• Dec 23, 2012
These few tips will help you out if you're issued a tic... These few tips will help you out if you're issued a ticket (Casey Serin, Flickr).
Just like Santa is filling his sleigh getting ready for the Big Day, police officers are checking their supplies to make sure they have enough paper tickets to hand out to drivers speeding their way over the rivers and through the woods on the way to grandmother's house.

Nobody likes paying for tickets. But if you're a driver, they're a fact of life -- especially around the holidays when police are looking for easy ways to fill their quotas. The odds are that as a motorist you're going to have a run-in with the law.

While we don't condone unsafe driving, there are ways to make sure a bad day on the road doesn't lead to a bad day for your wallet. Here are some tips on how to avoid getting a ticket. The tips are divided between those you can use on the road when you've been pulled over and those you can use in court -- if it gets that far.

On the Road

Be polite

It may be a routine traffic stop to you, but the cop doesn't know how dangerous the situation might be. So, when he pulls you over, keep in mind that he's looking at it as a tense situation. If you're rude, you'll only make it worse and lessen your chances of escaping the ticket. Be polite; roll down your window and turn off your radio. If you smoke, put out the cigarette. All of these things are common courtesy and they all communicate something to the officer: You care enough to give him your undivided attention. Talking on your cell phone or insisting that he hurry up is a surefire way to land yourself a ticket.

Don't talk too much

The more you talk, the more he can use against you in court. That doesn't mean you have to be a mute, but sometimes cops will let you think you're talking your way out of it when they're really just giving you enough rope to hang yourself. Don't let yourself get into a conversation in which you confess to breaking the law so that you may get off with a warning. Once the patrolman has a confession, he or she has what's needed to beat you in court should you contest the ticket.

Don't argue or plead ignorance

The side of the road is no place to argue. Sometimes a cop might try to bait you into an argument (they're human and we all have bad days). But, usually, an argument can be avoided. If you can't get the officer to see things your way by calmly and clearly stating your case, don't keep going. If you do, you will only antagonize him.

As for ignorance, think again. It might work if you're a cute girl, but for most guys, it's just a lame excuse. When you get your license, you agree to abide by the rules of the road, so ignorance just isn't going to fly. Plus, it's a common excuse, which means cops hear it all the time and are less likely to let you off with just a warning.

Ask for a warning

It never hurts to ask for a warning. But don't beg -- that's a sign of weakness. It's also very annoying. When an officer gives you a warning, he's doing you a favor, so try to approach asking for a warning the same way you might ask a friend to help you move. It's a big favor on his part, and you've got to make him want to help you.

In Court

Present a strong case

Presenting a strong case is about knowing the law. While it will help to review the relevant portion of the driver's handbook, the judge doesn't need you to tell him about the law; trust me, he knows it. Instead, focus on making yourself an effective advocate: Be organized, be on time, speak clearly and dress appropriately. All of these things will set you apart from most of the people the judge sees every day, and he'll be more inclined to rule in your favor if you make his job easier.

Accept a plea

If you're looking at multiple charges, ask to plead guilty to the lesser charge in exchange for dismissing the others. You can do this before your proceeding begins. Oftentimes, judges will do this to save time. The benefit to you is that you can save money and points against your insurance. But remember: The plea bargain only benefits you when you're facing many charges.

Use an attorney

If you're facing serious charges that may result in you losing your license, getting heavy fines or jail time, it's worth bringing a lawyer. That should go without saying, but a lot people think they can fly solo because it's traffic court. Wrong: When your license and your freedom are on the line, you need a lawyer. Ask a friend or consult online listings and reviews to find a lawyer who specializes in traffic offenses.

Request a trial by mail

Most jurisdictions let you make your case by mail. The advantages are twofold. First, you can sit down and think out your case without the pressure of being on the spot and facing the arresting officer and the judge. Second, if you lose, you can request a trial in person, which means you get a second bite at the apple.

Getting ticketed

If there is a common denominator to these tips, it's that you need to know how to handle yourself in a difficult situation. While many men know how to handle a tough day at work or a fight with their girlfriends, an encounter with the law can be a bit scary. The best advice is to relax and fall back on what you've learned.



