In Philadelphia, law enforcement employs a variety of tactics to catch drivers breaking the law. One of these tacts is the use of unmarked cars, which means that in some cases it may be an unmarked vehicle that ends up pulling a driver over. Below, an experienced Philadelphia DUI lawyer discusses what to know about being pulled over by an unmarked vehicle and what you should do to make sure your rights are completely protected. This includes everything from spotting the officers badge to what you should avoid. To learn more or discuss your case in more detail, call and schedule a consultation with an attorney today.
Even in unmarked vehicles, an officer will often have a light and/or siren that is turned on. The light is placed on the top of the unmarked vehicle in a similar fashion a marked police cruiser should be and the siren should sound consistent to a marked police cruiser.
When the officer gets out of the vehicle to approach, they should have their badge in a position where it’s easily visible and it should be a Philadelphia police officer’s badge. If at any time you feel unsure about who you’re being stopped by, it is reasonable to call 911 and tell the dispatcher that you’re being stopped by a police officer in an unmarked car and you want verification that they are actually police officers.
Under those circumstances, you can protect yourself and in a lot of ways even the actual officers following you would feel more at ease given that you’ve corroborated the fact that they’re police officers and that you’re being pulled over.
Being pulled over by anyone in any type of situation, even a marked car, in the middle of the evening can be a stressful experience. But being pulled over by a car that’s not even marked where individuals in plain clothes are approaching you, some of which may even have a gun on their waistband, is more than fearful.
As a result, you should take all precautions by dialing 911, asking the officers for more additional information, their badge and telling them simply, “I don’t know you’re an officer, I’m scared, can you please call your sergeant or lieutenant to the scene,” and they are required to by police protocol to call a marked cruiser with uniformed officers and/or their sergeant or a lieutenant available that night to the scene to verify exactly what’s going on. You are well within your rights to request that and most attorneys recommend it be done.
In some cases if you have the ability, you can even call your attorney and ask your attorney what to do. If you’re able to reach your attorney, in a lot of cases, the attorney can speak with the police to verify they are who they are.
Many of the biggest mistakes to avoid when being pulled over involve failing to properly pull your vehicle over. A person will often make the mistake of being too picky in choosing a location to pull their vehicle over which ultimately leads to a motor vehicle violation for not yielding way for an emergency vehicle or criminal charges which can be charged as high as a felony. This can be the prerequisite for reasonable suspicion and/or probable cause to submit a person to a breathalyzer and/or a blood test for possible DUI.
So not pulling over immediately is at the forefront.
Among other big mistakes are when an officer asked you if you’ve been drinking, you have no reason to answer the question yes. In fact in no way will that help you at any time with that night or at a later time at trial. Remember statements can be used against you especially if you offer them to the officer.
In addition, the last mistake is for individuals who tend to get out of their vehicle. During a traffic stop if you get out of your vehicle before an officer approaches, an officer often feels threatened and then what would have been a routine traffic stop and even a warning can move up two or three levels to a later incarceration. What you don’t want to ever do is put yourself in a position where an officer feels their life is being threatened and then the consequences are on the driver of the vehicle.