• Dec 23rd 2012 at 2:00PM
  • 485
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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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 3 Years Ago
      if you are a single mother Please don t use it as forgiveness to the cop..I know a lady that tried that line, the cop become very angry and told her he was only going to give her a warning,but issued a ticket instade
      • 3 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"!
      • 3 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!
      • 3 Years Ago
      I have several uncles that are cops. The first one said "Give me five minutes with anybody, including the POPE and I will find a reason to arrest them." The second one said "Never! Never! trust a cop" ! He ran a lie detector service and ran internal security for a major city police department.
      • 3 Years Ago
      "Nobody likes paying for tickets. But if you're a driver, they're a fact of life -- especially at the end of the month or around the holidays when police scramble to fill their quotas." That quote is a lie, if you are going to report; REPORT ACCURATLEY! I am law enforcement officer in Pennsylvania and it is against the law here to have a quota system. By saying that you give the rest of law enforcement a black eye. There are many other states that have the same policy & procedures that make a quota system illegal!
      • 3 Years Ago
      They left out the one or two things all police appreciate and might help you not get ticketed. 1. Pull into a very safe area, or a side street if possible to allow the police a safer spot to get out. 2. Put both of your hands outside the open driver's side window to show the officer that it is safe to approach. Believe me, police officers appreciate this. This shows me what kind of research this article actually did.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Yup, right! Like the officer that pulled me over for passing him on the right (legal in our state), and then lied in court about the speed he was traveling. He had been speeding up and slowing down in the left lane, causing a dangerous situation, so I passed him on the right--going the speed limit or 1mph under. I requested the camera from his car be included, but that's right--they don't put cameras in rookie's cars!!! That would have caught him trying to start an argument with me (I refused), etc. P.S. I work in law enforcement.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Yea, but cops are using a new scheme. Many write the ticket in their car BEFORE they come to your window and when you ask for a warning, they say "Sorry, I already wrote the ticket, there's nothing I can do now."
      • 3 Years Ago
      simple dont speed dont tailgate use your turn signals ,, dont and get pulled over it's not that hard to not get tickets
      • 3 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.
      • 3 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.
      • 3 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.
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