Can a police officer still give you a ticket if they’re not wearing their hat?

From my blog, Simon Says. Category: Police Myths

I don’t know how many times I’ve heard people say that a police officer can’t give you a ticket if they’re not wearing their hat or if they did, you can get out of it if you tell the justice of the peace this in court.  Well, Simon Says: WRONG!

I don’t know where this idea first came from, perhaps it’s true in some jurisdictions in the United States and people who watched too many episodes of Cops thought it was true here as well, but it’s not.  Nowhere in the Highway Traffic Act does it say anything about officer’s being required to wear their hats.

The only thing that even comes close to dealing with the appearance or dress of an officer is found in Section 216 (1), which deals with the power of an officer to stop a vehicle.  It says “A police officer, in the lawful execution of his or her duties and responsibilities, may require the driver of a motor vehicle to stop and the driver of a motor vehicle, when signalled or requested to stop by a police officer who is readily identifiable as such, shall immediately come to a safe stop.”

This just means that you have to stop your vehicle for an officer who is readily identifiable as an officer.  Even without the police forage cap, you can still readily identify them by their uniform, the flashes on their shoulders, and their duty belt, not to mention the usual presence of a police cruiser.  That being said, this section still has nothing to do with the issuance of tickets.

Now you know that it doesn’t matter if an officer is wearing their hat or not when they give you a ticket.  So don’t make a big deal of it with the officer and definitely don’t take your ticket to court with that as the only thing you have to say to the justice of the peace – you’ll just look like an idiot and annoy the JP.

Of course, if you just obey the rules of the road, you won’t have this problem at all :)

About the Author

Simon Borys
Simon Borys is a former Police Officer, a student at Queen's University Law School and an aspiring Criminal Lawyer.

2 Comments on "Can a police officer still give you a ticket if they’re not wearing their hat?"

  1. Annie Duguay | January 31, 2012 at 10:45 am |

    I was told by a retired peel police officer that if an officer is not in full uniform when he comes out of an unmarked car (in my case his own with 2 other officers) he must be in full uniform including his hat to give a ticket. Please clarify this for me. He also had to go into the trunk of his car to retrieve his ticket book and what looked like a small black tablet. Any information you can provide would be greatly appreciated.

  2. he lied to you. the only reason he would even be close to right would be if they had a dept policy on the uniform, but he doesn’t have to be wearing a hat to give a ticket. In fact, I never wore a hat on duty and still wrote tickets.

    Not sure how he pulled you over in his personal car, without lights and stuff.

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