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Thread: How to "Get off with a warning"

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    How to "Get off with a warning"

    Hello, I signed up on this forum to ask this one question. I am 26 years old. I consider myself a very good driver. I've only been in one accident (rear-ended someone when I was 21). Try my best to obey the traffic laws, but as anyone does, I tend to get over the speed limit every now and then.

    My question is this, Is there any one thing, any formula, so to speak, to get out of a ticket with just a warning? I asking this out of a little frustration, because I have always been very courteous, straight forward, and I never BS the officer that has pulled me over. Yet out of the 5-7 times I've been pulled over for speeding in my lifetime, I have only been given a warning ONCE (and that was because the officer said that the camera trap probably got me before he did). And I hear my friends brag about how they BS'd the officer and got off with a warning... and even doing this while intoxicated!! I've never tasted alcohol and always tell the truth about what I was doing and how fast I was going. I'm not trying to get away with breaking the law, but I kinda feel unfairly treated and just want to know why....

    My one thought is, I've always had nice looking or fast cars. Do officers automatically assume I'm a punk street racer because I have nice cars? I mean is the stereotype of "red sports cars getting pulled over more often" actually true?

    Thank you for any input.

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    Verified LEO Lowry9633's Avatar
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    First of all, your question is a bit presumptuous, as if we would be able to give you reason why a certain officer would give one person a warning and why one wouldn't. I'm sure that other officers on this forum will feel the same way as I do in saying that there is no way to know what an officer is thinking. I was not there, nor am I going to speculate why one officer chose not to issue a citation to one person and why another officer chose to issue one to you. At 26 if you are being pulled over 5-7 times for speeding I would say you speed a lot, as that can speak to the amount of times you break the law without being caught. Yes, I said breaking the law, because that is what speeding is. You are asking, if there is a sure way for you to get a break when breaking the law, no there isn't. I also cannot speculate whether an officer assumes you are a punk or not because it isn't possible to do so through the computer. I would say a sure way to not get a ticket is not to break the law. Just because you consider yourself a good driver, doesn't make it so.

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    Verified LEO delzo70's Avatar
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    I'll make a few observations from my three decades of law enforcement and let you draw your own conclusions because there are no black and white answers.

    A dedicated traffic unit will normally be more strict about writing a ticket than a patrol unit that just happens to see you violate the law. The agency I retired from has what is known as the STEP program (specialized traffic enforcement program) and the officers are told where to work due to the frequency of crashes. It may be a stretch of roadway or one particular intersection that gets the attention. STEP officers are concentrating on showing results and seldom give warnings......but they also have a higher tolerance for when they decide to stop a violator. I know some officers that won't even look your way unless you are traveling 12 or even 15 miles and hour over the limit. Yeah, when they stop you, you'd best have a bleeding passenger and on the way to the hospital or you're sunk.

    In that same respect, the more flagrant a violation, the more likely a driver is to be written and not warned. An inspection sticker or tags that are barely expired will be reason to talk to a driver, (which could possibly lead to finding something else.....like the smell of alcohol or dope....warrants.....etc) but those out for several months show a complete disregard and are dealt with accordingly.

    Good excuses seldom work to a dedicated traffic officer because he/she has heard them all. I swear, there must have been a movie made that showed some fellow getting off after declaring "I have diarrhea", because for a while, everyone in my end of the world used it! Late for work, late for class, late for whatever to us means you should have gotten up earlier. My secret? If you could make me laugh.......it had to be pretty bad for me not to let you slide. The guy that blew through the blinking red light that told me he went through "between the reds" got a freebie. So did the nurse that said she had "brand new shoes and boy are they heavy!"

    Between working traffic detail most of my career and teaching traffic law to hundreds of officers, I can guarantee there is no magic "carry on" card. We really don't care who you are or who you know. I cannot think of anyone so important they can endanger other lives and not have to pay the piper. If a driver cannot afford "another ticket" they should have thought about that and paid more attention!

    I guess the main idea here is to be polite, admit your mistake or lack of attention, and don't argue the point on the side of the road. Our system is set up to make you a safer driver by hitting you in the wallet and I imagine it will not change. So in closing I will wish you good luck in your travels and I hope you are never again the focus of another traffic cop's attention!
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    Thank you very much for your reply, Lowry. I guess my question came off the wrong way. I know speeding is breaking the law. I tried to make it clear above, that I'm not trying to get away with anything. I am just interested... is there anything that you officers are more understanding towards. It was my hopes that an officer would just be down to earth with me. I understand the laws and promptly pay the fines/consequences when I break them. I'm just curious about how you officers view certain thing. Sorry, if I came off as disrespect or presumptuous. Just looking for a little insight. I thank you all for putting your lives on the line every day to protect the rest of us.


