BMW driver faces jail for laser jammer

BMW driver jailed for 3 months for using laser jammer

A driver in England has earned a hefty fine and a short jail stay. The reason? His BMW was equipped with a laser jamming device, and that’s a big no-no. Michael Twizell added the signal disruptor to the nose of his BMW but the police managed to figure out something was afoot.

Twizell’s BMW drove past a police safety camera van, but the camera recorded an error message. The officers were curious as to the cause of the error code so they investigated and discovered the illegal jamming device.

That led to a court date for Mr. Twizell. He pleaded guilty to a charge of perverting the course of justice. For doing so, he was given a three-month jail sentence and a fine of $1,900. That’s a hell of a fine for running a jammer. The cash bit we get, but three months in jail seems a bit steep. At least Mr. Twizell wasn’t running his illegal BMW in Virginia though, as we’re pretty sure the sentence for such a crime is death by stoning.

If you break the law and you’re caught, you deserve to deal with the fines heading your way. But a three-month jail term for someone trying to avoid speeding tickets seems excessive. Regardless, we have to assume he knew what he was getting into when he had the system installed on his BMW.

If you do the crime, you do the time… but damn, that’s a lot of time here.

[Source: Fox News via Twitter]

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23 responses to “BMW driver jailed for 3 months for using laser jammer”

  1. Batshitbox Avatar

    Three months is more of a “driving down the exit lane then diving back into slow traffic right at the end” kind of sentence, the fine for which, in my book, would be all your rims and tires. All of them, baby strollers included.

  2. Sjalabais Avatar

    Not sure how reasonable this is, but the offense in itself is so stupid and unnecessary, finding a wee dose of compassion is hard.

  3. smalleyxb122 Avatar

    To protect Michael Twizell’s privacy, his plate has been obscured in the image.

  4. outback_ute Avatar

    I remember speaking to a guy who claimed to have a radar jammer on his vehicle over 15 years ago; note that radar detectors are illegal here. Having a detector was I think a $10k fine, not sure about jammers.

    The harshness of the penalty says “we really don’t want you to do this”

  5. 0A5599 Avatar

    Three months in jail might seem like an excessive penalty for using a laser jammer in a BMW, but it’s a relative slap on the wrist compared to the penalty for using a turn signal in one.

  6. Victor Avatar

    Must be a habitual offender with a long record. That is not a first offense sentence.

  7. Victor Avatar

    Some of you might remember Atomic Toasters ? The archives are gone. Must have been recently. But no trace remains.

    1. mdharrell Avatar

      I noticed that several days ago, too. I’ve been wondering whether it was an unintentional (or even intentional) consequence of the hosting issues that affected Hooniverse recently and whether it is permanent.

      1. Victor Avatar

        Sad to see it gone , it was a great archive.

    2. HycoSpeed Avatar

      Seems gone, which is unfortunate. But not without trace, thanks to the Internet Archive! Saved 217 times!*/

  8. roguetoaster Avatar

    In the US: Laser jammers/interference devices are legal except where explicitly prohibited by states. Whereas, radar jammers/interference devices are illegal on a federal level unless you magically have a permit for the operation of such a device.

    In the UK: When I looked at this last year the devices themselves are legal, but using them to hinder law enforcement in any way (including in a legal use case/installation, even passively) can net a perverting the course of justice charge that is typically 4-36 months. It’s unfortunately become a catch all, much like the dreaded ASBO (like a restraining order preventing you from doing some action) which can be netted for things in the US where cops will give you a thumbs up.

    Grr, I think that when playing the game of catch the speeder the speeders shouldn’t be blindfolded and have their arms tied behind their backs, it’s unfair.

    1. nanoop Avatar

      A train of thought I would understand is: you can know where we are (navigation warnings, detectors are ok) but you must not hinder us from measuring your speed (no active nor passive countermeasures).
      This is where speed limit enforcement serves safety. We have crazy tunnels here, where speeding locals molest the rear bumper of the pass-byers, and the resulting accidents are rare but substantial.

      I understand that punishment by moving you off the road for a while is more effective than money fines among the more affluent speeders, but I would expect this to be regulated by locking away the driver licence, not the driver.

