Part 1 - Traffic Stop Do's and Dont's

by L. Wayne Patterson, Greenville Speeding Ticket Attorney

The following is not traffic stop legal advice. If you need legal advice,only an attorney in your state can provide you with such legal advice.

You have not been paying much attention to the speed limit and now you see those flashing blue lights in your rear viewand the sweat starts to popping. Your actions in thenext few minutes will determine the outcome of thistraffic stop. This is not legal advice, just some informationthat may be of assistance. As they say, "proceed atyour own risk and we assume no liability".

If you have a radar detector now is the time toget it out of sight. You do not want to receive written confirmation that you have just lost the speeding ticketgame. Now you need to determine if you are definitely thevehicle being stopped. Maintain the speed limit and if he pulls along side do not make eye contact since he may speed up and select the next vehicle in line. Do not make it easy for him to pick you out of the pack by just pulling over.

Yes, it is you!

Acknowledge the traffic stop by turning on your flashers and slowing down. Select a safe place to pull off the highway. Your safety and the officer'ssafety is of paramount concern. In addition, youwill not help his temperament if he has to dodgeother cars to approach your vehicle. If the policecar is unmarked or it is at night, you are within your rights to proceed to a service station or other safe area. I still see cases of impersonating an officer. You can call 911 and they can verify for you that the traffic stop is legitimate.

Once you are safely stopped, turn your wheels slightly to the right, roll down your windowand turn off your engine. Stay in your vehicle with your seat belt buckled and your hands on the wheel at 10 and 2. If it is at night, turn on you interior lights. The officer is a professional and will recognize these actionsas those of a careful driver. First impressioncounts during a traffic stop and you have made a good start.

ATTITUDE,ATTITUDE,ATTITUDE! There were very fewtraffic stops where it is aforegone conclusion that the driver is to receive a traffic ticket. In many cases, your attitude will be the determining factorbetween receiving a speeding ticket or just a warning. You should bepolite and courteous. Answer all of the officer'squestions and don't use any excuses-they have heard them all. However, do not admit to anythingsince what you say can be used in court. Don't lie but, "I'm not really sure, officer," is OK.Save the flippant remarks for afterwards at thecoffee shop or beauty parlor. ASK for just a warning. A good attitude will usually result in at least a reduced fine that can be contested later.

Remember that this is not the time and place toargue. The last thing you want is for the officer to have a reason to remember you or to write something to the judge on the back of the traffic ticket. If you contest the speeding ticket, the judgeor the officer will check and any negative remarks written on the ticket willnot help your case.

In conclusion remember that the officer is justdoing his job. He is evaluated on the number ofspeeding tickets he issues, not necessarily ontheir later disposition. Don't make it intosomething personal that will only escalate thesituation and make it difficult to get the ticketreduced or dismissed when you go to court. Ofcourse, you can follow the best advice and avoid a traffic stop by just driving the speed limit and obeying the traffic laws.

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