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  • 485 Comments
      • 2 Years Ago
      to the writer, at the end of your article,....wow, how sexist was that!!!! i work hard.......
      • 2 Years Ago
      You just tell the cop that he is acting stupidly and you are illegal and that makes you special. You don't need a licence or proof of anything. Tell him to cram the ticket up his a s s or you will call Obama.
      • 2 Years Ago
      Cops dont have Quotas. They are illegal. Follow the law and you wont get a ticket.
        • 2 Years Ago
        Maybe, but all that means is that they don't call them quotas. They still write tickets until their shift is over. And lots of people get tickets, even when they think they are following the law. For example, traffic and parking statutes are written by the cities and counties. They can change in subtle ways from town to town, or even in different parts of town that cross county lines. So even if you are trying to follow the law, you can still get a ticket. I know - I used to work as a traffic ticket hearing officer.
        • 2 Years Ago
        Follow the law you say. Why should we. The bankers don't, JPM doesn't, Goldman Sachs doesn't, B of A and Wells Fargo don't. Neither do our elected officials. So why should we obey the law?
        RetiredWorking
        • 2 Years Ago
        They might not have quotas, but they get the word from their superiors. Once I saw SIX cars pulled over simultaneously (traveling both ways) in a 2-block area.....DIRECTLY in front of the police station. Coincidence?
      crisvoness
      • 2 Years Ago
      it is NOT unavoidable to get a ticket...just observe the speed limit and obey traffic laws...most of all, be a courteous driver and you'll have no problems with law enforcement.
      WILLIAM HOWARD
      • 2 Years Ago
      If you are intent on getting a ticket, some folks really are, the first thing you should say to the officer is "what's the problem?". Also, continue to deny that you did anything to warrant being stopped, police officers like to be told they are wrong. Be sure and tell them that you know the only reason you are being stopped is because of your skin color. Believe it or not, most police officers do not like to write traffic tickets, most often they want to see why you are in such a hurry or driving erratically, this results in many arrests for serious crimes. Slow down, drive sensibly and avoid the stop.
      jking41198
      • 2 Years Ago
      I have driven more than 1 million miles over nearly 45 years and have never received a driving violation citation or warning.
      mdennis7352
      • 2 Years Ago
      I am sure being a cop is sometimes not an easy job, but here in Mass. where the cops make a killing doing details at about $45- 50 an hr they don't seem to be too concearned with paying attention. Amazing how they can stop you for a license plate light burned out but are never there when you are trying to go the speed limit and everyone is riding your #$! I have seen them give tickets for the most minor infractions and nowhere to be seen for the idiots blasting through stop signs and going 20mph over the limit. I know someone who just got a $200 tickets for a roll through at a stop sign when I see a lot of cars not even slowing down at same stop sign. It just seems to me that if you are going to nail people for money (and it seems they do it more in a budget shortfall in my town) make an effort to go after the worst first. It almost seems like they avoid trouble spots in town in favor of writing traffic tickets and target the easy prey for writing tickets. No where near the bar in my town when all the drunken drivers are disturibing the peace at last call but always within a quarter mile of big intersection and dunkin donuts writing up tickets? You heard me Templeton, MA how about the drunks at the Onion or the juv. delinquints in Baldwinville center doing vandalism. I wonder if it is apathy or the local bar owner pays them off. One bar in town gets shut down and the other one does far worse and ignored. Anyway why do all the cops at details in Mass. spend their time on the cell phone and/or texting. New Hampshire runs construction sites better with flaggers than the cops who can hardly bother to look up or wave their hand for you.
        sforces23
        • 2 Years Ago
        @mdennis7352
        u have to remember something in most areas you will only have a certain amount of officers on shift at a time. i was state here in VA and we normally had 2-3 per shift covering a 500 square mile county to supplement the SO department who had anywhere between 4-7 on a shift to cover a population of 30,000. Its just the way it is. Cant be everywhere at once
      jzimmer750
      • 2 Years Ago
