SCANNING IN MICHIGAN
The Michigan Legislature has seen fit to revamp the law and remove the previous requirement to have a permit in order to possess a scanner.

Act Number 39, Public Acts of 2006
Effective Date: May 31, 2006

Click here to access the Michigan State Legislature website. The new law is as follows:

THE MICHIGAN PENAL CODE (EXCERPT)
Act 328 of 1931

750.508 Equipping vehicle with radio able to receive signals on frequencies assigned for police or certain other purposes; violation; penalties; radar detectors not applicable.

Sec. 508.

(1) A person who has been convicted of 1 or more felonies during the preceding 5 years shall not carry or have in his or her possession a radio receiving set that will receive signals sent on a frequency assigned by the federal communications commission of the United States for police or other law enforcement, fire fighting, emergency medical, federal, state, or local corrections, or homeland security purposes. This subsection does not apply to a person who is licensed as an amateur radio operator by the federal communications commission. A person who violates this subsection is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment for not more than 1 year or a fine of not more than $1,000.00, or both.

(2) A person shall not carry or have in his or her possession in the commission or attempted commission of a crime a radio receiving set that will receive signals sent on a frequency assigned by the federal communications commission of the United States for police or other law enforcement, fire fighting, emergency medical, federal, state, or local corrections, or homeland security purposes. A person who violates this subsection is guilty of a crime as follows:

(a) If this subsection is violated in the commission or attempted commission of a misdemeanor punishable by a maximum term of imprisonment of at least 93 days but less than 1 year, the person is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment for not more than 1 year or a fine of not more than $1,000.00, or both.

(b) If this subsection is violated in the commission or attempted commission of a misdemeanor or felony punishable by a maximum term of imprisonment of 1 year or more, the person is guilty of a felony punishable by imprisonment for not more than 2 years or a fine of not more than $2,000.00, or both.

(3) Subsection (2) does not apply to a person who carries or has in his or her possession a radio receiving set described in subsection (2) in the commission or attempted commission of a misdemeanor punishable by a maximum term of imprisonment of less than 93 days.

(4) This section does not apply to the use of radar detectors.

History: 1931, Act 328, Eff. Sept. 18, 1931 ;-- Am. 1939, Act 295, Eff. Sept. 29, 1939 ;-- CL 1948, 750.508 ;-- Am. 1957, Act 242, Eff. Sept. 27, 1957 ;-- Am. 1990, Act 77, Imd. Eff. May 24, 1990 ;-- Am. 2002, Act 672, Eff. Mar. 31, 2003 ;-- Am. 2006, Act 39, Eff. May 31, 2006

Constitutionality: This section, which prohibits equipping or using a vehicle with a radio receiving set capable of receiving frequencies assigned for police purposes, was enacted to facilitate law enforcement activity. This section's restriction of persons permitted to monitor those frequencies involves classifications which are rationally related to the statute's objective, consistent with equal protection and due process guarantees. People v. Gilbert, 414 Mich. 191, 324 N.W.2d 834 (1982).

OLD SCANNER LAW
As silly as it sounds, in Michigan a permit was required in order to possess a scanner in a motor vehicle.

This is the actual text of the law, taken from http://www.michiganlegislature.org:

THE MICHIGAN PENAL CODE (EXCERPT)

Act 328 of 1931

750.508 Equipping vehicle with radio able to receive signals on frequencies assigned for police purposes; permit required; exceptions; misdemeanor; penalty; radar detectors not restricted. [M.S.A. 28.776 ]

Sec. 508. (1) Any person who shall equip a vehicle with a radio receiving set that will receive signals sent on frequencies assigned by the federal communications commission of the United States of America for police purposes, or use the same in this state unless such vehicle is used or owned by a peace officer, or a bona fide amateur radio operator holding a technician class, general, advanced, or extra class amateur license issued by the federal communications commission, without first securing a permit so to do from the director of the department of state police upon application as he or she may prescribe, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, punishable by imprisonment in the county jail for not more than 1 year, or by a fine of not more than $500.00, or by both fine and imprisonment in the discretion of the court.

(2) This section shall not be construed as restricting the use of radar detectors.

History: 1931, Act 328, Eff. Sept. 18, 1931 ;--Am. 1939, Act 295, Eff. Sept. 29, 1939 ;--CL 1948, 750.508 ;--Am. 1957, Act 242, Eff. Sept. 27, 1957 ;--Am. 1990, Act 77, Imd. Eff. May 24, 1990 .

Constitutionality: This section, which prohibits equipping or using a vehicle with a radio receiving set capable of receiving frequencies assigned for police purposes, was enacted to facilitate law enforcement activity. This section's restriction of persons permitted to monitor those frequencies involves classifications which are rationally related to the statute's objective, consistent with equal protection and due process guarantees. People v. Gilbert, 414 Mich. 191, 324 N.W.2d 834 (1982).

Former Law: See section 5 of Act 152 of 1929, being CL 1929, 578.

In general, permits are issued to any person, regardless of state of residence and do not require a processing or license fee. Amateur radio operators do not need a permit, since they are already exempted from the law, but they will need a copy of their FCC license if they are pulled over. The permit is good for three years, after which a form for a new one will be automatically mailed out.

An application may be requested from the Michigan State Police Communications Division at (517) 336-6240.
You may also download the form in Adobe PDF at www.michigan.gov/documents/com-022_8561_7.pdf, (Old link: www.mpscs.com/com-022.pdf), which you can print and mail in.

Questions regarding the application can be addressed by MSP Communications at (517) 336-6674.

Besides the standard name, address, social security number, questions, it asks

  • if the applicant has even been convicted of a crime
  • is a licensed amateur radio operation
    (if so, a permit will not be issued since hams are exempt)
  • is connected with a police or fire department
  • the reason for requesting the permit
    (entering "hobbyist" is apparently a good enough reason)

You must sign the form indicating that you will not use the scanner is the commission of a crime and that you won't pursue police cars.


Comments to
Dan Veeneman
Last updated June 17, 2006