The keys to getting out of a traffic ticket are to remain calm, make the cop feel secure and to be sincere.
No one likes getting pulled over, it's a fact of life that it can happen. Cops have a crappy job, there's no doubt about it. When a person can make a cop's life easier, it makes the experience go a lot smoother for the person who is pulled over.
However, there are some tricks to avoid getting a ticket and having the incident go favorably for you.
First, here are some sure ways to make sure you're going to get the book thrown at you and watch your insurance rates skyrocket:
- I pay your salary - Cops just love this. The honest truth is that you do pay their salary, however, I can promise you that this is not the first time the cop has heard that, nor will it be the last.
- Your radar detector is lying! wasn't going the speed it says! - Time to time, these have been found to be out of calibration. However, the likelyhood that this one is not calibrated properly is so slim, you'd have an easier time flipping a casino chip onto a roulette table blindfolded, hit the double-zero and then the roulette ball also hitting the double-zero.
- Don't you have better things to do than harass innocent people? - Actually, the answer is probably no. Chances are likely is that traffic control is their assigned duty. It's their job to find people who are speeding, driving drunk, running red lights, that sort of thing.
- I know the mayor! - So you want a cookie? "Put your money where your mouth is and have him give me a call to verify."
- Crying - This works for women a lot more than men. If you're a guy and you start crying, I really hope you have a mental health professional on speed dial. It won't work for us guys.
- Don't argue - "Save it for court" is what you'll be told. And you will probably wind up being there with the officer.
Cops really are not out to ruin your life, so get over the conspircy theories, threats to call the mayor etc. They don't work and won't help you get out of the ticket.
I get pulled over about once a year for various infractions. Sometimes it was directly my fault, othertimes it was something I did but didn't intend to do. I haven't gotten a ticket in six years.
Furthermore, I have a license in the state of Texas to teach defensive driving. I really have heard it all.
There are some times you may get pulled over and the ticket cannot be avoided.
- Speed traps - The likelyhood of getting out of a ticket that was written while it was a designated speed trap is small. It's hard to cry your way out of a ticket when it's common knowledge that everyone and their grandmother is speeding on that stretch of road. It's not impossible, good sales people can usually talk their way out of these tickets.
- School and construction zones - Anyone with one fuctioning eye can see that they are entering a construction or school zone. Cops take speeders on these roads very seriously, and they should. Kids are unpredictable and construction workers have a very dangerous job and people should be mindful of both situations.
- Red light and traffic cameras - The likelyhood that they are malfunctioning is slim at best. The only real defense is if someone else is driving the car. Enjoy selling out your friend.
The best advice one can offer is to chalk it up as an experience, pay the fine and attend traffic school, if offered so the points don't slam your record.
Now, there are some ways to help getting out of a ticket. First, some background on this. At night, cops typically are after drunk drivers. They're a hazard on the road. Most people who are driving drunk commit some sort of traffic code offense such as speeding or running a light. Cops typically go lighter on people who are not drunk but commit these offenses at night. Cops, usually, have bigger fish to fry.
Here are some very simple things that one can do to increase the likelyhood that they will avoid a ticket when being pulled over:
- Be very polite - Don't kiss the cops butt, but use common courtesy. Don't make stupid remarks such as "I was doing well until I got pulled over!" When a cop asks "how are you today?" State "Good, how are you?" or something to that effect.
- Make the cop feel secure - I cannot stress this enough. The cop's ultimate goal is to go home at the end of the shift to their families in one piece. Again, this cannot be stressed enough. When you first get pulled over, do not even begin to dig around the glove compartment, center console or reach for a wallet. The truth is, pulling an unknown driver over is the single most dangerous thing a cop can do. When you get pulled over, immediately roll down the windows (in the winter, just crack it open half way), turn off the car, take the keys and put them on the dashboard, turn the flashers on and turn the dome light on. This means you mean business and not trying to do anything fishy.
- Tell the cop where your papers/license are - This is akin to making the cop feel secure. When he asks for license/insurance/registration, tell the cop where everything is located and every step. "My license is in my wallet in my right back pocket, I'm going to take my right arm and pull out my wallet." This sounds very cheesey, but if the cop knows you are honest and cooperative, the likelyhood that your going to get out of the ticket is much higher.
- Tell the truth - Cops really were not born yesterday. Most will ask "Do you know why I pulled you over?" The answer should be the truth "I probably was speeding/blew the stop sign/ran the light." Adding the other factors, honesty is going to get you very far.
Getting out of a ticket isn't rocket science, but these are some often overlooked but common sense actions that one can take.
As far as personal experience. I once was pulled over in Long Beach, Calif. after running a red light. The cop came over, had my hands on the steering wheel with my window down, car was off and the keys were on the dashboard. He asked why I was pulled over and I said I wasn't really too sure (which was honest) and he explained that I ran a red light. At no point did I say "you're lying!" or "No I didn't!" I calmly explained what happened. I was not from the area (truth), and was meeting some friends at a local restaurant (truth) and could not find a parking spot (truth). I suppose I did miss the light since I was pre-occupied with trying to find somewhere to park (truth). I never once blamed the cop for pulling me over. I never shouted that he was a liar/thug/recepient of my tax dollars.
The cop explained to me how, because of the bars in the area, they have a lot of drunk drivers, they did run my info to make sure I was not wanted, got my license/reg back with a "just be safe" from the cops and was free to go.
Another time, in a suburb of San Francisco where I was living, I was pulled over for making an illegal turn and speeding. The cop asked why I did what I was doing. I began to explain that I was just at my friend's house but he wasn't there so I was going home. He called when I was at the traffic light and didn't think about turning on my blinker (truth) and that I started to head towards his place. When it came to the speed, I thought the speed limit was 35 (truth) when it was really 25. Cop ran my info, said that I was free to go.
In Phoenix, AZ, I was pulled over for running a freeway metering light. I explained that I always thought that metering did not apply when there was no one waiting and that I thought that was true. He explained otherwise and said that often people just blow them and race into traffic. I got off with a written warning.
So, getting out of tickets isn't impossible, it does take an effort to do so.