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Things Not to Say to a Cop When You Get Pulled Over

Updated on July 28, 2020
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I'm an eclectic gal with many diverse interests. They include relationships, film, trivia, and an assortment of other things.

One Simple Trick for Avoiding a Ticket

The difference between getting a ticket and having any chance of just getting a warning often depends on how you behave and what you say. However, a police officer friend of mine did recommend one thing that has nothing to do with speaking and it's this: always have a donation sticker to a police officer's fund on your driver's side window. This friend of mine said that he would rarely give a ticket to somebody who had donated to an organization in which he had a vested interest.

Getting Pulled Over is Stressful

It's one of the heart-stopping moments in life. You're driving along, glance in your rear-view mirror, and see those flashing lights. Or maybe you're speeding along and you crest a hill and you see that police motorcycle up ahead with the speed gun aimed right at you. Of course, you immediately step on the brakes and hope that you somehow beat the instantaneous speed gun with your foot. As you pass by the motorcycle cop, you hope he doesn't pull out and come after you. You hope that slowing down below the speed limit will somehow signal to him that you realized you were speeding and slowed down.

Unfortunately, he does pull out and flash his lights. You pull over and wait, hoping that maybe he'll just give you a warning. You roll down your window and look the police officer in the eye. If you're wise, you'll keep your mouth closed and wait until the officer speaks to you. If you're a smart-ass, you'll say one of the following and all but guarantee yourself a ticket.

Do you know what to say when you get pulled over by the police? (Courtesy of digidreamgrafix)
Do you know what to say when you get pulled over by the police? (Courtesy of digidreamgrafix) | Source

Is that your gun or are you just happy to see me?

Starting a conversation off with sexual innuendo is probably not the way to convince a police officer that you're deserving of getting off with a warning. Generally, police officers consider speeding a serious thing. Also, they're working. Do you want to be sexually harrassed on your job? Ultimately, the lesson here is that anything less than professional behavior is wrong-headed. And you need to be careful with a joke.

A Greek road traffic cop. (CC_BY 3.0)
A Greek road traffic cop. (CC_BY 3.0)

Who do you think you are?

The police officer thinks he's a police officer and it's his or her job to pull over people who are breaking the law. He's also pretty sure that he's pulling you over for a reason and that you haven't even let him explain why he's pulling you over before complaining about being pulled over. To suggest that the officer is not aware of his or her position is to suggest that they are incompetent. On the other hand, if you're one of those people who thinks he's above the law, actually expressing that fact is unlikely to make a good impression. The police officer is unlikely to recognize you no matter who your are and is even more likely not to care.

This is the first time I've ever been pulled over

Police now have these little things in their vehicles called computers, so if you say that it's your first time being pulled over, the officer is probably going to go back to his or her car and check out the veracity of that statement. Also, the officer probably doesn't care, particularly if your infraction is egregious, like drunk driving.

Police working (Courtesy of Marcus)
Police working (Courtesy of Marcus) | Source

Have you ever talked your way out of a ticket?

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I know I was speeding, but...

There's virtually nothing you can say after "I know I was speeding" that's going to get you out of a ticket. That's because by saying you were speeding, you're admitting guilt, and the officer is obliged to give you a ticket at that point. It's one thing if you made an honest mistake, like the speed limit switched on you, but to readily admit that you knew were you speeding and you just thought you weren't obligated to obey the limit isn't going to help your case in any way. Additionally, if you go to court, you're not going to win.

1918 Seattle Policemen. (US-PD)
1918 Seattle Policemen. (US-PD)

It All Depends on Your Infraction

If you truly don't know why you're being pulled over, then it might be something minor enough that you can get out of it or will be let off with a warning. However, if you're in a bright red Porsche and you're well aware you're going 50mph over the speed limit, just suck it up and take your ticket. No amount of talking is going to get you out of it.

Look, pig.

Nevermind. You should try this one.

See You in Court, Loser

You're just one of those belligerent people, aren't you? Just so righteous, you couldn't possibly be wrong?

So maybe you're convinced you weren't doing anything wrong. Giving the officer a reason to remember you is going to make her show up in court especially for you with the evidence she has that's going to get the judge to laugh in your face. If you have any chance of getting your case thrown out in court, you're going to want to officer to miss the court date, not actually put in on her calendar as something she'd go so far as to take a personal day in order to make sure she was there because you were such an a-hole.

My Wife is About to Have a Baby

This usually works as an excuse. You're speeding through traffic, trying desperately to get to the hospital before your wife squeezes out your first child. You're even hoping the officer will escort you.

There's only one problem. You're the only one in the car and you're not married. Make sure your excuse of choice has a chance of actually working before using it. This probably goes for most excuses: make sure they make sense before you even try them. There are lots of these type of excuses, like "I didn't see the speed limit sign", to which the officer might point out that there were five of them in the last hundred feet.

In other words, think through an excuse before you use it.

Do you know who I am?

Reese Witherspoon tried this one and it didn't work for her, so it's probably not going to work for you either. And if the cop didn't care that Reese Witherspoon is famous actress, he's probably not going to care that you ran the local charity event for Church of the Savior. Who you are is irrelevant to committing a traffic infraction and it's extremely obnoxious to suggest that you hold a position that might be able to change an officer's decision to give you a ticket.

I'm not as drunk as you are ugly

Drinking and driving is bad. Try not to flaunt your drunkenness if you're drunk and get pulled over. This is kind of a play on Winston Churchill's famous line to a woman when he said that he'd wake up in the morning sober but she'd still be ugly.

What worked for Churchill is not likely to work for you.

And what if there really IS a problem with the officer?

Not all police officers are the upstanding, law-abiding citizens we hope they are. So it's not uncommon that you might be pulled over for something that's completely subjective. Going thirty miles over the speed limit is an objective fact that can be backed up by data. Being pulled over while black is a subjective thing. Racial profiling and other police malfeasance isn't uncommon. However, it's important to deal with perceived harassment in the right way so that you can get out of there without injustice and turn around and make sure things are made right.

If you suspect that you're being pulled over for an unfair reason, it's smart to start an audio recording with your phone, assuming you have one. It's also smart to be completely cooperative and use terms like "sir" or "ma'am" when possible. You never want to react to any provocations that might come your way.

Ultimately, anything you do in retaliation has to be done with evidence and after the actual event has occurred. You may want to contact the precinct, a local politician, or even take your concerns to the press. You may even want to talk to a lawyer.

Reacting to the misbehaving officer during the actual stop is not a good idea.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2013 Sychophantastic


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