    P.s.
    And after writing the above post I've since counted, and come up with the official number of being pulled over 5 times in ten years of driving.

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    Thank you very much for your reply, Lowry. I guess my question came off the wrong way. I know speeding is breaking the law. I tried to make it clear above, that I'm not trying to get away with anything. I am just interested... is there anything that you officers are more understanding towards. It was my hopes that an officer would just be down to earth with me. I understand the laws and promptly pay the fines/consequences when I break them. I'm just curious about how you officers view certain thing. Sorry, if I came off as disrespect or presumptuous. Just looking for a little insight. I thank you all for putting your lives on the line every day to protect the rest of us.


    P.s.
    And after writing the above post I've since counted, and come up with the official number of being pulled over 5 times in ten years of driving.

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    Verified LEO delzo70's Avatar
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    Here lately the edit function of the forum may or may not work so I'll just post again to add something. As Lowry said, we cannot speak for other officers but ask yourself this question. As you are walking through a parking lot, which vehicle do you suspect might be a habitual speeder......... a Toyota Camry with a car seat in the back or the slick Camaro with a radar detector hanging on the windshield?

    OOOOPS.....you are guilty of profiling! Yes, it is possible to driving a fast car and obey traffic laws all the time but which kind of cars do you suppose cannot resist the urge to show off when taking off at a red light or romping on it when Bubba in his Dodge pickup comes thundering up beside you and salutes you with his Budweiser? So YES, officers really do look at the kind of car you drive the same way a medical insurance company looks at a 400 pound man that wheezes when he walks......
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    Quote Originally Posted by delzo70 View Post
    I'll make a few observations from my three decades of law enforcement and let you draw your own conclusions because there are no black and white answers.

    A dedicated traffic unit will normally be more strict about writing a ticket than a patrol unit that just happens to see you violate the law. The agency I retired from has what is known as the STEP program (specialized traffic enforcement program) and the officers are told where to work due to the frequency of crashes. It may be a stretch of roadway or one particular intersection that gets the attention. STEP officers are concentrating on showing results and seldom give warnings......but they also have a higher tolerance for when they decide to stop a violator. I know some officers that won't even look your way unless you are traveling 12 or even 15 miles and hour over the limit. Yeah, when they stop you, you'd best have a bleeding passenger and on the way to the hospital or you're sunk.

    In that same respect, the more flagrant a violation, the more likely a driver is to be written and not warned. An inspection sticker or tags that are barely expired will be reason to talk to a driver, (which could possibly lead to finding something else.....like the smell of alcohol or dope....warrants.....etc) but those out for several months show a complete disregard and are dealt with accordingly.

    Good excuses seldom work to a dedicated traffic officer because he/she has heard them all. I swear, there must have been a movie made that showed some fellow getting off after declaring "I have diarrhea", because for a while, everyone in my end of the world used it! Late for work, late for class, late for whatever to us means you should have gotten up earlier. My secret? If you could make me laugh.......it had to be pretty bad for me not to let you slide. The guy that blew through the blinking red light that told me he went through "between the reds" got a freebie. So did the nurse that said she had "brand new shoes and boy are they heavy!"

    Between working traffic detail most of my career and teaching traffic law to hundreds of officers, I can guarantee there is no magic "carry on" card. We really don't care who you are or who you know. I cannot think of anyone so important they can endanger other lives and not have to pay the piper. If a driver cannot afford "another ticket" they should have thought about that and paid more attention!

    I guess the main idea here is to be polite, admit your mistake or lack of attention, and don't argue the point on the side of the road. Our system is set up to make you a safer driver by hitting you in the wallet and I imagine it will not change. So in closing I will wish you good luck in your travels and I hope you are never again the focus of another traffic cop's attention!

    Delzo, you are the man (or woman)! That is exactly what I was looking for. I'm not looking for that magic card I can pull. I just wanted to know what is going on in that officers head when he confronts me over a traffic violation. Thank you very much. I've heard, people that say they've got off by making an officer laugh. I laughed out loud at the two examples you gave! And I ALWAYS admit my mistake and never give excuses for my violations. I've always thought lying and BS'ing just creates more problems. Thank you for all your hard work and I will take everything you said into consideration in the future. Have a great day.

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    Verified LEO delzo70's Avatar
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    .....you never heard it from me.........but here in Texas, the folks with a concealed carry license are looked at by most officers as "friends" and a lot of the time, get a free pass. Again, it depends on the severity of the violation. Even if it doesn't help, you still have the warm feeling of being able to protect yourself from evil. So, if that seems like a good option and you don't have a concealed handgun license, visit my websi.........just kidding!

