by Stewart Rutledge
I've gotten about thirty speeding tickets in my short life, but I have zero tickets on my record. That's because no matter how formal the processes may seem, when it comes to law enforcement, you are still dealing with human beings with hearts and minds just like yours. Appeal to them as such, and you will be amazed by the results.
Although I am a law student, I employed this advice before I ever went to law school, and my education has only reinforced these theories. My approach isn't foolproof legal advice - it's simply my experienced opinions with a little law mixed in. That said, here are my secrets to getting out of a speeding ticket ordered chronologically, from the point of being pulled over to your final options in the courtroom.
Note: All of this advice assumes that you are merely breaking traffic laws. If you're trafficking a kilo of crystal meth... well, if you traffic meth, you're probably not reading Lifehacker. So read on, non-meth-heads.
Blue lights... you're getting pulled over
1. Get your attitude right.
Fighting with the police officer never increases your chances of leniency. You want him to like you. Prepare to achieve this goal.
2. Turn your car off, and turn the interior lights of your car on.
Place your hands at 10 and 2 on the steering wheel and remove your sunglasses or hat. Some people even advise you to place your keys on the roof of your car as a sign of total submission. Never, ever get out of the car.
The whole point of this is to take any unnecessary tension out of the encounter. You want the officer to be comfortable. Imagine the types of people and the dangers that most officers have had to deal with. Be just the opposite.
3. Be very polite and do exactly what the nice cop with the big gun says.
Save your pleas until after the basics are finished. Many officers will never speak to you until after they've done the basics. It's almost a litmus test for jerk drivers.