The Best Things to Say When You’re Getting Ticketed

Generally, it is good advice to not speak before the police officer does when you’re getting ticketed for a traffic violation. You especially want to avoid sounding defensive or hostile by asking questions like, “What did I do wrong?” or “Why are you stopping me?” Let the officer start talking. The officer usually starts by simply asking for your license and vehicle registration. Reply, “Sure, officer” or “Okay,” and then hand over the documents. If it’s nighttime and dark, you may want to roll down your windows all the way and turn on an interior light and place your hands on the steering wheel so the officer is put at ease.

Although traffic cops usually decide, before leaving their vehicle, whether they’re going to give a ticket or just a warning, they may appear undecided or suggest that they will let you off only if you cooperate. This is often just a tactic to extract admissions out of you, and to use them against you in court if necessary. The officer wants you to admit that you committed a violation or that you were driving so inattentively that you don’t know whether you did or not.

The officer may ask a question like, “Do you know why I stopped you?” Or, he or she might ask, “Do you know how fast you were going?” Your answers, if any, should be brief, like a simple “No” to the first question or a very confident, “Yes, I do,” to the second. Don’t argue if the officer tells you how fast he or she thinks you were going or what he or she thinks you did. Say something noncommittal and non-argumentative, such as, “I see,” or nothing at all. Silence is not an admission of guilt and cannot be used against you in court.

Dan Matrafajlo is an experienced New Jersey traffic ticket attorney. For a free initial consultation, simply fill out the form on this page.





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