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Ohio - Unmarked Vehicles for Traffic Enforcement?

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  • Ohio - Unmarked Vehicles for Traffic Enforcement?

    Hello all,

    I searched for this and couldn't find it so here is my question. I know that unmarked police cars are not used for traffic enforcement in Ohio. Now, I'm not here to try to fly by a unmarked car for fun... however there have been new stories of people pulled over by fake police officers in unmarked cars and I'm curious about this for my safety.

    In Ohio, most people do not know the EXACT law regarding unmarked police cars. It's really a blurry subject to most people.

    Basically my question is... is it legal for a unmarked police car to enforce traffic laws in Ohio? (Ohio State Troopers & Local Officers) Also, what is considers "unmarked" and "marked" because I have been under the assumption that a light bar must be on top of the vehicle with the obvious markings on the side and front of the vehicle.

    Thanks for any comments and thank you for enforcing the law and keeping us safe!

    -Ryan
    Last edited by oh hi oh; 01-08-2008, 10:43 AM. Reason: Added "(Ohio State Troopers & Local Officers)"

  • #2

    I don't know the law in Ohio or what consitutes an 'unmarked' car there, but I never saw one during my travels through the state (mostly I-76, I-71, I-75 & I-80). Of course, that doesn't mean they don't exist - just that I did not see any. County or city cops might use "plain wrappers" on side roads, too.


    Every police car I saw was a "full grown" bear - decals, roof light rack, etc., etc.; and each cop was in full uniform (with a hat, too!).


    Post your question in the "Ohio" forum, and you will find your question answered properly and in detail. Good luck in finding the information you want.

    The comments above reflect my personal opinion as a private citizen, ordinary motorist and all-around good guy.

    The aforementioned advice should not be construed to represent any type of professional opinion, legal counsel or other type of instruction with regard to traffic laws, judicial proceedings or official agency policy.

    ------------------------------------------------

    "Ignorance on fire is hotter than knowledge on ice."

    Comment


    • #3
      A lot of agencies have issues with unmarked cars running traffic enforcement. Many require either a marked car OR a full uniform ( i.e. a uniformed officer can run traffic in an unmarked car, but no plain-clothes guys in unmarked units).

      Also, unmarked just in a sense of the word, means no markings. Slicktop cars are marked, they just dont have a lightbar on top. I've never hard of any state governing where the light on the car goes, only what colors they have to be, flashing or solid (CA and its solid red light, for example), etc.

      Some states do have laws governing things like where the word "POLICE" has to be displayed. I couldnt tell you which ones though off hand.

      In some states, there is no law preventing unmarked cars from pulling you over, however I know of several states that have laws about "fleeing and eluding" that only cover marked cars, so in those states fleeing from an unmarked car will not get you charged under THAT statute (Im sure they will find something to arrest you for if you run).

      Bottom line is if a car tries to stop you, stop. If you suspect it isnt a police officer, obviously, go to a well-lit, populated area and call 911 or your local non-emergency number and request a marked unit (dont assume that asking the 911 operator will answer your questions. The officer might work for a different department or such).
      Sheriff: We just take turns being the sheriff. It's real easy. You just hang out here, eat some pie, and get drunk.
      Peter Griffin: Wait. Hold on a second. "Pie," "drunk," "the?" You got yourself a sheriff!

      Comment


      • #4
        Under Ohio law, any police vehicle which is used for traffic enforcement as its exclusive or main purpose must be properly marked and have at least one flashing/osolating light ON TOP of the vehicle.

        ORC 4549.13 Marking and equipment for motor vehicle used by traffic enforcement officers.
        Any motor vehicle used by a member of the state highway patrol or by any other peace officer, while said officer is on duty for the exclusive or main purpose of enforcing the motor vehicle or traffic laws of this state, provided the offense is punishable as a misdemeanor, shall be marked in some distinctive manner or color and shall be equipped with, but need not necessarily have in operation at all times, at least one flashing, oscillating, or rotating colored light mounted outside on top of the vehicle. The superintendent of the state highway patrol shall specify what constitutes such a distinctive marking or color for the state highway patrol.
        "He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you."
        -Friedrich Nietzsche

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by oh hi oh View Post
          Hello all,

          I searched for this and couldn't find it so here is my question. I know that unmarked police cars are not used for traffic enforcement in Ohio. Now, I'm not here to try to fly by a unmarked car for fun... however there have been new stories of people pulled over by fake police officers in unmarked cars and I'm curious about this for my safety.

          In Ohio, most people do not know the EXACT law regarding unmarked police cars. It's really a blurry subject to most people.

          Basically my question is... is it legal for a unmarked police car to enforce traffic laws in Ohio? (Ohio State Troopers & Local Officers) Also, what is considers "unmarked" and "marked" because I have been under the assumption that a light bar must be on top of the vehicle with the obvious markings on the side and front of the vehicle.

