence on you.

It is not unusual for a judge to impose jail time even if it’s a first offense. Most of the time people convicted for using laser jammers may serve their sentence through house arrest or electronic monitoring. Judges are more likely to impose a jail sentence if the misdemeanor is severe.

What Is an Infraction?

Police can cite you for an infraction for using a laser jammer. Remember that this only applies if you are using fewer than four devices that can interfere with police speed guns. An infraction is not considered a crime. Instead, it is a minor violation of the law.

In California, you will be fined up to $250 for an infraction. But you may still go to jail if you do not pay the fine.

Difference between a laser jammers & laser detector

When an officer aims a laser speed gun at your vehicle, a thin beam of light shoots from the gun to your vehicle. The light beam allows the laser speed gun to measure your vehicle’s speed. A laser detector detects this light beam and alerts you. Laser detectors are often built into radar detectors.

Laser detectors give you time to slow down before the laser speed gun determines the speed of your vehicle. But you cannot always rely on these detectors to warn you on time.

A laser jammer will not only detect the emitted light but also release pulses back at the speed gun preventing it from making a reading.

What are radar detectors?

Radar detectors are often confused with laser jammers because they have similar functions. The difference is that radar detectors can only detect radar guns. Some people buy brands that come with a built-in laser detector to allow them to detect LiDAR or laser speed guns.

There are also devices called radar jammers. Their limitation is that they can only jam devices that use the K and X radars. Modern radars allow police to detect such radar jammers.

You may need an attorney

A person charged with a misdemeanor needs an experienced lawyer to guide them through the legal process. Your attorney will know the best strategy to use in your case to help keep you out of jail. An experienced lawyer can answer all your legal questions and explain all the options you have in your case. Auto Allies can help! Call us today if you need help with your laser jammer case.