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What To Do If Getting Pulled Over

Andrew PrinceYou don’t see the law heading from the other direction, but the law has seen you.

You know you are going to have a conversation now and you probably already know exactly why you are going to have it. Can you do anything to get out of a ticket?

No. At least nothing that will absolutely, positively work every time. But there are tactics you should use in every encounter with police or the highway patrol to aid your chances.

Be calm. Acknowledge the fact that you are being pulled over with a wave if you are being followed and by nodding should the officer come up beside you. Pick a safe spot where the car or bike will not get mired in sand and where he has sufficient room to park.

The next minute is critical. If operating a motorcycle, stop the bike, turn off the ignition, set the bike on the sidestand and slowly get off the bike. Stand on the side of the bike away from the road and open your helmet visor. Keep your hands in view.What you are doing is assuring the officer that you are not going to run, or produce a weapon from your jacket or luggage and cause him physical harm. Your sole goal at this point is to put the officer at ease.

Do not talk. The officer will begin the conversation, usually asking for license and registration, though sometimes you may be asked to remove your helmet before you get to that stage. Again, do it slowly. Before going for the license, tell him where it is before you reach for it. “Yes, sir. It is in my wallet, back pocket.” After handing over your license, let him know where the registration and insurance paperwork is. Produce it with a minimum of fuss; a big portion of getting through the next few minutes is to have all your paperwork in order. If you are riding on an expired license or registration, do not
have a motorcycle endorsement or cannot find your insurance paperwork, you are most of the way to getting some kind of ticket, if only because you seem to say “I do not care about the law.”

“Yes, sir” and “No, sir” like crazy. Confrontational behavior will only be met with more of the same. Do not admit to any speed. Sometimes, that “how fast do you think you were going” question is a fishing expedition. Do not bite. Worst of all is flat-out lying. If you have been doing 80 mph, do not try to say you were going 60 mph.

Traffic officers pride themselves on being able to judge speed at a glance and the best ones can guess within 2-3 mph of actual. You are not going to win that argument. Just say, “I’m sorry for you having you to stop me. I should have known better”

Show remorse. Unless the officer has retreated to his heated/air-conditioned car to write the ticket, stand there and apologize. Answer his questions in a forthright way, but do not admit fault, just say “sorry.” Then stop talking. A pause in the conversation as he stands there with your license in hand, looking over you and your motorcycle means he is probably thinking about letting you off. Do not change his mind by saying something dumb.

This is human nature in action. If you seem reasonable and sincere, and do not act like the kind of fool who would run triple digits in a school zone, you stand a decent chance of getting a warning. Proper, complete gear is helpful. And, if you do get a ticket, hold your argument for court. No whining to the cop.

If you do receive a ticket/moving violation, please feel free to contact me here or 1-800-TEAM-LAW (800) 832-6259. There is never a charge for a consultation. I am here to help you.