In The Grump’s never-ending quest to enlighten the masses, I am going to help y’all out and offer some suggestions on how to handle yourself when pulled over for a traffic stop. Please keep the following in mind: I am not a lawyer. This is not legal advice. This is just what I generally do, your mileage may vary, so take these with a grain of salt.
So, like I said, here’s what I do. I’ll admit it’s been hit-and-miss as far as success in avoiding a ticket. I am very testy and annoyed in situations like this, surprise!, so it takes effort on my part to keep that in check.
- I pull over immediately. Turn the car off, etc.
- I wait until requested to get my paperwork. I do not warn them where it is. I figure they made the request so they know what I’m doing.
- I generally do not talk, except for answering questions, and those I try to keep short and simple… and polite.
- I do not keep my hands on the wheel, but I do keep them in plain sight.
- I do not refer to the officer as “Officer”. It’s not, “Yes/No, Officer.”, it’s, “Yes/No.”
- Basically, I am very polite, but I will not boot lick. (I’ve always thought if I were an officer that would annoy me. I’d think they’re just sucking up.)
- If they ask if I know why I was pulled over I say “No.”, even if I do know, which is usually the case. Though one time I tried the honesty strategy and got off with a warning, so go figure.
- I hate Hate HATE when they ask where I’m going or where I’m coming from. It’s none of their damn business. But, I have not figured out how to not answer without annoying them, which I believe will increase the chance of them turning into a jerk, which will just make my life more difficult. I want a drama free traffic stop. I generally know where I am so I usually give generic answers like I’m going home (if I really am pointed in that general direction), or coming from some local business behind me. I always suspect that, “Oh, I’m just out for a random drive.”, which is something I legitimately do often, would earn me more scrutiny than is justified and more than I want.
- I do not argue the ticket. I wait for court to do that (don’t always take it to court, but sometimes will). One time, though, the officer asked me afterward why I didn’t argue at the time instead of wasting his time making him go to court. I just shrugged. I didn’t really have an answer and didn’t want to say I didn’t just as a matter of personal policy.
- I do not thank them for giving me a ticket… why would anyone do that, seriously!… but I do thank them if they let me off with a warning.
I have found that I’m let off more as I get older. I have a pretty clean driving record. I figure that must have something to do with it, but I don’t know that for sure.