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N2OR ON SCANNER LAWS

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NEW YORK STATE HAS AN ANTIQUATED LAW WHEN IT COMES TO HAVING "SCANNING" TYPE RADIOS IN MOTOR VEHICLES. THE LAW IN QUESTION IS SECTION 397 OF THE N.Y.S. VEHICLE AND TRAFFIC LAW. THIS LAW PROHIBITS HAVING A RADIO CAPABLE OF RECEIVING POLICE FREQUENCIES IN MOTOR VEHICLES IN MOST CASES. THE ROOTS OF THIS LAW CAN BE TRACED BACK AS FAR AS 1933 IN THE PENAL LAW THAT EXISTED AT THAT TIME, AND EXISTS PRIMARILY IN ITS PRESENT FORM SINCE IT WAS ADDED TO THE VEHICLE AND TRAFFIC LAW IN 1967. THE LAW WAS WRITTEN AT A TIME WHEN ONE COULD HAVE A "SCANNER" IN THEIR MOTOR VEHICLES WITH CRYSTALS FOR FREQUENCIES FOR FIRE, EMS, BUSINESS, ETC. WITHOUT HAVING POLICE FREQUENCIES. TODAY'S TECHNOLOGY HAS REPLACED THE OLD CRYSTAL UNITS WITH DIRECT PROGRAMMABLE SCANNERS WHICH, BY THEIR VERY NATURE CANNOT EXCLUDE POLICE FREQUENCIES, AND THEREFOR CANNOT BE USED IN MOTOR VEHICLES EVEN IF THE PERSON HAS NO INTEREST IN, OR NO DESIRE TO LISTEN TO POLICE BROADCASTS. THIS LAW PREVENTS LAW ABIDING CITIZENS FROM LISTENING TO A SCANNER IN THEIR OWN MOTOR VEHICLE. EVEN AMATEUR RADIO OPERATORS, WHO HAVE CERTAIN LEGAL PROTECTION IN THIS LAW, HAVE IN FACT BEEN CHARGED WITH VIOLATING §397! ANY POLICE OR OTHER LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCY MAY SCRAMBLE THEIR RADIO SIGNALS. IT IS ILLEGAL TO "DESCRAMBLE" THESE SIGNALS.


ITS TIME TO MAKE CHANGES IN THE LAW!!!


MY REMEDY TO CORRECT THIS LAW IS AS FOLLOWS:


1. REPEAL SECTION 397 OF THE VEHICLE AND TRAFFIC LAW.

LAW TEXT OF §397
2. AMEND SECTION 140.40 OF THE PENAL LAW TO BROADEN ITS SCOPE TO INCLUDE ALL FELONIES.
CURRENT NY PENAL LAW §140.40

•PROPOSED DRAFT FOR NEW YORK STATE PENAL LAW §140.40•

§140.40. Unlawful possession of radio devices.
As used in this section, the term "radio device" means any device capable of receiving a wireless voice transmission on any frequency allocated for police use, or any device capable of transmitting and receiving a wireless voice transmission. A person is guilty of unlawful possession of a radio device when he possess a radio device with the intent to use that device in the commission of robbery, burglary, larceny, gambling or a violation of any provision of article two hundred twenty of the penal law a felony.
Unlawful possession of a radio device is a class B misdemeanor
Matter UNDERSCORED is new. Matter STRICKEN is old law to be removed.

3. NEW YORK STATE PREEMPTION OF ANY LOCAL LAWS.

Such as §10-102 of the New York City Administrative Code
(38 RCNY § 7-01 et seq.), etc.


VIEW THE NEW YORK SCANNING LAWS WEB SITE

Important, take note that FEDERAL law prohibits transmitting malicious interference on any frequency and N.Y. STATE law prohibits transmitting interference on safety frequencies.

It is worth noting that CONNECTICUT, NEW JERSEY (which REPEALED a law similar to New York's V&T §397 in 1991), and most other states do not prohibit radios capable of receiving police frequencies in motor vehicles. Here is an excellent web site U.S. SCANNING LAWS regarding laws on scanners and radar detectors across the United States, you will find that New York's law is particularly onerous compared to other states!

Visit this web site SCANNING LAW REFERENCE for information on federal and state communications laws.


IT IS ALSO WORTH NOTING THAT FEDERAL LAW
§47USC301
PROHIBITS UNLICENSED RADIO TRANSMISSIONS


BILL DRAFT

REPEALS §397 AND STRENGTHENS §140.40

AN ACT
TO AMEND THE PENAL LAW AND THE VEHICLE AND TRAFFIC LAW IN RELATION TO RADIO DEVICES USED IN CRIMES


The People of the State of New York, represented in Senate and Assembly, do enact as follows:

01 Section 1. Section three hundred ninety-seven of
02 the vehicle and traffic law, as amended by chapter
03 843 of the laws of 1980, is hereby REPEALED.
04
05 §2. Section 140.40 of the penal law is hereby
06 amended to read as follows:
07 §140.40. Unlawful possession of radio devices.
08 As used in this section, the term "radio device"
09 means any device capable of receiving a wireless
10 voice transmission on any frequency allocated
11 for police use, or any device capable
12 of transmitting and receiving a wireless voice
13 transmission. A person is guilty of unlawful
14 possession of a radio device when he possess a
15 radio device with the intent to use that device in
16 the commission of robbery, burglary, larceny,
17 gambling or a violation of any provision of
18 article two hundred twenty of the penal law
19 a felony.
20 Unlawful possession of a radio device is a class B
21 misdemeanor.
22
23 §3. This act shall take effect on the first day of
24 November, next succeeding the date on which it
25 shall have become a law.


Matter UNDERSCORED is New. Matter Stricken is old law to be omitted.


DISCLAIMER
The information presented here is designed to inform amateur radio operators of laws that may affect them. It should not be interpreted as legal advice. All opinions are those of the respective authors.

I would like to thank Dave NF2G, Paul N3EYQ, Todd KB4MHH, and Clay N2VKG for providing these excellent web resources I have referenced above!

NEW YORK STATE CELLULAR TELEPHONE LAW

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