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Ask A Trooper: Are radio scanners in motor vehicles legal?

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Base image from Minnesota Department of Public Safety.
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Question: I have a buddy who drives around with a scanner in his vehicle. He says because he has a ham radio license it’s legal, is that true?

Answer: Your friend is correct. Peace officers, the State Patrol, and people with an amateur radio license issued by the Federal Communications Commission are allowed to have a scanner in their vehicle. Emergency response personnel are also allowed to use scanners if they’re employed or authorized by the federal government, the state, or a political subdivision to provide fire suppression, police protection, emergency medical services, or emergency activities relating to health and safety and in compliance with the requirements of the state statute.

People not authorized to use a scanner could be found guilty of a misdemeanor. Second and subsequent offenses are gross misdemeanors.

People using such devices while committing or attempting to commit a felony could be convicted of a felony.

A portion of state statutes were used with permission from the Office of the Revisor of Statutes. If you have any questions concerning traffic related laws or issues in Minnesota, send your questions to Trp. Jesse Grabow – Minnesota State Patrol at 1000 Highway 10 West, Detroit Lakes, MN 56501-2205. (You can follow him on Twitter @MSPPIO_NW or reach him at, jesse.grabow@state.mn.us).

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Related Topics: ASK A TROOPERPUBLIC SAFETY
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