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Old 12-07-2019, 10:22 PM
dontbesojumpy is offline
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Officer: "Do you know why I pulled you over?" Should the answer always be "no?"


So I've been pondering this lately and lo and behold, I got to try it out tonight (but I came out on the wrong end of things).

I foolishly made an illegal U turn on a street that previously allowed it. It's 100% my fault--we were in a hurry to get home, we came out on a goofy side-street that spit us out the wrong way from where we were trying to go, so I went to turn into a hotel parking lot to turn around when I realized there was no oncoming traffic and no possibility of danger. I also noticed the hotel parking lot didn't have an easy out so I'd have to go around to exit, so in the split second I just decided "eh screw it." There were distant headlights, what are the odds it's a cop?

100%, apparently. He hauled ass to come nail me.

As I was waiting for him to approach, I asked "do I feign ignorance or fall on the sword and hope for mercy?"

Then he asked: "Do you know why I pulled you over?"
I said: "Probably for the U-turn."
'yep.'
I said "ok but we were coming up the artery street *points* and we are trying to get on the highway over here *points*--it spits you out going the total opposite direction--what's the correct way to navigate all this?"

He kind of breathed in like he was thinking it over then said (with a sympathetic tone): "well...the CORRECT way...? Hmm. I guess you'd have to travel a mile down to the next light, turn left, and go all the way around the entire city block until you came back to the right street."

"Oh, really..." I muttered.

"Yeah, I guess they finally put that 'no U-Turn' sign up after a few accidents" (acknowledging it's new).

After checking my info and going back to his car, he came back with a citation.

This is the thing that makes me curious:

He said "So since you admitted to the moving violation when I asked you, I wrote you a ticket."

I have a squeaky clean record (to my recollection this is my first moving violation in at least 20 years) and I thought my honesty would be valued. But, nope! If anything, I admitted guilt to make his job easier.

So when they ask if you know why they pulled you over, do you just play dumb? Is the answer always "no?"
  #2  
Old 12-07-2019, 10:29 PM
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The point of talking to you is to determine if you are acting suspiciously and warrant further investigation. Included in that is having you speak to decide if you have slurred speech or have alcohol on your breath, which would justify a DUI investigation (I.e. ask you to step out of the car and do a field sobriety test).

So it doesn’t really matter what you say, although being polite and respectful is always a good idea, as is not admitting to any infraction. My advice, when asked if you know why you are pulled over: “No, sir/ma’am.”

Last edited by Moriarty; 12-07-2019 at 10:30 PM.
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Old 12-07-2019, 10:38 PM
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There's nothing wrong with (politely) saying that no, you don't know why you were pulled over. The thing is, for some cops that may very well just be the way they start the conversation. It's just a little bit of small talk. However, it's also a good way for you to hand them info they didn't have. If got pulled over for having a headlight out and the cop asks you that question and you respond with 'probably because I rolled through that stop sign'. Well, you're gonna get a ticket for that. He's not going to admit that he didn't see you.

I remember back in my teen days, I got pulled over, the cop asks me if I know why he pulled me over and I still remember thinking 'I ran that red light, but that was like two miles ago, there's no way he saw that', so I said I had no idea why. Turns out someone stole a lawnmower in a vehicle with the same description as mine. He shined his flashlight in the back and sent me on my way.

Don't get me wrong, if you totally clam up it's going to look bad. Bad just respond to the question with 'no, I don't' and let him tell you why he pulled you over. It's not your job to start admitting to things. Remember, you DON'T know why he pulled you over. Granted, if you were going 90 in a 50, that's probably why, but if you were going 40 in a 30, it's entirely possible he wasn't clocking you, he just wanted to let you know about an equipment malfunction or that he noticed you didn't have on your seatbelt.
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Old 12-07-2019, 10:42 PM
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The correct answer is always, "racism."
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Old 12-07-2019, 10:49 PM
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"Do you know why I pulled you over"?

You could say, To give me an award for safe driving?

This is an option also.

Hopefully the LEO has a sense of humor.
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Old 12-07-2019, 11:25 PM
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Since this is asking for opinions and advice, let's move it to IMHO.
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Old 12-08-2019, 12:23 AM
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I’ve attended my fair share of traffic schools back in the day. Some instructors were former LEOs and they said they ask this to see how aware the driver is, e.g. whether s/he knew they were speeding or if the driver was totally clueless. I never admit to breaking the law so I say something like, “Does it have something to do with my speed?” or “Was it my U-Turn back there?” Something like that.

I do think it’s better to appear aware to the LEO, better than clueless.
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Old 12-08-2019, 12:39 AM
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I had an odd situation like this many years ago. I had just completed a partial restoration of my 1971 BMW Bavaria including new factory silver paint, alloy wheels and tires. This was in the late 1980s. The officer asked me if I knew why he pulled me over and I genuinely had no idea. He said, "These plates are registered to a 1971 BMW and this car is new. Are you re-using the plates from another car"?

This actually took some time to sort out even though the registration showed a 1971 vehicle. He just didn't believe it. He finally did a complete walk around and wrote me a warning for a missing license plate light. I looked and one of the two bulbs was out. Geez.

