No driver wants to be pulled over by police. To make matters worse, there’s a chance you will be questioned by police when you did nothing wrong. You could just have an officer that has a “hunch” that you are up to something. Perhaps you were driving a sports car that attracts a lot of unwanted attention.
Nevertheless, there are many reasons to end up on the police radar, and not all of them are legitimate. We took a look at some stories of people who were pulled over by police for no reason. Read on below to check out these unfortunate instances involving strange police stops.
30: Mysterious Arrest Warrant
In theory, police can pull you over for any reason that they want. Reddit user 11oldcivic_17 told the story of an arrest warrant that was taken care of the year prior that caused police to still pull her over. “Just as I was pulling into my driveway in the lovely college town of San Marcos Texas I had a cop turn his lights on. Seeing as how I was in my driveway, I parked my car and waited for him to come up to the window.
“The police officer proceeds to inform me that my license plate illumination lights were out, which I thought was odd, but told him ok as he moved along with my ID and insurance. He comes back just a second later, ‘Actually your lights aren’t out! They just looked like it.’ Um ok cool, I guess. The police officer proceeds to run my information like normal and informs me I have a warrant out for my arrest because I failed to pay a ticket for expired registration. I’ll avoid the tangent that involves me having paid said ticket a year prior.”
There are times when police officers have to write a certain amount of traffic tickets to meet a quota. Reddit user Marimvibe told the story of her run-ins with police that may not have been justified. “Got pulled over for “wicked fast around that corner.” Not for exceeding the limit, just going faster than the cop thought I should turning from one road to the next. “Almost sideways on that onramp” was another good quote.
“Then there was the time in Mass where the cop never told me why he pulled me over. Just yelled at me for 5-10 minutes, threatened to rip up my registration, break my keys, etc. Took my license back to the car, came back, and I was on my way without a ticket. No clue why he pulled me over.”
It’s amazing how many drivers around the country have a similar story of being pulled over by police like this one. Reddit user smalleyb122 shared their example. “I had a similar one to this. I came around the corner (admittedly way too fast – my cheap tires screaming in protest). The cop was coming the other way. He had me. He pulled a quick U-turn and lit âem up. “Do you know what the speed limit is on [this road]?
“Yeah, it’s 25. “Do you know how fast you were going?” I don’t know… thirty? “Try forty-two” (feigned disbelief) Forty-two? “That’s why your truck was up on two wheels!” (legitimate disbelief) With all due respect, non of my wheels ever left the pavement. “…well… BARELY!” “And if you cross the center line like that and there is an oncoming car, you’ll be hurtin'” Do you not recall that you, yourself, were oncoming? I got off with a warning.”
When it’s you against the police, the odds of winning are not in your favor. Reddit user prontodad told his story. “A friend had a similar one. Accused of going 60+ in a 45. Had to go to court and show the judge that not only was it not possible (there was math involved) to take that 110-degree corner at 60+, his pos cavalier would have taken a lot more street to get up to that speed in the first place.”
When a driver can demonstrate sound judgment in a situation, he/she can come out on top. But being able to pull this off in a court of law isn’t an easy task and drivers are generally up against it in these types of spots.
It’s not always the police department’s fault when you are pulled over. There are times when an urgent call comes in with a description of someone. Reddit user Spartyblood told his story of being pulled over by the police. “I was stopped one time for driving a blue truck. No joke, some dude threw his GF out of his blue truck and when she came to she called the cops and said it was a “blue truck.”
“I was stopped, asked to get out, and then had to make a phone call to my GF to prove that I was not the person they were looking for. I live out in the country, there are more blue trucks than minorities. Why they couldn’t have used his name to determine if I was the person or not is still something I wonder about to this day.”
There are rules of the road that have to be followed off the beaten path as well. Police will enforce these. Reddit user buzzkitty told their experience. “I was riding down the side of a country road on my bike. Not a motorcycle, a legitimate bicycle with 14 speeds, skinny tires, and me in a lot of spandex. A County Sheriff blows past me, makes a U-turn, then comes up beside me and signals for me to pull over. He then tells me to get off of the road. I was riding on the shoulder and miles away from civilization on a farm road.