    Seriously, officers do like to know which side of the law you align with. It will most assuredly work better than that $5 sticker stating you support your local sheriff.
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    Quote Originally Posted by delzo70 View Post
    Here lately the edit function of the forum may or may not work so I'll just post again to add something. As Lowry said, we cannot speak for other officers but ask yourself this question. As you are walking through a parking lot, which vehicle do you suspect might be a habitual speeder......... a Toyota Camry with a car seat in the back or the slick Camaro with a radar detector hanging on the windshield?

    OOOOPS.....you are guilty of profiling! Yes, it is possible to driving a fast car and obey traffic laws all the time but which kind of cars do you suppose cannot resist the urge to show off when taking off at a red light or romping on it when Bubba in his Dodge pickup comes thundering up beside you and salutes you with his Budweiser? So YES, officers really do look at the kind of car you drive the same way a medical insurance company looks at a 400 pound man that wheezes when he walks......

    That's true... I experienced it first hand. When I traded in my truck for a red 2004 GTO, I got a ticket within a week and a half. Driving the EXACT same way/speed I drove my truck.

    I passed a vehicle on the interstate that was going below the speed limit and then got back in the slow lane. The officer got behind me when I passed the slow moving vehicle and followed me for 1.5 miles before he gave me the blue lights. For that 1.5 miles I had my cruise control set at the speed limit. When he ask if I knew how fast I was going, I said yeah, I had my cruise set at 70ish. He replied with, Well a mile and a half back when you passed that van, you hit 82.

    I'm not calling into question the validity of his statement, but why did he wait 1.5 miles to pull me over?? Once again... Just curious.

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    Quote Originally Posted by delzo70 View Post
    .....you never heard it from me.........but here in Texas, the folks with a concealed carry license are looked at by most officers as "friends" and a lot of the time, get a free pass. Again, it depends on the severity of the violation. Even if it doesn't help, you still have the warm feeling of being able to protect yourself from evil. So, if that seems like a good option and you don't have a concealed handgun license, visit my websi.........just kidding!

    Seriously, officers do like to know which side of the law you align with. It will most assuredly work better than that $5 sticker stating you support your local sheriff.

    Wow, you are exactly the guy I need to talk to. I have that $5 sticker! lol. And it's not just to get out of tickets. I really do appreciate what you all do. Have some good friends that protect and serve. But I've been planning on getting my carry permit. Looks like I better get of my butt and do it.

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    Verified LEO delzo70's Avatar
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    POSSIBLY, he was waiting for the dispatcher to give him a reply to his request for the owner information on the car and if any warrants were outstanding for that name.

    He MIGHT have hoped you'd get nervous and throw your dope, gun or stolen booty out the window......or try to outrun him. He could have also waited until he finished his coffee and donut before lighting you up. hahahahahaha
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    Haha! I assumed he thought I could have been a drunken Nascar fan (Being that is was the night of the Bristol race and I was leaving Bristol). And he was just waiting for me to start swerving...

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    Verified LEO jcgreen1964's Avatar
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    And he may have been waiting for a safer place to pull you over. If I observe a violation that isn't an immediate public safety concern, I usually wait until conditions are safer for me to make contact.
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    Verified LEO chapwolfe's Avatar
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    Some of us take note of how fast a person goes when they pass another vehicle. I just watch to see how quickly they return to -- if they return to -- the posted speed. I've stopped more than one person who said "I just passed that other car and hadn't slowed down." If the other car is a half mile back we've got a problem.

    Mostly likely the officer did what we call (or used to call) a "rolling 28" meaning he ran your plate before stopping you. OR there might have been emergency traffic on the radio and he was waiting for it to clear so he'd have a chance to talk. I've been in that situation more than once.

    If someone had called you in as a reckless driver he'd have to follow you a ways to see if he had a valid reason for stopping you.
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    Verified LEO eljefe241's Avatar
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    My compadres have pretty much nailed it. I'd observe the following: Humor always helps but don't confuse being a smart-ass with humor. (e.g., "Did my driving make you drop your donut?"}

    Humility trumps humor ... many folks get a cite because they flunk the Attitude Test. No, we don't care that you play golf with the mayor and, yes, we know you pay our salaries. Press hard; you're making three copies.

    If you get pulled over by a training car - a rookie with a training officer - you might as well plan on getting a ticket, The new guys are not sure what discretion looks like and, above all, they wanna impress their TO.
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