police trooper writing a ticket
How to Fight a Traffic Ticket
Be polite and cooperative when you get pulled over. Being belligerent or indignant may make you feel great but it might cost you more. By being polite and cooperative, the officer may just write your ticket for a less costly offense instead of what was actually committed and with luck, you might just get a warning! On the other hand, if you are nasty or curt, the officer may note this and the prosecutors will be less likely to cut you a deal if this went to court.
Avoid admissions of guilt and try not to make excuses or create outlandish stories. When you are asked if you know why you were pulled over, just respond with a simple and polite, "No officer, I do not,". Keep in mind that honesty is the best policy especially when you prefer to get off with merely a warning.
On the otherhand, if you do get you the ticket, and decide to contest it, remember that any admissions you make now, can be used against you later.
Follow one of the two theories regarding how you question the officer:
- Adopt the 'low-profile' technique. Ask the police officer if you can handle the ticket by mail. The officer will immediately see you as a low probability to go to court and may take fewer notes. When you do challenge the ticket, the officer's sparse notes will make him want to skip the hearing. Even if he does come to the hearing, his sparse notes and memory will help the judge decide in your favor. Questioning the officer on the other hand will cause him to write voluminous notes on the traffic stop.
- Alternatively, question the officer more directly, as you are handed the ticket, about how the offense was detected and verified. In the case of a speeding ticket, find out where they were positioned when they clocked you and what type of speed measurement device, was used and if it was radar, laser or Accutrac. Gather as many specifics as possible, including the serial number of the device. If, however the officer estimated your speed by following you, then find out what the location was when he began to follow you. Make sure you write down the patrol car's license plate number and his badge number. If you were cited for an offense other than speeding, make sure you understand exactly why you were pulled over, especially if you were cited for something that could not have been easily seen. Do note that the officer does not have to actually give this information releated to the device used at the time of stop. You can request this information by filing a motion of Discovery, and then you will get that information.