Originally Posted by R1145
In California, only a marked vehicle can legally conduct a traffic stop.
Did they change the CVC?
In California, any police vehicle may
initiate a vehicular stop. However, police units use for traffic enforcement
must be painted with contrasting colors, display the agency's name and agency emblem on the door.
As a practical matter, most agencies I'm aware of discourage using unmarked units to perform car stops for vehicle code violations. A stop might be initiated due to suspected prostitution, drug or other crimes however. If an unmarked it stopping you for a traffic infraction, it should be a real whizzer of a boneheaded move.
Back circa 1973 I had this happen to me. A local agency lost a patrol unit to a T/C so the officer that night was driving their "utility" vehicle -- a 1972 Ford Ranchero ...with faux wood paneling on the sides no less. About 00:20 I'm on my way home from the girlfriend's house (in the cold) in a 1961 Ford. He decides to stop me for a tail-light out. 1/2 block from an intersection, he lights me up as I signal for a right turn. I finish the turn and in the mirror notice the "Ranchero" outline. ***? The lights are a pair of reds in the grill, one higher than the other. That's all I could see (No ambers, no rotators). I went slowly down the block and put on the right signal again. After about 1/2 mile, no siren. Hmmmmmmm. I turned right on an arterial, continued for 2 blocks, turned right again. No spotlight, no siren. Back onto the original highway again (speed aprox 25mph) I followed this loop twice more before a marked unit showed up. Extracted from the car by voice commands, proned out, cuffed & stuffed. Neither officer was understanding, neither was willing to listen to my reply to "what did you think this was, a circus?" After 90 minutes I was released. After 120 minutes I was filling out the I/A complaint and talking to the watch commander (who understood).
Driving in a 1 to 3 block "circle" at or below the speed limit certainly negates the "evasion" argument. It also keeps you in the same area for responding support units to find a spot to "intercept" the action. Using 4-way flashers is a good idea (my car was not equipped) too.