          Thanks for any comments and thank you for enforcing the law and keeping us safe!

          -Ryan

          So...what kind of ticket are you trying to get out of....??

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Bearcat357 View Post
            So...what kind of ticket are you trying to get out of....??

            A speeding ticket written by an officer in an unmarked, obviously.
            "He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you."
            -Friedrich Nietzsche

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by GatorPD
              Some states do have laws governing things like where the word "POLICE" has to be displayed. I couldnt tell you which ones though off hand.
              This car was completely white and I could see a small red and blue light in the back window of the vehicle, but other than that there is no way you could tell .


              Originally posted by Bearcat357 View Post
              So...what kind of ticket are you trying to get out of....??

              Originally posted by Bing_Oh
              A speeding ticket written by an officer in an unmarked, obviously.
              Honestly, I'm not. However, I was driving 70 in a 65 MPH zone on the highway and the unmarked car got behind me and tailgated me because I passed him and I was really concerned about it and that's the primary reason why I decided to ask here. Maybe he was just trying to bully me to make me slow down?
              Last edited by oh hi oh; 01-09-2008, 11:08 AM.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Bing_Oh View Post
                A speeding ticket written by an officer in an unmarked, obviously.
                I figured it was either that....or one that had him driving like an idiot.....and no he's looking for ways out of it.....

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Bearcat357 View Post
                  I figured it was either that....or one that had him driving like an idiot.....and no he's looking for ways out of it.....
                  Sorry that I'm not your idiot driver. I'm being honest and just wanted a myth type of issue here in Ohio explained to the truth.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by oh hi oh View Post
                    Sorry that I'm not your idiot driver. I'm being honest and just wanted a myth type of issue here in Ohio explained to the truth.
                    If you search around the boards in the Ask A Cop sections....you will see that people come on here all the time wanting to figure out how to slide on tickets they have gotten for speeding or driving like an idiot......

                    And most have strange idea's that vehicles have to be marked, officers in uniform, Troopers wearing hats, vehicles running radar out in the open, vehicles running radar having to have headlights on if they are on the side of the road, etc......

                    So... just beware when you ask questions like this...we tend to be suspect of the motives most times.......

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Bearcat357 View Post
                      And most have strange idea's that vehicles have to be marked
                      Well in certain states this is true...

                      Originally posted by Bearcat357 View Post
                      officers in uniform
                      Same..

                      Originally posted by Bearcat357 View Post
                      Troopers wearing hats, vehicles running radar out in the open, vehicles running radar having to have headlights on if they are on the side of the road, etc.....
                      Well those are a little stupid, however just because someone asks a question doesn't mean they are trying to break the law.

                      I like to know things just "to know" and it makes me a better driver for it. Also if anyone ever asked about it, I can give the correct answer instead of hear say. I only like to give people answers that I know are 100% correct.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by oh hi oh View Post
                        Well those are a little stupid, however just because someone asks a question doesn't mean they are trying to break the law.
                        If you did a quick search of the Ask a Cop-Traffic Enforcement Questions, you would see that we get these questions all the time.....and 99.9% of the time, it's because someone is trying to weasel out of a ticket.....

                        So, that's why most of us are suspect when folks ask questions of this nature......

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Bearcat357 View Post
                          If you did a quick search of the Ask a Cop-Traffic Enforcement Questions, you would see that we get these questions all the time.....and 99.9% of the time, it's because someone is trying to weasel out of a ticket.....

                          So, that's why most of us are suspect when folks ask questions of this nature......
                          I did a search and I did not see any answer about the law SPECIFICALLY for Ohio. Seems like you are a typical mean officer thinking everyone is trying to sneak or weasel out of something.

                          I haven't had a citation in over a year and even if I DID get into a situation where I got a citation involving it, does that mean you wouldn't help someone who asked the question here? That would make absolutely no sense.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by oh hi oh View Post
                            I did a search and I did not see any answer about the law SPECIFICALLY for Ohio. Seems like you are a typical mean officer thinking everyone is trying to sneak or weasel out of something.

                            I haven't had a citation in over a year and even if I DID get into a situation where I got a citation involving it, does that mean you wouldn't help someone who asked the question here? That would make absolutely no sense.
                            Don't take it personally. I recently registered but have been reading the forums for years and I get these same questions on and off duty all the time as I am sure the other guys and gals on here get. A lot of people DO come on here to try and weasel out of something. Not saying that's your case here, but it happens much more often than not from what I have seen.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by NE75 View Post
                              Don't take it personally. I recently registered but have been reading the forums for years and I get these same questions on and off duty all the time as I am sure the other guys and gals on here get. A lot of people DO come on here to try and weasel out of something. Not saying that's your case here, but it happens much more often than not from what I have seen.
                              Well, he is just being foolish in his topics otherwise I could careless.

                              And it wouldn't make sense if I got a ticket by a unmarked car and asked the question. Obviously if that happened I would know the answer to the question!

                              Comment

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