An officer pulls you over. Now what? Here are ten lines that might help your chances of getting out of a ticket. (Sadly, we make no guarantees.)
1. “No, officer, I’m not sure why you stopped me.”
If an officer asks you why you think he pulled you over, be polite — but don’t provide a confession that could be used against you. The truth is, until the officer tells you why he stopped you, you don’t actually know the real reason. You might think it’s for speeding when it’s really about a broken headlight. Don’t self-incriminate your way into a ticket when you might have gotten off with just a warning.
2. “Would you consider giving me a warning?”
It never hurts to ask, right? If the infraction is minor and you seem apologetic, the officer might let you off with a written warning. She’s still doing her job of making you a better driver, and you’re doing your part as a good citizen to show a willingness to comply with the law, despite a momentary oversight. The interaction is successful in her books.
Okay, so crying isn’t exactly a clever line, but it does move certain officers — not all — to compassion. If you’re feeling a little shaky when you’re pulled over, let the tears flow. He might go easy on you. Just don’t get so hysterical that you look like you can’t be trusted to drive away safely.
4. “I’m really late for an important meeting.”
The “late for work” excuse actually works some of the time! And if you’re late for work in a public-service job that’s benefitting your community, your odds of avoiding a ticket might increase even more. “We tend to think twice about giving a serious fine to someone in a similar position as ourselves,” one anonymous officer admitted to Urbo.com. An excuse/apology combo never hurts, either.
5. “I’m sorry, officer. I thought I was just keeping up with everyone else.”
Not to throw everyone else under the bus, but this is your chance to throw everyone else under the bus. If your excuse reveals decent intentions — and a little bit of ignorance? — you might get off with a warning. Playing dumb and claiming you didn’t know you were speeding sounds like a questionable defence, but apparently it works 26% of the time.
6. “My wife is in labor!”
This line works — as long as you can back it up with a real medical emergency. (You might even gain a police escort!) Don’t have a laboring partner in the passenger seat? Maybe just tell the officer you really need to pee. Your antsy urgency might make the officer uncomfortable, too — and get you out of that ticket.
7. “Good morning, officer. Sorry to meet like this.”
An officer might be suspicious of sweet talk, but a genuine friendly interaction is always welcome. Treat the officer like a real human being, and you might earn a little favor in return just for making their day a little brighter.
8. “I’m late to pick up my kids.”
No officer wants to picture your kid sobbing at school all alone, waiting for a ride that isn’t showing up. Use your kids as an excuse. That’s what they’re there for, right?
9. “Sorry, sir. There’s no fire — unless you count the BBQ I’m heading to.”
Going somewhere fast? Invite the officer to join you. This is not an amateur move. It takes a lot of skill, nuance and confidence. But ever since Marshall Eriksen successfully evaded a ticket by inviting an officer to a BBQ on How I Met Your Mother, we’ve been eager to follow his advice: “See, it’s all about sizing up your opponent. I could tell that the officer was a brat man because, well, he was out of breath just from walking to my car and…he had mustard on his holster.”
10. “Here’s my license and registration. I’m usually such a conscientious driver.”
Better than any line is being kind, courteous and humble. Pull over immediately, giving the officer enough safe space to approach you. Roll down your windows, have your license and registration ready, and answer questions — and defend yourself, if necessary — respectfully. Bad attitudes, rants about how your taxes pay officers’ salaries, angry defensiveness and outright lies will absolutely secure you that ticket you’re hoping to avoid.
Good luck! (And please follow the rules of the road.)
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