Can police commandeer vehicles in real life? Yes, in certain unique circumstances, they can. Police can commandeer a vehicle in case of dire emergencies. An officer can ask civilians to hand over their cars or other vehicles if their transport is not available or has been sabotaged or destroyed in the course of performing their duties. An adult citizen must assist any police department member if the car is required to prevent a crime from happening and chase an escaped convict or pursue a crime suspect.
Is Commandeering a Vehicle Very Common?
It is not. Very few policemen in the US have claimed that they have needed to hijack a civilian vehicle. In fact, in most cases, they feel civilian vehicles are not suitable for chasing a suspect. They are unaware of the car’s condition and whether it will break down in the middle of the road. There are chances that the car would become more of a liability. They try to rely on their back-up vehicles as much as possible.
Why Is There a Chance of the Police Commandeering Your Vehicle?
Can police commandeer vehicles? The United States Supreme Court states that the police can use a civilian vehicle in extreme circumstances. Initially, there was a law by the name of ‘Posse Comitatus.’ It is very old and dates back to when the police department was not so advanced and did not have access to good vehicles to intercept a criminal.
In such cases, they mostly had to rely on public assets. Circumstances are very different in modern times. Police now have access to technologically enhanced cars, complete with GPS and walkies, so the chances of relying on civilian vehicles are very slim.
What Should You Do if a Police Wants to Commandeer Your Vehicle?
In the rare event that a cop does need your vehicle, then you should give it up. By law, an adult in the US is obliged to help the law enforcement units. You cannot refuse if the police ask you to drive them as well. Such a situation is infrequent, of course. But, if a cop asks you for your car, you should get out and hand over your keys. If you do not, you can also be fined anywhere between $50 and $1000.
The reason for doing that is that the court of law will always acknowledge the police’s need in such cases, especially if they were trying to recapture a prisoner or attempt to stop a crime from happening. The court also states that the danger must be immediate, and there has to be a dire emergency for the police to do so.
However, given the urgency of the moment, it can be assumed that such situations will only arise if there is an emergency. If your car gets damaged in the process, then you might not even be compensated for it. Nevertheless, if you are still wondering, can police commandeer vehicles? The right thing to do is hand over your car if an officer approaches you.