“Also, I was following all of the proper bike laws for my state. Wear a helmet, follow the flow of traffic, adhere to traffic signs and lights, and so on. I politely tried to tell the officer that I was following all of the rules, and tried explaining it would be very dangerous to ride off of the road where cars could not see me, and I would most likely hit a rock or pothole and fall over. This is when he turned his rooftop lights on and told me I was impeding traffic, refusing to follow the order of an officer, and about to go to jail.”
Another driver told the story of having an issue involving police on a dirt trail as well. Reddit user deptOfHomeland667 opened up on their experience. “I used to ride on the road a lot, although I much prefer mountain or gravel riding now. My dad still road bikes semi-regularly, and last year their entire group of about 15 people was pulled over for “impeding traffic” riding single file up a hill out of town. The cop told them to split up into groups of 3 and spread out, which would somehow be better?”
Not a fun experience when you’re just trying to enjoy going off of the beaten path. Nevertheless, quite the story of an inconvenient situation.
Did you know that bikes have to obey the rules of the road too? Reddit user ShadowPryde shared such a story of running into the police. “I got pulled over on my bike when I was 14. This was pre-” Everyone needs a helmet” times. Nobody but the special kid in the class wore a helmet. Going to a friend’s house on my 10 speed by the local high school. I was booking it down this massively long hill and I see a cop pull out of the high school parking lot, lights going.
“I thought he got called somewhere and ignored him for a bit until he got on the horn yelling at me to slow down. It took me a while to get stopped (wasn’t that great a bike) and he gets out of the car and gives me the riot act. He clocked me at 35-ish in a school zone. I got an earful and a half about how dangerous that was without a helmet.”
Now and again, drivers have the police pull you over and state a law that doesn’t exist. Reddit user Verhaa told the story. “I was driving in Ontario and saw a cop car coming my way and turn behind me with his lights on. They pulled me because I didn’t have a front license plate like it’s required in Ontario.
“My car is registered in Quebec where it’s not a requirement. I told him he was wrong but still gave him my Quebec driver’s license and registration… he still gave me the ticket. Apparently to him driving in Ontario means I had to put a front license plate independently where my car is registered. I contested the ticket and won, the cop also had to do a “refresher course.”
Living in the questionable side of town is a risky proposition for even the most unassuming person. Reddit user neverspeakaword2231 told the story of their unique run-in involving the police. “I normally kept my car (a mid-80’s Corolla that was worth maybe $500) parked out in Queens, but this day I happened to have been using it to go shopping, and was street parked in a little cul-de-sac in the project and was unloading some stuff from it to bring into my apartment. When I was halfway through unloading and came back to the car to grab another armload, four cop cars surrounded me with the lights on.
“They got me up against the hood of the car and proceeded to tear apart every little bit of the interior. Open up all my bags. Open up the trunk. Check the undercarriage. Look under the hood. Thankfully, it was a mid-80’s Corolla, so there weren’t a lot of potential hiding places for them to have to search. Being a white guy in the projects and moving shopping bags out of a s***y car into the building was enough to arouse the suspicion of like a dozen cops. They just assumed I was there delivering drugs.”
If you’re driving a UHaul across the county, there is always a chance you’ll get pulled over and questioned. Reddit user BigRuss told the story: “Let me set the mood here… It’s 2010, beautiful sunny San Diego, we were moving out of our “luxurious” apartment and I had my motorcycle in the bed of my truck. We were expecting a rainstorm the night prior so I had a tarp over my bike and the rest of the truck bed. So we are on I5 for about 20 minutes and I notice my tarp starting to flap around rather violently, so I pull into a rest area to fix my straps and re-secure my tarp.
