The only safe way to avoid a traffic ticket is to avoid breaking the law in the first place, but if you’re asking this question, you’re past that point. In the United States, an average of 125,000 people receive speeding tickets each day. A single speeding offense can increase a driver’s insurance premiums by 25 percent, depending on the nature of the offense and other factors, so it’s no wonder that drivers look for ways to avoid tickets.
The bad news: The police officer who pulls you over will ultimately decide whether or not to give you the ticket, and there’s no magic phrase that will work 100 percent of the time. Still, there are a few key ways to minimize your risks:
Remain friendly and considerate throughout the interaction.
Smile, answer the officer’s questions, and don’t try to butt in with explanations for your behavior. Even if you feel that the police are being rude, don’t respond in kind.
"Never tell a police officer that ‘I pay your salary’ because, well, so do they, because they pay taxes too," traffic ticket attorney Jay Ruane told Urbo.
A former NYPD officer, who asked to remain anonymous in the Urbo piece, agreed with that assessment.
"Don’t huff and puff, roll your eyes, or imply for them to hurry up because you have more important things to do," he said. "Most cops don’t like ruining your day, but we get paid to try to make the roadways a bit safer for our families and everyone else’s. Don’t minimize that."
Don’t admit guilt.
If you don’t think you did anything wrong, resist the urge to apologize. Remember, if you get a ticket, you may be able to fight it in court, but admitting guilt will seal your fate before you get a chance to speak to a judge. If the police ask if you know why you were pulled over, you can always answer with, "No, sir."
By the same token, you shouldn’t lie. Don’t make up excuses or insist that the officer’s wrong. Stay calm and collected. When in doubt, say nothing and allow the officer to make their case.
Show consideration for the officer’s safety.
Police constantly deal with dangerous situations. Pull over as soon as the officer signals for you to do so, and where possible, pull far enough off the road that the officer will be able to easily access your car without standing near oncoming traffic.
Keep your hands on the steering wheel. If you need to get your license, insurance cards, or other documents, ask the officer before reaching for them. Follow all of the officer’s instructions to the best of your ability.
Ask for a warning.
Contrary to popular belief, most police departments say they don’t have traffic ticket quotas, and some cities and states have prohibitions on such quotas. Generally speaking, the officer will decide whether you get your ticket, so if you don’t want one, ask for a warning.
Remain polite and respectful while making your request. If you have a reasonable explanation for your behavior—for instance, it’s the end of a long day, your kid’s hungry, and you accidentally rolled a stop sign—feel free to share, but don’t tell a long, drawn-out story. If your offense is minor, asking for a warning might work. Then again, it might not, but what’s the harm in asking?
Never try to bribe or intimidate the officer.
That’s a quick way to turn a minor traffic ticket into a much more serious charge. In New York, for instance, bribery carries a possible penalty of up to seven years in state prison.
If you get a traffic ticket, you still have options. You can fight the ticket by appearing in court, and in some circumstances, you can request court supervision instead of a conviction (meaning if you abide by your sentence, the blemish on your record won’t be as serious).
Just remember: During a traffic stop, your goal is to be civil, reasonable, and conscious of the officer’s safety. Whether you’re avoiding a traffic ticket or trying to fight it in court, a polite attitude goes a long way.
Originally posted on Urbo.com