  9. Rover 1 Avatar
    Rover 1

    These jammers are best used in conjunction with a good quality radar/laser detector like a Valentine and used as part of a warning system. It is a good idea to wire them to default to ‘off’ after a few seconds of jamming, so that a speed is recorded on their device rather than an error message, after, of course, you’ve been able to brake hard and ascertain your speed is indeed below the limit. If you’re feeling extra sneaky, you can coat your number plates with non-reflective film laid in a varied grid pattern to confuse number plate readers, this may or may not include covering the non-reflective black letters with black looking reflective film.

    Or so I’ve heard.

  10. ptschett Avatar

    [Gordon R. Dickson’s “Computers Don’t Argue” intensifies]

  11. Rust-MyEnemy Avatar

    Much as I loathe static speed camera vans, which always seem to be located where there’s the best possible opportunity for revenue generation, it strikes me that this guy was being deliberately defiant in an effort to be unbridled by traffic law. For that “I can do anything I damn well like” attitude, the prison sojourn is justified.

    Laser / Radar detectors? Fine. It could even be argued that their warning of a speed trap ahead better alerts you to the fact that you’re driving through an area where excess speed has been identified as dangerous – the usual justification used for establishing a speed trap. To deliberately place yourself beyond the reach of the law, though, seems rather unsavoury.

    1. Zentropy Avatar

      I once had a weekly work commute of nearly 1400 miles (480 of which was through the state of Virginia), and I never used a jammer or a detector. In 2.5 years of such travel, I didn’t get a single speeding ticket, despite routinely exceeding interstate limits by up to 20 mph. If you’re truly focused on driving and pick your opportunities wisely, such devices are largely unnecessary. Using them where illegal equates to announcement of guilt.

  12. crank_case Avatar

    *sigh* – the moral panic of the British Isles over “speeding”

    What the dude did is against the law, so he’s kinda dumb for doing it, on the other hand in the UK and Republic of Ireland, the approach to speeding can be often excessively heavy handed in terms of penalties, which might make sense if the rest of the criminal justice system matched up in similar levels of intolerance. (Ireland and the UK share similar “common law” legal systems). Meanwhile absolute scum who commit violent offences/theft get off on suspended sentences / make bail and go reoffend, often with little repercussion.

  13. Zentropy Avatar

    I think highway speed limits are in place solely as a moneymaker. In town, where intersections and pedestrians are common, limits are absolutely necessary and ignoring them could likely lead to damage, harm, or death. Those should be strictly enforced and fines should be steep. On limited-access highways and interstates, I think enforcement of limits should be relaxed. However, what should be punished severely is tailgating, lane weaving, and (in the U.S.) driving in the fast lane when not passing.

    1. neight428 Avatar

      The guy that did the Youtube video around speed limits and enforcement around Vancouver BC did a very thorough job showing how shallow the authorities’ reasoning is on the “safety” angle of speeding. They honestly don’t care at this point, they say the word “safety” and then don’t hear anything else anyone says.

    2. 0A5599 Avatar

      I was crossing the middle of nowhere at speed limit:floorboard. I was suddenly overtaken by a Charger SRT that had much deeper floorboards than mine. Probably a speed difference of 40 mph. I thought his passing skills needed improvement.

      About 20 miles up the road, a trooper thought so, too.

    3. outback_ute Avatar

      That is pretty much the case on UK motorways, you can usually do 80-90 mph not the posted 70 (at least that was the case 10 years ago, has it changed?).

      I don’t think they put camera vans on their motorways either, and this guy was caught on the A658 in North Yorkshire – not exactly wide open spaces.

      I wonder how fast he was actually going. If a little over the limit (maybe not at all?) using the jammer is pretty dumb, or maybe he was going really fast and this is how they are getting him for that too.

  14. SlowJoeCrow Avatar

    It’s more comprehensible if you change the charge to “breaking the government’s lucrative business model”. Then 3 months in jail makes sense to discourage others.

  15. KentMB1 Avatar

    Hmph. In some neighborhoods of Chicago, you can commit murder scot-free. It’d suck to have to go to prison for trying to find a loophole so you can speed a little.