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Riverside Now Has More Unmarked Cars Than Standard Vehicles – Does This Affect Your Rights?

Posted in General FAQ'S on May 26, 2016

Are you paying attention on the road? The city of Riverside is devoted to its unmarked vehicles. Though you may think that you can get away with speeding through a school zone or passing everyone on the highway if you keep an eye out for police cars, doing so without being pulled over and ticketed is becoming more difficult. Undercover cars have indeed proven to be an effective deterrent in Riverside. In fact, the city now employs more of these vehicles than standard police cars.

In April 2016, the Riverside city council doubled down on its investment in these vehicles, citing their effectiveness and the immense cost of repainting them as standard patrol cars. Here are a few ways unmarked cars are helping improve driver habits in California:

Increased awareness on the road. A bad driver may wait to see those easily distinguished police lights before slamming on the brakes to avoid a ticket. But if citizens know that unmarked vehicles are out in force, they’re far less likely to risk breaking the law.

Deterring crime. Though black-and-white police cars may be easier to see, and thus serve as an effective deterrent, the city believes its unmarked vehicles are a far more effective resource – referring to 30 cases these vehicles successful resolved from January to April.

But do these vehicles affect your rights – and are these officers held to different standards because they drive unmarked cars? Unfortunately, it’s easy for police to infringe your rights, even innocently, by police who are following up on a traffic stop. Whether an officer is asking inappropriate questions or simply wants to search your vehicle, you must know your rights and remember how to respond. In light of the recent increase in unmarked cars patrolling Riverside, you must know some critical details.

Responding to an Unmarked Car in Riverside

Though this process is often straightforward, there’s plenty of room for error. In fact, thousands of cases are contested, even simple parking tickets and basic fines. Here’s how you need to respond when an unmarked vehicle attempts to pull you over:

Move to the side of the road. At the earliest, safest opportunity, slow down and pull off the road.

Be respectful and polite. You may feel wronged, but these officers have the same rights as all other officers do. Roll down your window completely, do your best to comply with their requests, and avoid any quick movements or aggressive behavior.

Answer his or her questions – briefly. “Yes” and “No” answers typically suffice. This will help you avoid incriminating yourself for a violation you may not have committed. Remember, you have the right to remain silent, which you should always rely on in lieu of starting an argument.

Follow up with an attorney if needed. Police are under immense pressure, even during standard traffic stops. If they make a mistake, contact a legal expert in Riverside for help.

Be Ready to Stand up for Your Rights in California

Having an unmarked car pull you over may be more intimidating than a standard black-and-white, but you still have rights in California. For example, an officer may search your vehicle only if he or she has probable cause. Although most of these professionals have your best interests and safety in mind, it’s important to keep everyone accountable. If you feel your rights were breached in any way, don’t hesitate to speak with an attorney experienced with California traffic law.

Graham Donath serves the Riverside and Orange County areas with compassionate, thorough care and a passion for our clients’ rights. If you have any doubts about traffic laws in California, browse our website for more information. Reach out to us and schedule a consultation if you think an unmarked vehicle pulled you over, searched your vehicle, or detained you illegally.