How to get out of a speeding ticket

nerdwallet.com

nerdwallet.com

Ah yes, let me guess. You’ve gotten one too many speeding tickets, right? Or maybe you live life on the edge, but you’ve been lucky. Either way, you’ve come to the right place. Let’s say you’ve just been pulled over and the officer is quickly approaching. Don’t panic! Here’s what you do:

Give an honest estimate

Like most police encounters, the officer will ask if you know how fast you were going, or if you know why they pulled you over. Don’t try to lie and downplay how fast you were going. The officer already knows how fast you were going; that’s why they pulled you over in the first place.

Don’t tell them your whole life story

If they ask you your reasoning for breaking the law, aside from an affirmative excuse defense, explain in a few sentences or less. Policemen hear excuses every time they pull someone over, investigate, or apprehend. Over time, they tend to block excuses out. Someone left their turkey in the oven, someone is late to work, someone’s gotta go to the bathroom real bad – they’ve heard it all, and they don’t want to hear yours.

Watch your tone of voice

Officers pull people over because it’s a daily job requirement. They deal with irritated and outspoken drivers every day. You can scream and shout all you want, just not within earshot of the officer. If you treat an officer with respect, they will be much more likely to lower your charge or even let you off the hook.

Thank them

Regardless of the interaction, ticket, or lack thereof, thank the officer. Police officers have been trained, either by the academy or personal experience, to trust no one. While in a court of law, the defendant is innocent unless proven guilty, out in the field, a suspect is guilty until proven innocent. This is for their own safety. When an officer is not pulling someone over, they’re either handling a shooting or domestic violence call, and they never know what they’re walking into. While they may have a tough exterior, it’s hard to write someone a ticket when they’ve acted nicer than anyone all week.

Ask for a warning

When a police officer pulls you over, they start by listing your vehicle type, your plates, your license number and the location before they even leave their vehicle. When they come up the very first time to your window, that is the time to plead your case. If your simple excuse doesn’t seem like it has convinced them, directly ask for them to give you a warning. Police officers have the power to use their discretion, where they can use their own judgement in lieu of the law. If you’ve been respectful and honest, an officer can simply let you go. They are not required to give you a ticket, although it of course is the standard and moral thing to do.

These won’t get you a warning if you were recklessly driving or drunk. They’re not a “get out of jail free card.” However, they will help you interact with police officers more efficiently, and even allow you to drive away freely. Next time, maybe just don’t speed like a madman. If you still do, at least learn how to drive like you’re on Fast and Furious.