“No sooner than I pulled out and back on I5 blue lights are dancing behind me. Border Patrol pulled me over and questioned me. “We have reason to believe you are transporting illegals,” I reassured the guy that I was not, and that I and my family were moving. 30 minutes of him searching my truck and Uhaul trailer, and me embarrassing him with his pathetic flashlight that put out as much light as a cheap lighter, we were back on the road.”
Certain drivers get pulled over again and again for no reason. Reddit user TrevorSlattery told the story. “Not signaling a lane change on Rt. 95 in Jersey. Littering out of my car coming across the GW Bridge by throwing a cigarette out of my car (neither of us smoked, the ashtray was removed from the car to install a stereo). The tried and true not coming to a full stop at a stop sign.
“Of course, there are the instances that devolved into the “where are you coming from, where are you going, is there anything in the car I should know about?” line of questioning as opposed to the usual stop and ticket.”
Few things are worse than being stopped for no reason. Reddit user MercedesStreeter told the story. “He began sifting through the tiny car looking for something, anything to pin against me. Around that time, a K-9 unit spawned behind his cruiser. I explained to the lady that hopped out that I don’t have any weed, neither does my car. #1 is smelling the dead animal that’s making all of the air around us stink. #2 shrugged. #1, frustrated that I appeared to have been telling the truth, decided to give me a patdown.
“Alright, well unfortunately for him I wasn’t wearing underwear that night…After finding nothing under my dress aside from something he probably didn’t want to touch, Officer #2 asked if Officer #1 wanted to send the dogs to my car. Officer #1 finally gave up and said “Nah, that’s okay, I believe them”. Seriously dude, what kind of drug dealer’s going to drive a smart car? He wrote me a ticket for no insurance and the window tint. The judge also wasn’t any easier on me. I showed him my proof of insurance (with starting date months before the stop) and proof the tint was removed. He said a simple “I don’t care” and slapped me with the $400+ ticket.”
Like it or not police officers are going to profile you. Reddit user detailer4u told the story. “How about turning left with my signal on. Got stopped because the signal did not stay on through the process of the turn. I am not making this up. That was a first for me. Especially considering this was before the process of completing the catch was a thing. Maybe that explains why the cop had on such a strange uniform.”
The excuse of a turn signal being out is liable to come up quite often during a stop. The best thing to do is to just go along with it and be on your way.
Classic cars attract unwanted attention, that’s no surprise. Reddit user JonathanHarper told the story of his classic Cobra being pulled over. “Least deserved pull was in Manhattan. It was the first semi-springlike weekend in the city after a long winter and I had convinced my bosses to let me dust off the Shelby Cobra replica for a little shakedown before members started booking it again. Cherry trees were in blossom and it was turning out to be a nice little cruise around the city. As I crossed central park there was an NYPD cruiser poking out one of the lots in the middle of the park.
“Sure enough, he pulls out behind me and lights me up. All while I’m driving slowly and normally. I pull over and the middle-aged uniformed officer was SUPER excited. Had tons of questions and I was cool about it. His younger female partner kept apologizing and asking if I had anywhere to be. They eventually took off and I felt good about a positive(ish) interaction with the NYPD. Went to start the Cobra as the cops drove off and sure enough, the battery was dead, and I wasn’t able to flag the departing cops. Luckily my co-worker zipped uptown with a jumper pack and get me sorted out in short order. The top photo is from that day, just before we got it going again.”
Being a new driver can be a fun and exhilarating experience. But it also means that you’re on the radar. Reddit user smny1534 told the story. “So now I’m thinking, okay, there’s no way I was speeding, hell my car wasn’t capable of breaking the speed limit in that distance (base model ZX3 focus, 5-speed manual though). Cops walk up to my window and ask for my license and reg, so I hand it to him, and ask why he pulled me over, he looks at me, then starts walking around my car, never answering. I’m freaking out at this point… and to make matters worse, second cruiser shoes up.
