Can I Get Ticketed By an Off-Duty Police Officer?
We are thankful for our law enforcement personnel who sacrifice their lives every day to protect our rights and our safety. As citizens, we expect police officers to be honest, respectful, and un-biased figures of society, so that we may trust them to carry out their duties responsibly.
But sometimes, a cop can exhibit overconfidence and carry out personal agendas that are not necessarily a positive contribution to our communities. One common example of this involves off-duty cops and unmarked police vehicles. Continue reading to learn about your rights as a citizen in the case that you are pulled over by an off-duty police officer in an unmarked vehicle.
Off-Duty and Unmarked
Have ever been pulled over by an unmarked police vehicle? They appear to look like any other normal vehicle on the road, and then all of a sudden, you see their flashing lights and sirens in your rearview mirror. Unmarked police cars are purposeful and used in several types of investigations and routine applications. So if you are pulled over in one, by a cop that is actually on-duty, then you are being legally pulled over. However, if you were pulled over by an off-duty police officer in an unmarked vehicle and out of uniform, the situation changes.
According to Indiana Code § 9-30-2-2:
A law enforcement officer that is off the clock and driving in an unmarked vehicle does not have the authority to pull someone over and issue them a citation or ticket.
Accordingly, any evidence gathered by the police officer during an unauthorized stop is suppressible, and carries no weight in a court of law whatsoever. Many drivers have had their citations and tickets revoked under these circumstances, after an attorney successfully presented their argument regarding this Indiana Code.
How to Challenge an Illegal Ticket
It is important to understand the limits of a cop’s authority, and when and where they have jurisdiction. This way, you can know whether or not a ticket is being issued legally. If this has ever happened to you, you might want to consider challenging it, or expunging the violation altogether. Talk to a record expungement lawyer to see if you qualify.
Remember, an off-duty officer in an unmarked vehicle has just as much right to pull you over as you have the right to pull over the car in front of you. So if a cop on his way home from work wants to pull you over, keep this in mind. But of course, never keep driving. It is best to just stop and talk to the police officer. Do not argue, accept the ticket, and then immediately call a defense lawyer when you get home.