The natural human instincts and let’s-have-a-little-fun can kick in when having a long drive at night. The road looks clear, and you start driving a little faster than the maximum speed limit, believing that it is still safe. It is then that you realize someone is chasing you. You turn back and see those blue/red police lights flashing in the back, and they ask you to pull over. How did it happen? Speeding is illegal, but you didn’t see anything on the road; were the cops hiding or sitting in the dark? In fact, you ask yourself, can a cop sit in the dark without lights?
It is normal to have these questions in your mind in such a situation, and it is also perfectly normal to forget about overspeeding. However, the question remains; can a cop sit in the dark without lights? What are your rights if you are pulled over at night? You can find your answers here.
Can A Cop Sit In The Dark Without Lights? Common Reasons to Patrol without Lights
Starting with the simplest answer, yes, a police officer can patrol or sit with their lights off. It is not a legal obligation or mandatory for the cops to keep the lights on at night. They can chase you without advertising their presence and are well within their rights to ask you to pull over. Of course, police do have to comply with things like private property rights. The next question you may ask yourself is why would the cops patrol with their lights off? Here are some common reasons why cops may drive without lights.
1- Patrolling Residential Areas
Police offers usually prefer patrolling in residential areas without lights due to various reasons. For example, residential areas generally have meager traffic that moves at a low speed, minimizing the chances of an accident. Second, patrolling with lights can scare trespassers or even the residents.
2- Responding to a Crime
Many patrolling officers opt to keep the lights off when they receive a call of potential robbery or any other crime in progress. It makes sense that rushing to the possible crime scene with flashing lights can easily scare the perpetrators. Police also avoid sirens in such circumstances. Similarly, the cops may keep their lights off when chasing a possible suspect.
3- Blending in
Police officers usually keep the lights off when blending in the traffic. In fact, many police officers use it as a tactic when they are chasing a suspect without letting them notice their presence. The cops blend into the traffic and make it look normal to keep the chase on. Apart from that, cops also use it as a tactic to catch overspeeding vehicles, especially in medium or heavy-traffic areas such as highways.
What to do if you are pulled over at night?
If the police pull you over at night, don’t fret. There is no difference between being pulled over at night or during the day. Your rights and the police’s authority remain the same. Here is what you should do if you are pulled over.
Find a Safe Police to Pull Over
As a citizen, you can find a safe place to pull over. That said, if it is night and the police ask you to stop your vehicle, do it but find a place with enough light. If you are pulled over on a highway or a less populated area, and there is no place to pull over, it is better to keep driving below the maximum speed limit and then stop your vehicle whenever possible.
However, while you are doing that, it is highly recommended to call 9-1-1 and tell them you know you have been asked to pull over and you are going to stop at the next populated area, such as a gas station, market, restaurant, etc.) 9-1-1 will inform the cops chasing you.
Ensure Maximum Cooperation
When you pull over, roll down your windows and keep your hands where the cops can see them easily. However, you are allowed to turn on the internal car lights. Make sure you do not move quickly or in a threatening way, and inform the cops prior to every movement. One of the most important things to do is not to incriminate when the officers ask you, “do you know why we pulled you over?”. The highly recommended answer is NO. Do not tell them even if you know the reason. Let them tell you.
Practice your Rights
Here are your rights when you are pulled over;
- You have the right to remain silent and inform the cops/officers that you are practicing your right.
- Many states allow citizens to make video footage of the conversation with the officer even without their consent. Police officers cannot confiscate the video.
- You have the right to know why the police detained you.
- You cannot be pulled over without any legal reason. The police officers cannot ask you to pull over just because they assume that you are breaking the law or they believe you are suspicious.
- You have the right to deny it if the police officers ask to search your vehicle. However, it is not recommended to refrain from the police if they do it illegally (without your consent). You can initiate a lawsuit and let your lawyer do the rest.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Can a cop sit in the dark without lights?
A: Yes, the police are legally allowed to sit in the car without lights.
Q: Can a police officer turn off the lights when they pull you over?
A: Yes, police can turn off the lights, but they usually keep them on to increase their visibility in the traffic. In some cases, the police will leave only their rear flashing lights on to warn oncoming traffic.
Q: Can the police exceed the speed limit on the highways?
A: The police cannot exceed the speed limit on the highways unless there is an emergency. They cannot do it for leisure.
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