We’ve all been there. You’re driving home after a night out and the streets seem empty, but then you notice this white car right behind you. The other lanes are empty. So why is this car following you? Could it be a cop? Unmarked police vehicles keep getting more and more sophisticated.

I know, it’s not what you want to hear. Luckily, there are a few telltale signs for you to keep calm and look out for whether that white sedan is actually a cop.

Full Blackout Tint

Seeing fully-tinted windows tends to trip people up. You have no idea who’s in the car and it could very well be a cop. That said, not every car with blackout tint is on the police force. That’s why you should look for at least a few of these other factors as well before jumping to conclusions.

“Exempt” License Plate

By Texas law, certain government vehicles can be registered using an exempt fee status. You could recognize these license plates by looking for the word “EXEMPT” either on top in red or at the bottom of the plate in navy blue. So if the plate has this word, then it’s highly likely this is either a cop car or other county/city/state government type vehicle.

Hear Mark Thiessen talk about why “exempt” license plates are the easiest way to spot an undercover cop car:

Grill Guards

Grill guards or push bumpers are common on cop cars as they minimize damage to vehicles for law enforcement. Again though this isn’t necessarily something that only appears on cop cars, spotting a white or black SUV with tinted windows AND a grill guard on the front is almost definitely a cop.

It’s an American Car

A cop driving a Toyota? Not in Texas, my friend. More often than not, you’ll see them driving Dodge Chargers or Ford SUVs in Texas. One important note: a lot of old, unmarked, police-issue Chevrolet Impalas are on the road as regular civilian vehicles. In Houston, cops no longer drive Impalas or Chevy sedans period. If you see a white, tinted Chevy Impala with full mirrors and antennae, it’s probably just someone who bought a cheap car at a police auction.

Extra Mirrors?

Nope. These strange bubble, mirror-like objects that are often on the front of police windshields are actually spotlights. Powered by the car’s system, these lights can shine almost endlessly. Officers could use them from inside the car and without even rolling down the window. While you may occasionally still see them on decommissioned cop cars, these extra spotlights on the front of a car along with the previous mentioned criterias all serve as a strong sign that you’re being followed by a cop.

Busted in Houston? Call Mark Thiessen and the Thiessen Law Firm

The truth is, there’s no law that says a cop car has to be clearly identifiable in order to make a valid arrest. Whether busted by a cop in an unmarked car, traditional car or State Trooper, civilians still have rights. If you or a loved one have recently been arrested and aren’t sure what to do next, call Mark Thiessen and the team at Thiessen Law Firm in Houston, Texas for a free consultation. Start your case off on the right foot.

Thiessen Law Firm

Mark Thiessen is an aggressive trial lawyer best known for his devotion to justice for his clients and high rank as a DWI Super Lawyer in Texas.