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How to Check if Your Car is Flagged by the Police

How to check if my car has been marked by police
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How can I check if my car is marked by the police? This is a recurring question to all automobile owners and smart used car buyers when considering the vehicle they will buy.
The police have several reasons to place a marker on a vehicle, the marking arrangement is designed to keep the road safe.
Used cars have a high chance of being marked at one point or the other by the police. Surely, you do not want to inherit a liability. So how can you check if your vehicle is marked by the police?
How can you avoid buying a car with a police marker on it? In this article we will answer this question and many others around this topic.

How Do You Check if Your Car is Marked by the Police?

The best, and most accurate way, to check if your car is marked by the police is by contacting the local law enforcement office closest to where you live. They should have the information on whether or not your vehicle has been under investigation or flagged for any reason.

Unfortunately, that’s about all you can do to find out if your vehicle is involved in any trouble with the police. 

Additionally, if you have the license plate or registration number for a vehicle, you may be able to find out if that vehicle is flagged. But the outcome may vary depending on the local law.

What is a police marker?

check if my car is marked by the police
Marker is assigned to vehicles that have something of interest to the police. It is a red flag placed on a vehicle’s registration plate and registered in the Police National Database (PND).
Every marked vehicle has a high chance of being pulled over for checks and other police activities including criminal investigations, depending on the reason for placing the marker on the car.

How Does the Police Track and Identify Vehicles?

There are many intricate methods that law enforcement uses to identify vehicles involved in any legal issue.

License Plate Registration (LPR)

One of the most common methods used is License Plate Recognition (LPR). License Plate Recognition is a technology that uses optical character recognition to read the vehicle’s license plate. This means that images from traffic cameras and CCTVs can be used to find information about said vehicle. 

Here’s how the police uses LPR to track and identify vehicles:

  1. The police deploy cameras on patrol cars and fixed locations (i.e., traffic lights and overpasses) to capture images of passing vehicles.
  2. The images are scanned with the OCR technology to convert the images into alphanumeric data.
  3. The data is then matched into the police’s database for things like stolen vehicle, vehicle involved in criminal activities, expired registrations, etc.
  4. An alert is then produced, which will be relayed to officers in the area.

There are more intricacies into the process, but that’s generally how it works. You can read the complete information on how the police uses LPR in this document.

GPS Tracking

If the police has acquired a warrant to track a specific vehicle, they are legally allowed to place a GPS tracker to keep an eye on its movement without having to be physically following it.

This is often used to track vehicles involved in high-profile or high-risk investigations, such as criminal activities.

Common Reasons Your Car is Flagged by The Police

Is my car marked? The police can assign markers to any vehicle for several reasons, consider the following reasons:

1. Reports and Complaints About the Vehicle

The most common reasons why you suddenly gets a traffic stop due to your vehicle being flagged is reports and complaints related to your vehicle. 

This usually happens after your car has been reported breaking the law or causing public annoyance, distress, or danger by anyone you have passed by along the way,  In the United States, there are violations that can cause your car to be flagged by the police:

In the United Kingdom, these laws are all nested under the Section 59 Marker — which we also cover in this article.

2. Theft Markers

One of the biggest and most predominant markers placed on vehicles is theft markers. Once a car has been stolen, it is not just the police that raises this marker, the insurance company gets invoked too.
Imagine driving your car and all of a sudden the police pulled you over and cuffed you just before you could realize it you are under arrest for possessing a stolen item. Embarrassing right?

This marker is definitely one you want to avoid, especially if you’re buying a used vehicle at a discounted price or with incomplete papers. 

One sure way to find out if the vehicle has been stolen is by getting a complete vehicle history report from providers like Detailed Vehicle History. 

3. Drug and Drug-Related offenses

If the police find drugs on a vehicle, they usually place a marker on it. They may also mark a vehicle if the driver is found drunk or involved in drunk driving.

The police place this marker because it is presumed possible to find drugs on the vehicle in the nearest future.

4. Cloned Vehicles

What if a piece of video evidence suggests you were spotted shoplifting? The individual look exactly like you putting on one of your favorite outfits. How will you feel?
The same is true of car cloning; it is a phenomenon that occurs when some criminal elements repair a written-off car or a stolen one and give it the identity of another vehicle.
The cloned vehicle may be sold for a really little price making the deal enticing to the buyer or could be used to commit crimes.
When this happens the police must surely place a marker on this vehicle. In a subsequent article, we will discuss how to avoid getting caught in the dark web of cloned vehicles.

5. Section 59 Markers (U.K)

If you are in the United Kingdom, Section 59 markers are usually placed on vehicles involved in antisocial behavior. This section allows the police to issue warnings related to activities that alarm, distress, or annoy the public.

Such activities can range from street racing to performing stunts, speeding through residential areas, and more. The Section 59 markers can add up, and multiple incidents within a year can result in confiscation. 

How to check if my car has been marked by police
Our checks provide you with a detailed vehicle history report about the vehicle in question, answering questions about mileage, previous owners, title changes, accident records, and lots more.

How Do I Remove the Police Marker from My Car?

If your car is marked, or you unknowingly bought a used car that’s been flagged by the police, you may not able to remove it yourself — or do anything about it without being in contact with the law enforcement.

In a nutshell, to remove a marker, you will have to visit the police station, providing a proof  of vehicle ownership, it is then left for the police to decide what to do.

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