How to Tell if the Officer Pulling You Over is a Real Cop

how to confirm if someone is a police officer

How to Tell if the Officer Pulling You Over is a Real Cop


If you’ve ever been pulled over, it can be a nerve-wracking experience. But if you know you were speeding, driving recklessly or while under the influence, then you have a good reason to suspect that the police officer is stopping you for a real traffic violation. However, there are some people out there who enjoy impersonating cops and pulling people over. In order to avoid a potentially dangerous scenario, there are several clues to look for to confirm that the person pulling you over is a real police officer.

1. Have You Done Something to Be Pulled Over?

If you have been driving within 5-mph of the speed limit, have current tags displayed, all lights are working, and you’re not excessively swerving, then you may have reason to question a cop are with its lights flashing on your six.

2. What Car Are They Driving?

In the United States, most traffic enforcement vehicles are one of the following makes and models:

  • Ford Crown Victoria Police Interceptor (1998)
  • Ford Taurus
  • Ford Expedition
  • Chevy Impala sedan
  • Chevy Tahoe SUV
  • Dodge Charger

One problem is that these cars are sold to civilians, which makes it easy for a motivated individual to disguise their car as a police vehicle. If the individual who pulls you over is driving a different make or model, it still is possible they are a cop.

3. Is The Car Marked?

On occasion, a police officer will make a traffic stop in an unmarked car, but typically they only do this if they are suspect some other criminal activity. That means the vast majority of stops are made is clearly marked police cars.

4. What Is The Time of Day and Location?

If you are being pulled over in the middle of the day on a busy street, you have less to be concerned about. But if you haven’t broken any laws and you are pulled over on a back road in the middle of the night, take extra caution. If you are being pulled over in the middle of nowhere, you can slow your speed, turn your signal on to show your intent to pull over, and drive to a well-lit, populated area.

5. Will The Officer Show You Their ID?

It is absolutely reasonable for you to ask the person who is pulling you over for ID. If they refuse to show you their badge or just flash it briefly, so you can’t get a good look, then keep your window rolled up and door locked. Ask once more to see their credentials. If they act strange and refuse or start threatening you and behaving unprofessionally, call 911 to report the incident and drive away.

Traffic Lawyer in Chandler

After multiple traffic violations in Phoenix, points begin to accumulate against your driver’s license. The results of this over time can lead to increasingly severe penalties, leading to the loss of your driving privileges and can even result in jail time. If you are in need of a traffic lawyer to represent you in court, call Todd Coolidge today!


Photo by Fred Moon on Unsplash (7/3/2020)