Is it Illegal to Paint Your Car Like a Cop Car?
We've all seen them before. You're driving down the highway, probably speeding a little bit. Suddenly, in your rear view mirror, you see a black and white car.
Yikes! It's a police car. You hit your breaks, slowing down to exactly 65 mph. You keep an eye on the car and drive on your best behavior until the car passes you. Wait. It's not a cop car! It's just some dinky jalopy with a mismatched paint job.
After breathing a sigh of relief, you think, "Is that even legal? Can you paint your car to look like a cop car?"
Impersonating a Police Officer
The laws regarding impersonating a cop vary from state to state:
- Alabama: Alabama statue defines impersonating an officer as pretending to be a public servant and doing any act in that capacity.
- Indiana: Indiana statute doesn't require a person to act as a police officer to be guilty of impersonating a public servant. You need only intend to mislead another person to believe that you are a police officer and submit to your authority.
- Delaware: Delaware requires no intent to deceive or any action. It is illegal to merely pretend to be a police officer.
- Texas: In Texas, you can even be guilty of impersonating a security officer.
But, that black and white car in your rear view mirror probably isn't going to be cited for impersonating a police officer unless it tries to pull you over.
California Vehicle Code
Go ahead paint your car black and white then! Not so fast.
While you probably won't be guilty of impersonating a police officer for painting your car black and white, you may be in violation of a vehicle code. For example, California Vehicle Code section 27605 states, "No person shall own or operate a motor vehicle painted in the manner . . . to resemble a motor vehicle used by a peace officer or traffic officer on duty." If your state has a similar vehicle code, your black and white car could get cited.
If you do get cited for impersonating a police officer or violating the vehicle code, an experienced criminal defense attorney will be able to help interpret your state's statute and assess your options.
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You Don’t Have To Solve This on Your Own – Get a Lawyer’s Help
Meeting with a lawyer can help you understand your options and how to best protect your rights. Visit our attorney directory to find a lawyer near you who can help.