This Blog was brought to you by the San Antonio Traffic Ticket Attorney Gordon Slade
Clearly, in these times where many municipalities are ratcheting up their traffic enforcement, you have a better chance than ever to get pulled over for a traffic infraction. However, there are a few things that you can do to maximize your chances of getting a warning or a minor, and perhaps, non-moving violation when you get pulled over.
1. When you see those flashing lights, pull over. Too many times, drivers take their time to pull over or pretend like they did not see or know the police officer was behind them. Not smart. Usually, you have some idea that the police officer is pursuing you, so pull over as soon as possible. It shows respect and an immediate understanding that you know why he or she is coming after you.
2. Turn off everything. Turn off your engine, your radio, and your cell phone. Also, put your keys on top of the dashboard. Again, this shows respect and deference to the authority of the police officer. Remember, when you are being pulled over, it’s the police officer’s discretion that dictates whether you’re going to get a ticket.
3. Windows down, hands on the wheel. Whenever possible, put your windows down and keep your hands visible on the steering wheel. Do not fumble through your stuff. Do not put your hands in a location where the police officer cannot see them. If your license, registration, and insurance card are easily accessible, get them as soon as possible. If, however, you have to look for these items, it’s better to wait for the officer to ask them of you, and then tell him or her where you need to look for them.
4. Be polite. This cannot be stressed enough. Even when you think the police officer is wrong or unfairly pulling you over, you have to be polite. You will seriously jeopardize your chances of getting a warning, and even risk the police officer refusing to allow a favorable plea bargain if you give him or her attitude. Some police officers do not bother to say anything except ask the driver for their info, and then they proceed to walk back to their car. At that point, you have the option to say nothing and then go to court to deal with it if he or she gives you a ticket or you may choose to say, “excuse me, officer, if possible, I would really appreciate your discretion . . . ” Then, if appropriate, give the police officer a good reason for providing such discretion such as a clean driving record, no points, or any other GOOD reason. A fight with your spouse or significant other is not a good reason. Remember, you can have a conversation with the police officer, but you have to be cordial.
5. Be honest and don’t argue. This goes along with being polite. If the police officer pulled you over, and you just went through an intersection with a “yellow” light, then be honest and say, “well, officer, it must have been because I went through that intersection . . I may have timed it wrong but I did not feel I could safely stop in time. ” Similarly, if you have a good idea that the officer stopped you for speeding, you’re better off saying, “well, officer, I could only think that I must have been speeding . . . I apologize . . I must not have realized how fast I was traveling. ” Clearly, there is no “magic” excuse, but if you show candor and honesty with the police officer, he or she will be more inclined to “give you a break.”
5. Say thank you or take the ticket. If the police officer gives you a warning or a non-moving violation, thank the officer for his or her discretion and safely drive away. If he or she gives you a ticket, you should just take the ticket and safely drive away. After the ticket is issued, there is no point in arguing. That will just hurt your chances of getting a favorable plea deal. You are better off driving away and then retaining a good lawyer to deal with the ticket.
We all know that sinking feeling in your stomach when you see those flashing red and blue lights in your rearview mirror. It is not a pleasant experience, and many of you who may be reading this may have already just received a traffic summons. Save these tips for next time, and remember to be safe out there.