“So now I see three officers behind me, and I have no idea what I did. about 10 minutes later, at about 12:15, the officer comes up to my window and tells me I was driving with my fog lights on, and that it is extremely dangerous to do so, and he can have my JOL pulled (as a side note, drive around at night, about 70% of people do this). So I say sorry… because what else am I supposed to do. and right after I say this, a THIRD CRUISER PULLS UP… three cruisers for freaking fog lights. She comes over, asks if any help is needed, and the main guy says no, so she drives away.”
New drivers in small-town America are often the first to be subjected to a curfew. Reddit user ZR2TEN told the story. “The small city I grew up in had a noon curfew for kids under 18. I was 16 or so riding bikes at night with friends when we realized it was getting close to midnight. We couldn’t remember whether the curfew was at midnight or 12:30, so we found a cop in a shopping center parking lot & tried to ask him.
“He told us that we should know already & then ignored us, so we decided to at least start making our way back to someone’s house. Right at midnight, we looked back & saw that cop driving towards us. We ducked into a neighborhood & pretended like one of the houses was ours. He looked at us but didn’t stop. After the coast was clear, we cut through neighborhoods & the woods to get home.”
The military bases around the country house hundreds of soldiers and employees a day. Reddit user Squadral told the story of being stopped. “I was driving on a military base when I got pulled over about 150 ft past an intersection where I had been stopped at a red light. The MP walks up and tells me that he clocked me at 67 mph (in a 25 zone). I explained to him that there was no way that my 2001 Saturn station wagon could have been going that fast that soon after being stopped.
“What I didn’t say was that I checked my speed just before he stopped me and I was going 40 so I let off the gas to slow down. (What can I say, that little V6 could sound decent if you laid into it.) He walked back to his MP van, returned about a minute later, handed me my license, and very sheepishly said “Have a nice day.”
Again, cops can and will use just about any excuse to get probable cause to pull you over. Reddit user chairmankaga told the story. “Being from Arkansas, where front plates are not issued, we asked why we were still pulled over AFTER the officer got behind us and saw we were not registered in Texas. In response, he lied and said if we were in the State of Texas we must abide by State of Texas laws, and one of the laws was having a front license plate installed. He then asked the owner of the car for permission to search the vehicle. He agreed. Backup was called. One officer and a K-9 searched the car, disassembling it on the shoulder of Interstate 30, while another officer, one by one searched us and asked us questions about our business in the State of Texas, our destination, our origin.
“After about an hour they packed up and drove away. No discussion. No explanation. It took us another hour or two to reassemble the car. Door panels had been removed, the rear seat was out, everything from the trunk was removed, about half the carpet stripped. They were looking for drugs, but Jesus. When people talk about police state tactics, I know exactly what they’re talking about.”
If you’re going to drive out of state, make sure your tags are current. Reddit user joethedrummer told the story of finding this out. “I got pulled over late one night in rural Alabama on US 331, for “expired plates.” They were brand new Georgia plates less than a month old – ironic because I was moving back to Alabama. I was on my way to borrow a truck, go back to Atlanta, and pack up my stuff. Stupidly, I consented to a search, which turned up a literal clump of grass, like from the yard – I’d mowed before I left that afternoon. Grass, not “grass.” It was on like Donkey Kong at this point.
“This triggered a 90-minute adventure on the side of the road involving what must have been every cop on duty at 1 am in Covington County. One looked exactly like pro wrestler Big Boss Man, and he acted the part. He kept trying to “shake” my story – “You mean, you’re TRYING to MAKE ME BELIEVE that you’re moving when you’ve got one box in the back seat, and no suitcase?” Yes, I explained, repeatedly, I left a basket of laundry at my parents’ house last weekend, there are clean clothes where I’m headed, and I’m driving back with a truck tomorrow. I must have repeated this a dozen times.”
Arguing with a police officer is never a good solution. Chances are you will lose the argument. Reddit user Biscuit told the story. “While in college and coming back to Auburn, AL from a weekend in Destin, FL, around about Andalusia, I am leaving a stop sign at an intersection in my profile mobile (1989 240sx hatchback). I accelerate up a “hill” and from the intersection and the blues and twos come on behind me. So I pull over into a Piggly Wiggly parking lot and Officer Ornery comes up and just starts laying into me.
