1. Understand that your car says a lot about you
Most officers decide whether you're getting a ticket or a warning before they even approach your vehicle. A good rule of thumb is to keep your car maintained in such a way that you wouldn't be embarrassed to drive it to a job interview. Keep it clean, decluttered, and free of bumper stickers that are anti-police or pro-violence. Forgo aftermarket add-ons like spoilers, tinted windows, and neon undercarriage lights. You want to say "I'm responsible and law-abiding," not "I hate the police, I speed all the time, and I'm trying to hide something from you."
2. Wave at the hidden police cruiser
So you were driving down the road a little faster than you should have been, and you spot a police cruiser lurking behind some shrubbery. One former police officer says that the smartest thing that you can do right then is to wave at the officer. Why? He will either think that you know each other and wave back, or will think that you're acknowledging that you were driving too fast, and are letting him know that you're slowing down. Either way, you drastically reduce your chance of getting a ticket.
3. Never admit that you were speeding
If you do get pulled over, says one former police officer, never acknowledge that you were, in fact, speeding. You don't want to give the police any ammunition to use against you, should you contest your ticket in traffic court. When the officer tells you that you are speeding, giving a brief, noncommittal response like, "I see" or "I was not aware of my speed" is the way to go. (Asking sarcastic questions like, "What's the problem, Officer?" won't help your case!) Secret sources who have dodged more than one speeding ticket in their lives also advise that you just get through the meeting with the police as quickly and politely as you possibly can. You don't want them to remember anything about you, except that you were nice and did what you were told. Why? Read on.
4. Plead not guilty, and defer your court date as often as you can
The more time you put between your speeding encounter and your court date, the better, advise some ticket dodgers we know. Imagine how many people an officer pulls over in a month. How many of them do you think he'll remember two or even six months from now, especially if you take your ticket quietly and move on? The more continuances you can reasonably request, the more time you have to collect your evidence and prepare your defense — and the less specific that officer's recollection of you will be. Getting a continuance also increases the probability that the ticketing officer retires, transfers to another department, or just doesn't show up for your court date. In almost all of these extenuating situations, the case against you will be dropped.
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5. Know the tactics that can get your ticket dismissed
There are dozens of ways to have your traffic violations reduced or dismissed — opportunities vary from region to region, so check to see if these apply in your state or province. Here is just a sampling:
• The issuing officer does not show for your court date.
• Two officers were in the patrol car when you received your ticket, and only one shows for the court date. In many jurisdictions, both need to be present to recount their testimony firsthand.
• A factual error on the ticket itself (your license plate number, name, date, or other inarguable fact is incorrect) may get you off the hook.
• There is no correct speed limit sign posted within a reasonable distance of where you were pulled over (in the U.S. this distance varies by state, but is usually about 1/4 mile).
6. Secret Weapon: POI Software
For those who have GPS navigation systems in their cars, here's an added bonus: You can download additional Points-of-Interest (POI) software onto your gizmo that will tell you when you're approaching stoplights that are hooked up to traffic cameras. You'll find links to this software on the GPS manufacturers' home pages.