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Tips for Motorists on How to Get a Warning, Not a Ticket

Policeofficer Via Consumerist I found this article from MarketWatch on what motorists should say (and not say) to police officers when they are pulled over.

The article offers a reminder that with very few exceptions, police are not mandated to write you a ticket after pulling you over. In fact, the article states, most officers would actually prefer to "send you on your way with a friendly warning." Thus, what you say and do in your brief interaction with the officer during the stop can be critical to the ultimate outcome, i.e., a ticket or no ticket.

Some tips from the article:

1. "Play nice"

In other words, accept that the police have caught you doing something that's against the law. Do not argue and demand information, or imply the officer pulled you over for no reason. As one Chicago officer put it, "if they try to take charge of the traffic stop, they're not going to get out of it without a ticket. We ask the questions, not them."

2. "Keep it honest"

Don't lie. An officer from the LAPD estimates that nine out of 10 people lie to him, which he views as "an attack on our intelligence." On the flip side, sometimes the truth is all the officer needs to hear to send you on your way with just a warning, such as the young man pulled over for speeding who confessed he wasn't paying attention because he was on Cloud 9 after "the best date of my life. I just met my future bride." "How are you going to write that guy up after that?" a New Jersey officer wondered. (As I noted here, other truthful statements such as "I was speeding because my colonoscopy bag is leaking” can also be effective).

Some other tips from police:

  • don't use pejoratives;
  • don't call female officers "baby" or "sweetheart;"
  • don't interrupt the officer; 
  • stay calm; and
  • avoid quick movements, as police must assume, for their own safety, that everyone is carrying a gun.

Read all of the tips in the full article here.

Posted by Bruce Carton on September 27, 2010 at 11:17 AM | Permalink | Comments (5)

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