Have you ever been pulled over, but not by a cop car? Feels like a trick, right? You’re just driving along, and a seemingly regular car suddenly has a siren and is forcing you to the side of the road. On top of that, the guy getting out of the car isn’t even wearing a policeman’s uniform. Unfortunately, that doesn’t stop him from showing you his badge and giving you a speeding ticket. You may wonder how an off duty officer, in an unmarked vehicle, can pull someone over and give them a ticket. Turns out they can’t.
According to Indiana Code § 9-30-2-2 a policeman who is not clocked in and driving an unmarked vehicle does not have the authority to pull someone over and issue them a ticket. The evidence that a police officer obtains while not on duty can be suppressed and holds no weight in court. In a case presented to the Indiana Supreme Court titled Miller vs State, Sam Shapiro successfully presented this argument and the client was excused of their ticket.
It is important to know when and where a police officer has jurisdiction so that you can figure out whether your ticket was given to you in a legal way. While off duty, a police officer has just as much right to pull you over as the soccer mom in the van next to you. With this knowledge, you can prevent being wrongfully subjected to a speeding ticket by an officer who, like you, is just on his way home for the night.