You cannot be convicted of “fleeing and eluding” an unmarked police car.
In 2012, two people were shot and killed in Mississippi by a police impersonator who used what looked like an unmarked police car to pull them over.
And just last week in Arizona, a man was criminally charged after pulling a woman over into a neighborhood by using what looked like an unmarked police car.
Unmarked police cars can pose legitimate concerns and confusion.
If you ever have concerns that a vehicle attempting to pull you over may not be the police, you should not immediately stop. The law protects you. You cannot be convicted of “fleeing and eluding” an unmarked police car.
Courts have consistently held that in order to be guilty of fleeing and eluding the police, the police car must be “marked.” This means it must have an identifying mark, sign, symbol or insignia identifying the vehicle as a police cruiser. Flashing lights and a siren is not enough to constitute a “marked” police car.
So here’s what you can you do if an unmarked vehicle comes up behind you with flashing lights and siren but you think it may not be a real officer:
- Call 9-1-1 and tell the operator that someone is trying to pull you over but you think he might be a police impersonator. Give your location and stay on the line. You’ll know pretty quickly if it’s a real officer.
- Ask yourself if you’ve done something to deserve being pulled over or did the unmarked car seem to appear out of nowhere?
- Slow down and signal your intent to pull over but pull over only in a well-lighted place with a lot of people around.
- Keep your doors locked and only crack the window enough to ask the “officer” to see his credentials. If he refuses or simply flashes them, ask for him to call another officer to the scene. That is your right.
- If the “officer” starts acting in an odd or threatening manner when you ask for his credentials, put the car in gear and drive to the nearest police station.
It’s better to be safe than sorry and to continue driving to well-lit place with a lot of people. Your safety is paramount, and you won't be found guilty of “fleeing and eluding” an unmarked police car.
Dedicated to protecting and advancing your rights,