Driving in VA/DC with a radar detector
I'm a VA resident and VA is the only state that bans the operation of radar detectors (DC does as well). Just want to give those who might be driving through VA some information I gained the hard way - getting nabbed for a detector and learning about how the police knew I had one.
Virginia State Police use Radar Detector Detector (RDD) technology that detects the emissions from radar detectors (leaked signals from the local oscillator). The current RDD technology is Spectre III. These devices have directional antennas, so the operator is alerted when a vehicle with a radar detector passes through the area where the device is pointed.
VSP cars run the RDDs on heavily-traveled roads. When a vehicle passes by the RDD and the device alerts, this gives the officer probable cause to stop and SEARCH the vehicle for a radar detector; they will, of course, be looking for other contraband during the search and looking for other signs of malfeasance. They used to seize the detectors, but someone took it to the VA Supreme Court, which ruled the seizures unlawful. Now you just get a citation, which is not a moving violation, so it carries no points. It's not cheap, though. In my case, it was a $70 citation, but with court costs was around $140. Costs vary by the jurisdiction (county) where the violation occurs.
There are shielded radar detectors that can defeat RDD. There are currently 2 on the market that have been shown to defeat Spectre III in tests: the Escort RedLine and the Beltronics STi Magnum, There are other detectors that claim to be shielded, but they apparently do not defeat Spectre III. So this is a cat-and-mouse game. I'm outfitting my new Genny with a RedLine.
Heads up if passing through VA.