“I clocked you at 61 in a 35! That’s a reckless driving a**hole!” I proceeded to explain to him that I was in 3rd gear and saw no more than 3k rpm, so he was wrong, and could I please see the radar gun. That was not the correct response, because I got laid into some more, and he loudly and impolitely explained that “he didn’t need a radar gun to know how fast I was going!” Now I wasn’t really in the mood to argue because although he was clearly in the wrong, he was an easily 6’5″ 300lb man who looked like he had worked out every day of his life. He was also furious.”
Bicycle cops are sometimes the worst of the worst. Reddit user rockympls told the story of being a cyclist. “My town hosted the GOP convention back in 2008, and the police went berserk “warming up” for what was one of the most Orwellian nightmares I’ve seen in real life. I was an everyday bike commuter to my white-collar job, and I knew my routes well enough to do them in my sleep. Part of this was taking liberties with stoplights â and legally doing this, mind you. My bike wasn’t heavy enough to trigger the lights along my route, so I’d wait for the road to be clear, then cross.
“A freshly-minted undercover patrol saw me do this at a light and decided it warranted chasing me down and nearly knocking me off of my bike as I attempted to get off the road (I thought he was going after somebody that had done wrong). He jumped out with his firearm unholstered and pointed at me. Told me to put my hands up, then drop my messenger bag (that contained my work duds and lunch). He then angrily demanded my ID “and insurance,” I told him I didn’t think I needed insurance on a $400 single speed bike.”
Yet another bicycle stop happened in Crystal City, VA, but this one wasn’t as much of a confrontation. Reddit user oddseth told the story. “I used to have to cut through Old Town Alexandria, VA to get from trail-to-trail when I lived in nearby Crystal City, VA, and wanted to go for a 20-30 mile ride. There are over a dozen stop signs on the route but I would only stop at the stop signs when pedestrians or cars were present so I could keep my pace up (around 19 mph average). One day, when I was about to get through Alexandria and back on the trail towards Mt. Vernon, I looked back and I saw a bicycle cop a few car lengths behind me and he looked like he was about to pass out.
“I could have just sped up but thought I should stop and see what he wanted. He rode up next to me and was huffing and puffing – I thought he was going to pass out. After he caught his breath, he very politely told me that he had been following me for over a mile and wanted to let me know to be careful because about running the stop signs because if a traffic cop saw me, he would have pulled me over and given me a ticket. And any tickets and points received while on a bicycle would count against my driver’s license.”
One of the most common ways to get pulled over is for a police officer to say that they smell alcohol. Reddit user neverspeakaword told a story. “I spend the next 30-40 minutes on the side of the road doing sobriety checks. Stand on one foot. Close your eyes and touch your toes. Walk in a straight line. Close your eyes, tilt your back, and silently count out sixty seconds (this was a new one for me). A whole battery of tests. In the end, he asks me to blow a breathalyzer.
“So I blow the breathalyzer. Keep in mind, I had only been able to have a few sips of scotch before I spilled the entire glass on myself, so I am in no way whatsoever drunk. I’m standing there on the side of the road, he goes back in his car for a while. Eventually, he comes back with this super-duper annoyed look on his face and says to me “the legal limit in California is .08. You just blew a .01. You smelled like alcohol a lot more than that. Just be safe getting home.” And then he angrily walks back to his cruiser, and speeds away, with me on the side of the road dumbfounded.”
Although a yellow light doesn’t mean that you need to stop, there’s a good chance you could get pulled over by for flying through it. Reddit user Slothloveschunk told the story. “Cop came up, introduced himself as something much more important than a regular police officer, to which I couldn’t give two s***s about, and asked me why I ran that light. Ran that light? Intimidation is bulls**t.
“I responded I did not, it was yellow and I questioned how he even saw the light from where he was positioned (he couldn’t). He then asked why I was going so fast, to which I said I was not traveling over the speed limit (which I wasn’t.) He was baiting me and waiting for me to admit guilt, to which I refused. Again, never admit guilt if you aren’t guilty.”
