Traffic Violation:

Speaking with the Officer

The way in which you speak to an officer and what you say are very important. In fact, they can determine if you receive a ticket and, should you get a ticket, if you are able to successfully contest it in court.

It is advisable to limit the amount you speak and to speak politely. You should not speak first or confront the officer. A hostile question or sarcastic statement on your part could turn the officer against you. Observe with the officer’s requests rather than making demands. For example, don’t demand to know the reason you were pulled over before you comply with his request to see your license and registration.

Officers are often trained that before they leave their vehicle they should know if they are going to issue a traffic ticket or a warning. Keep this in mind. An officer that may appear to have an open mind may be trying to coax an admission of guilt out of you. Officers consciously try to get drivers to admit that they violated the law or were driving in a careless or inattentive manner. To do this, they ask questions that might prompt an admission of guilt, or at least the implication of guilt. These questions commonly include, “Do you know why I stopped you?” and, “Do you know how fast you were going?” Your answer to the first should be a simple and confident “No.” To the second, if you answered that you did not, that would imply guilt, or at least inattentive driving. Because of this, you should answer a simple and confident “Yes.” Do not argue when the officer says the speed you were allegedly going. Silence is golden; it is not an admission of guilt and cannot be held against you in court. The basic principles are: less is more, do not admit guilt, and remain polite at all times.

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