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How To Get Out of a Traffic Ticket

By Edited Feb 6, 2016 2 2

Sooner or later, no matter how good of a driver you are, you are likely to find yourself pulled over.  Even if you are always careful, or never break the rules, chances are, it will happen.

Sometimes you get caught in a speed trap in an area you are unfamiliar with.  Sometimes you really just need to rush because it's an emergency.  Heck, sometimes even the cop's radar gun might not be calibrated correctly.  Everybody makes mistakes, or ends up unlucky, and that's okay.

As long as you don't plan on making a habit out of reckless driving, there is no reason that you shouldn't be able to take advantages of and exercise your rights of the law to get out of a minor driving misdemeanor.  And if you play your cards right and follow some of these tips, you may even be able to get away scot free without any further trouble.

Show the Officer You Aren't a Threat

Sometimes when people get pulled over, they take it as a personal insult.  They want to get out of the car and yell, and they are tempted to do the types of things you might see in TV shows or movies.  This is the wrong approach to have.

As soon as you see the lights in your mirror or the noise of the siren, pull over.  If you are not in a position to safely get off the road, then put on your indicator and slow down so that the officer knows you see him and intend to get off the road as soon as possible.

Once you are off the road, turn your car off, and make sure the radio isn't playing.  If it is night time, turn on the interior light.  If this happens during the day, take off your sunglasses.  Roll down your window, and slowly reach your hand out and place your keys on top of the car.  Do not worry about grabbing your license and registration yet, you don't want the officer to think you are reaching around for something else.  Instead, sit quietly and make sure you're calm.

pulled over

Show the Officer Respect

After the officer is at your window, reach slowly for your license and registration.  Remember, his first priority is his own safety, so don't make any fast movements.  If you have passengers in the car, make sure they are quiet and also showing respect.

If you know what you did wrong, do not try and lie about it.  If at any point you start being rude, or accusing his equipment of not being calibrated properly, he is just going to get annoyed with you.  This is also not the time to start spouting off your rights or the sub-section of some local highway code.  It's going to make him angry and give you the ticket no matter what.  Part of the police's whole essence is a pride thing, so play to that.

Right now we are all about appealing to the human side of the police officer.  Showing that you know you made a mistake and are prepared to own up to it will make him like you.  Lots of guys will get hot headed.  Resist this temptation.

Wait for his Decision

He's going to have to go run your license and everything to make sure you are all legitimate.  Usually when he gets back is when you'll hear the verdict.  Obviously a previously clean driving record will work in your favor.  If he lets you off with a warning, then thank him and let him know you won't let it happen again.

If you are not so lucky, now is the time to calmly explain your side of the story.  Let him know about that important meeting you had to get to, or whatever the story may be.  Don't whine and complain, just calmly explain the story and tell him you know it isn't an excuse for reckless driving.   The majority of the time if you can pull this off smoothly he will let you off with a lesser charge, generally something that ensures the local municipality still gets their money, but you don't get any points or marks on your record.

Sometimes the cop is just having a bad day or feeling angry, and you're still going to end up with the full charge.  At this point, your behavior is very important.  Do NOT get angry or bring up your legal talk now.  Calmly leave the scene.

writing ticket

Court it Out

At this point, you have a few options for court.  You can decide to get a traffic lawyer, which will probably run you a hundred bucks or so.  However, it will all but guarantee you skate out of the situation with most of the charges dropped.  Of course, this is the more expensive option.

The other thing that you can do is head to court yourself on the designated date.  There are lots of strategies that you can find online, like pushing back the date if possible and things like that.  Obviously if it is months after the incident the officer isn't going to really remember it too well, or he may not show at all.  If he doesn't show, you're off the hook no matter.

If you go to court and he does show, make sure you are at the courtroom early.  Talk to him beforehand and explain that this ticket is really important to you.  In nearly all instances, unless you were doing something absolutely insane, you can get him to drop the charges so you are just paying a fine, and no points end up on your license.

If you're looking to get out of this without paying, it's going to be pretty difficult.  You're almost always going to have to at least pay some court fee.  But hey, most of the time you probably were doing something wrong, so be happy that you are able to get out of this by simply losing a little money.  Resolve to drive safer from this point forward, and try not to get yourself into this situation again.  Even if you don't get out of the ticket, you've got an interesting learning experience to tell your friends about.

How to Talk Your Way Out of a Traffic Ticket
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A funny and informative read!


Feb 24, 2014 1:59pm
Good points. Getting tickets is never fun and after the fines, court fees, insurance hike, and time spent, the costs truly start adding up.
Feb 27, 2014 3:47pm
I liked your point about explaining what happened even if you're going to get written up anyway. They certainly can give you a lesser citation if they choose. My last ticket was a darn red light camera, I did a stop and go on red without enough stop!
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