Vehicles are equipped with fog lights for certain weather situations. However, in many states, it can be an infraction to drive with them. Reddit user milong told the story. “I was driving a buddy’s Audi A4 and the rear fog light was on. On that particular car, there was only 1 rear fog light per the manual. I get pulled over and the cop is adamant that the tail light is out and being a dick about it. I grab the manual and show him where it specifically states there is only 1 rear fog light and it’s incorporated into the tail light housing and turn it on and off for him to show him. He won’t budge and I just let it go.
“It didn’t end there, my wallet had some sand residue from a trip to white sands national park that he accused me of was cocaine. I told him what it was and to feel free to taste it. He did and promptly had a look of disgust from it. It didn’t stop there, he then accused me of having illegal window tint. It’s not my car dude, so I can’t say for sure and it’s not my problem. Eventually, he just told me to leave because he didn’t have anything. Gotta love those small-town cops, nothing better to do.”
Off-roading is a fun experience, but it can also lead to a pricey ticket. Reddit user thisburner221 told their story. “I was pulled over for a muddy license plate, in a rural area where 80% of the roads are dirt, in the springtime during what we in the northeast call mud season. It was just an excuse for the locals to harass my friend, our dates, and me on a Friday night.”
So as you can see the fact that this person had a muddy license plate gave the officer probable cause to pull him over. When it comes to off-roading, you need to make sure that you clean the car or SUV before you hit the road.
Electrical issues are something that affects cheap and used cars all the time. These issues car give a police officer reason to pull you over. Reddit user thecarguy4all told the story. “No, I wasn’t inebriated, but I had had a drink. So I was nervous when they pulled me over in a 35 mph stretch of Whaley in New Haven. The officer and his partner both got out of the car and came up to both sides of the car with their hands on their sidearms. I’ve never had this happen.
“Then the officer asks me if I know why he’s pulled me over. Mental checklists prepared, I answered that I had no clue. We weren’t speeding, I’d stayed in my lane since the bar… “Your license plate light is out” I must’ve given him a weird look because he frowned and reached for his sidearm. I gave him my information and he walked back to his patrol car with his partner. 30 minutes go by and my girlfriend (who was in the car with me… sorry, I’m not a great storyteller) starts freaking out about why we’ve been there so long.”
Reddit user print interior told the story of being pulled over in a track car. “I was driving a fully stripped track car (harnesses, rollbars, stickers, numbers, the whole nines) home from a weekend of racing. I’m cruising along at 65 in a 65 when there’s a cop up ahead doing around ten under. Using my blinkers, I merge left, pass him doing precisely the speed limit, and merge back to the right. BAM, blue lights. Figures.
“He comes up to tell me my license plate lights were out. I ask if he has a flashlight and he proceeds to illuminate for me while I pulled spare bulbs out of the toolkit in my truck and replace the plate lights on the spot. He was more amused than I had spares than anything else, and let me go with a handshake.”
Taking a turn too fast can cause police to pull you over. Reddit user southwestnomad told the story. “As I approached this particular area I slowed down from the usual 45mph as I had a feeling and I was right. As I rounded the bend in the road my headlights picked up the reflections of eyeballs. A lot of eyeballs. I came to a halt and flicked on the high beams and lit up about two dozen deer in various stages of crossing the road to and from the cemetery. To this day it’s still the single biggest herd of deer I’ve ever seen in 17 years of living here. Finally, the deer cleared the road and I dropped my brights and moved out, not quite getting back up to 45 as the speed dropped to shortly ahead.
“As I approached the 35 sign I saw a local cop sitting off to the side completely blacked out. This was about 60-70 yards from where I’d stopped for the deer. I pass him doing 35 when he completely lights up and pulls me over. Hand him my license and registration and he wants to know what was with the stop and the brights. Told him that I’d come upon a massive herd of deer crossing at the cemetery and I didn’t want to hit any of them.”