alias778971

Washington State unmarked patrol car pull you over legal or illegal??

9 posts in this topic

I am trying to find some info about this cause I cant find it anywhere. My friends and I were on our cruisers the other day and got pulled over by an unmarked dodge charger police vehicle and gave us a ticket for speeding, we are totally fine with the ticket but we have heard from people an finding videos that it is illegal for a unmarked police vehicle to pull you over an give you a ticket because people can easily do this and replicate police officers. We are just trying to figure out if this is legal in washington state if an unmarked police vehicle can pull you over an give you a ticket or if it is illegal. We were in Clallam County and the car was a Dodge charger and the only indications that it was a police vehicle was that it had lights in the grill and visors. Any info would gladly be appreciated on the matter. Thanks 

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It is not illegal for an officer in an unmarked car to pull you over and give you a ticket. You of course will want to verify that the person is indeed a police officer. But assuming it was, there is no good challenge to make to the citation based on the car not being marked. You may be penalized for failing to pull over for the officer even if it is not a marked car. The requirement is that the car must be equipped with lights and a siren and the officer must be in uniform for that penalty to apply. See RCW 46.61.024(1). Thus, the statute contemplates that some stops will be made by officers in unmarked cars. 

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we have heard from people an finding videos that it is illegal for a unmarked police vehicle to pull you over an give you a ticket

 

Unless these people and videos cite a provision in the Revised Code of Washington (or some other applicable law) that supports what they claim, you should assume that they are wrong.  Moreover, as you described it, the vehicle was not, in fact, "unmarked."

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alias 778971

 

Thank you for your post.  The answer to your question depends on if lights and a grill amount to being "marked" for purposes of the statute provided above. The replies to this post along with this article should shed some light on the subject:

 

Guy Pulls Over Deputy for Illegal Unmarked Cop Car. Was He Right? Are Unmarked Police Cars Legal?

 

If you have any more questions, please feel free to ask.

-The Findlaw.com Team

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On ‎6‎/‎8‎/‎2015 at 9:42 AM, pg1067 said:

 

Unless these people and videos cite a provision in the Revised Code of Washington (or some other applicable law) that supports what they claim, you should assume that they are wrong.

https://app.leg.wa.gov/rcw/default.aspx?cite=46.08.065

(1) It is unlawful for any public officer having charge of any vehicle owned or controlled by any county, city, town, or public body in this state other than the state of Washington and used in public business to operate the same upon the public highways of this state unless and until there shall be displayed upon such automobile or other motor vehicle in letters of contrasting color not less than one and one-quarter inches in height in a conspicuous place on the right and left sides thereof, the name of such county, city, town, or other public body, together with the name of the department or office upon the business of which the said vehicle is used. This section shall not apply to vehicles of a sheriff's office, local police department, or any vehicles used by local peace officers under public authority for special undercover or confidential investigative purposes....

...

(3) Subsection (2) of this section shall not apply to vehicles used by the Washington state patrol for general undercover or confidential investigative purposes....

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Deranged,Really,if you look closely at subsection (2),it clearly answers your question,but a simple call to the sheriff's department,talking to a supervisor would resolve any doubts you may have about the matter.

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As with any law, there can arise issues of interpretation.  

Let's start from the beginning:

"It is unlawful for any public officer having charge of any vehicle owned or controlled by any county, city, town, or public body in this state....."

 

There are more government bodies within the civil infrastructure that use government/county/company owned vehicles outside of just law enforcement.  Public health departments, utility departments, child protective services, etc.... these are just a couple examples. 

 

Next:

"This section shall not apply to vehicles of a sheriff's office, local police department, or any vehicles used by local peace officers under public authority for special undercover or confidential investigative purposes...."

 

My interpretation of this is just the same as stated in the above article.  The section does not apply to the sheriff's office.  It does not apply to local police departments.  As for the third listing - vehicles used by local peace officers under public authority - I take that to mean other departments given the authority to conduct special undercover or confidential investigations.  FBI for instance would be an organization that comes to mind.  

 

As stated earlier, this is my interpretation.  I could be dead on, or I could be wrong.  It doesn't affect me at the end of the day, but thought I would state my opinion anyway. 

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Cfisher34, while your opinion appears to be correct, you've latched on to an almost 4 month old post (it's called necro-posting), parroted the opinion of two attorneys (tax-counsel and PG1067) for no apparent reason and wasted the time of everybody who now has to re-read the thread. Very annoying. Please refrain from doing that on old threads. Otherwise your opinions are welcome on more up-to-date postings.

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