      Thx Greeneyes. Your are 100 % correct. Joey 3/4. Again 99.9 % of us are by the bbok. The only reason why the "bad apples" get singled out is video. Recently I stopped a Bud Lite driver for 79 in 55 mph zone. On a two lane road in GA, thats called "Super Speeder". Thats the county fine plus $200 which goes directly to the 6 state trauma centers. Sorry I digressed. The driver filed a complaint on me, stating I yelled, threatened and "bullied" him. Well my Capt pulled my DVD and met with the driver. Guess what, not only did I not do anything alledged, but even advised him how he could lower his points. Now, I wanted to go to the local Budweiser plant and speak with his supervisor. I would have proof (DVD) and tell them of their drivers reckless conduct and then slandering me. Of course, we just suck it up. Nobody likes a Cop, until they need one!!!! Then we are their Hero's. I would like to go to the offenders place of employment and tell them how to do their job. To those who hate cops, try a ride along on Fri/Sat nights. It will open your eyes. We had three chases last Fri and two more on Sat night. A true "COPS Reality Show"!
      jzimmer750
      • 2 Years Ago
      I always love these preconcieved notions about police. First I've been in law enforcement for 30 yrs. Well why I cant speak for all cops, hate using the liberal term 99.9 % of us are by the book, but also have compassion and empathy. Except for State Troopers, the rest of us answer 911 calls, when you'all call for us. Again I'm in Georgia. We dont have a "quota" for citations. There has been many agencies (usually rural and small) that have had this practice. In Georgia, if you get caught, the agency will lose their radar permits for a period of time. Also as for fine collection, a LE department can only earn a % of money from fines. If it is above a certain %, there is an investigation, possible suspension. Now again in GA and most of the south, we can only issue speeding tickets for 10 mph or more. Our department has a 15 mph minimum. ** Note- State Troopers are exempt as well as tickets in residential/school zones (though 10 mph is still the rule. So if your going 15 mph over the posted, c'mon really. Keep it 9-10 over the posted spped limit, 99.9% you will be fine. Use cruise control and "DON'T HOLD COURT ON THE SHOULDER", We promise you will get at least one ift not more! Be safe!
      • 2 Years Ago
      This article is quite inaccurate. If you are rude or argue right off the bat when you get pulled over than yes, you will most likely get a ticket. Most of the time it is just luck if you get a ticket or not. If you get pulled over by a motorcycle cop you will 99% get a ticket because that is their job. Some cops like writing tickets, some don't. I personally am not big on writing tickets unless you deserve one for example, no insurance or no DL. Police DO NOT have Quotas it is illegal, at least in Texas. A police officer can get into trouble from a supervisor for not pulling over many vehicles, but they cannot tell you to write a certain amount of tickets. Cops don’t care about writing tickets to earn the city money, they’re not seeing any of that money. Most cops also won’t waste their time on pulling people over for less than 10 mph over the limit. My suggestion to not getting a citation: Do not cry, do not ask for a warning (unlike the article states), be polite, admit and be honest if you are in the wrong. Most police officer are out to get criminals, not law abiding tax paying citizens.
        • 2 Years Ago
        Thank you for the info. I live in Washington state, I was told by a police officer if you are going 5mph over you will get a ticket. Is this just in city limits? I think Washington is a much stricter state.
        gr8bsn
        • 2 Years Ago
        Well, I got pulled over by a motorcycle cop a couple of years ago and got off with a warning. He was out looking for drunks (it was near New Year's). I was on my way home from work and hadn't had a drink all day. He said I was speeding (which I wasn't) and after a quick check of ID, let me go. I think I was stopped for a total of 3 minutes.
      • 2 Years Ago
      Here in New York City The police barely fight crime anymore, they are just revenue makers for the tax & spend liberal billionaire Mayor Bloomberg!! Seat belt & cell phone usage are no longer moving violations, just $130.00 ($50.00 fine+ $80.00 surcharge)!! However,trucks, trailers, & buses can violate the left lane resrictions on highways with impunity!! I guess someone not wearing a seatbelt in a 3000 lb car is more dangerous on the road than a 40 ton bus or trailer in the wrong lane?!
      • 2 Years Ago
      I inadvertly turned right onto a one way street years ago, should have turned left. But I only had to drive 50 feet or so to a stop sign and turn right to get off the one way street. Just as I pulled up to the stop sign a cop came by and pulled me over. I explained that I knew I had turned right instead of left, and that I thought it better to go ahead and get off the road than to try to turn around and go back the right way. He agreed, and told me to just be more careful. No ticket.
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