4 Tips to Help You Get Out of a Traffic Ticket
By: Good2GoPublished: March 3, 2014
There’s nothing worse than hearing a police siren and seeing flashes of blue light in your rear-view mirror. As you pull over, you quickly think to yourself, “Was I speeding? Did I run a stop sign? I wasn’t drinking tonight. What did I do?” Don’t panic. Whether you are guilty or not of any traffic violation, there are a few things you can do to get out of a traffic ticket or at least reduce the charges.
Fines collected from traffic tickets amount to billions of dollars in revenue in jurisdictions across the U.S. A simple speeding ticket could cost you upwards of $1,000 when you factor in the fine, court costs and the increase in your insurance premiums. Some drivers just can’t afford these costs in addition to possible points on their driving record. Here’s what you can do to increase your chances of being left with a warning and other lesser penalties.
1. Be Polite and Respectful
Being polite and respectful to the ticketing officer can go a long way. If you are uncooperative and get into an argument with the officer, you are less likely to be let go with a warning, and more likely to remembered the next time you slip up. Your goal is to be likeable and convince the officer to be a little more lenient with you.
2. Put the Officer at Ease
Officers deal with dangerous people every day, especially on the road. Their number one concern is their personal safety. By being low risk, you won’t arouse suspicion and you’ll lessen the tension between you and the officer. When you are pulled over, be sure to shut off your engine, turn on the interior lights, and remove any concealing clothing or accessories like hats, hoodies, or sunglasses. Place your hands on the steering wheel at 10 and 2 o’clock and keep them in plain view. Don’t try to get out of the car or reach for anything inside the car. Your job is to put the officer at ease and show that you mean no harm.
3. Exercise your Rights
Most drivers aren’t aware of their rights when they get pulled over for a traffic violation. After the officer has collected all of your information, ask politely if you may speak about your violation. If you are suspected of speeding, you may even ask to see the radar and question if it has been recently calibrated for proper detection. This request may be fulfilled in certain jurisdictions.
If you are being questioned, it’s common for an officer to use tricks and tactics to make you admit guilt. For example, if an officer asks you “have you had anything to drink tonight,” you can respond with “Respectfully officer, I don’t have to answer that.” This may seem like you are resisting and the officer may use that to his advantage. Just reiterate that you do not have to answer that question.
The officer may even ask to have a look around your vehicle to see if you are hiding anything. However, you can politely tell the officer “I don’t consent to searches.” This is especially important if he does not have a search warrant or probable cause to search your vehicle. To learn more about the rights you have when interacting with a police officer, check out this infographic.
4. Be Honest
Sometimes honesty is the best policy. If you are fully aware that you broke the law, admit it immediately and be sincere in your admission. Tell the officer that he was right for pulling you over and he may decide that it’s unnecessary to punish you any further, especially if it is your first violation. The better you make the officers feel about their work, the more likely they are to let you off with a warning.
Keep in mind that if the officer still gives you a ticket and you decide to contest it, any admissions when you were pulled over can be used against you. So the next time you find yourself being pulled over, consider these four tips. But remember, all officers aren’t so lenient on traffic violators and some traffic violations come with severe penalties.
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