Dennis
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Old 12-08-2019, 12:49 AM
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2nd story. A guy I worked with had broken up with his girlfriend and she trashed his older car. Smashed all the lights, windshield, doors, mirrors hanging down, everything. He was giving a friend a ride somewhere and came across a roadblock where the state highway patrol was pulling over cars for a safety check and sending them into a parking lot.

My buddy looked around the car and saw several 45 ACP cartridges and a couple of burnt up joints in the ashtray. He asked the guy if they were going to be trouble. He replied, "No, but this might" and pulled a Colt 1911 pistol from under the seat in a plastic bag with an "Evidence" tag on it.

But the statey stared in disbelief at the battered car and just waved it past. The pistol was legal, by the way, it had been returned to him by the police. Keeping under the seat wasn't.

Dennis
  #10  
Old 12-08-2019, 12:54 AM
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I've been stopped twice for speeding. In each instance, I missed seeing a reduced speed sign. The first time I asked the officer exactly where the sign was so I wouldn't miss it again (I'd recently moved to the are.). The second time--different town--I said, "Dang, I was just asking myself, 'Did I already pass the reduced speed sign?" I wasn't trying to get off in either case because I really should have been more observant.

I got warnings--no citations--both times.
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Old 12-08-2019, 02:09 AM
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The last time I got pulled over was 4:30 am on the way to the airport. I was way speeding on an almost empty Dumbarton bridge. When I got pulled over I rapidly admitted that I had been going way too fast. No smart aleckness. Just an apology.

I did not get a ticket. I had a suitcase in the back seat, so that supported my story. I was clearly not drunk, I was 66. And I haven't gotten any moving violations in the 23 years I've lived in California. (The cops can hardly believe that, but they seem impressed.) So fessing up worked for me.
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Old 12-08-2019, 04:14 AM
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I always go for honesty.

Once I blew a red light right in front of a cop. I actually pulled myself over about the same time the cop started his lights. I 'fessed up and asked what the penalty would be because, yeah, obvious so why deny it? The cop looked at me, then said "What is a white lady doing in this neighborhood at this time of night?" Yeah, he had a point. I explained a co-worker's car had broken down and I gave him a ride home. I was tired and let my attention lapse but I was wide awake now. He let me go, no official warning, just cautioned me to be careful.

The next time I was on a detour due to road construction and missed a stop sign (which, by the way, was partially obscured by an overgrown willow tree). The cop pulled me over and asked if I knew why he had stopped me. I said no, but if I had done something wrong please tell me so I wouldn't do it again. Asked me if I knew there was a stop sign "back there". Said no, I'd never been down this road before, but I'd be sure to pay attention to it next time. Official warning that time, but no further penalty.
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Old 12-08-2019, 04:56 AM
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"It's the dead hooker in the trunk, right?"
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Old 12-08-2019, 08:23 AM
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I've never been asked "do you know why I pulled you over?". The first thing they ask me is "is there an emergency".
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Old 12-08-2019, 08:43 AM
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"It could be any of a number of things" is probably not the best response.

Replying "no, sir" is the smart way to go, and is technically not a lie.
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Old 12-08-2019, 09:15 AM
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"It's the dead hooker in the trunk, right?"
No, it's the huge bag of crack underneath her.
  #17  
Old 12-08-2019, 09:23 AM
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Regardless of your response, it should never be an admission. Whether it's some kind of joke like harmonicamoon's response, a simple "no, ma'am" or a question like, "I wasn't speeding, was I?" Often the officer will make little notes on the back of their copy of the ticket so that they can recall the details if it ever goes to court. One of those notes will be, "Driver admitted to speeding because he was late for his son's recital" or whatever. Be polite, but don't admit anything.
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Old 12-08-2019, 11:33 AM
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The honest answer is always the best one.

The only time I was asked, my answer was "no," because I was honestly baffled. Turned out I had gone the wrong way down a one-way seat (a minivan had blocked the signs, and they had also change the street direction since I last was at that spot). I didn't argue when he told me and he could tell from my genuine reaction that I hadn't known. He let me off with a warning and I thanked him profusely.

OTOH, I'm a older white man. It might have gone differently if I had been someone else.
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Old 12-08-2019, 12:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dontbesojumpy View Post
So I've been pondering this lately and lo and behold, I got to try it out tonight (but I came out on the wrong end of things).

I foolishly made an illegal U turn on a street that previously allowed it. It's 100% my fault--we were in a hurry to get home, we came out on a goofy side-street that spit us out the wrong way from where we were trying to go, so I went to turn into a hotel parking lot to turn around when I realized there was no oncoming traffic and no possibility of danger. I also noticed the hotel parking lot didn't have an easy out so I'd have to go around to exit, so in the split second I just decided "eh screw it." There were distant headlights, what are the odds it's a cop?

100%, apparently. He hauled ass to come nail me.

As I was waiting for him to approach, I asked "do I feign ignorance or fall on the sword and hope for mercy?"

Then he asked: "Do you know why I pulled you over?"
I said: "Probably for the U-turn."
'yep.'
I said "ok but we were coming up the artery street *points* and we are trying to get on the highway over here *points*--it spits you out going the total opposite direction--what's the correct way to navigate all this?"

He kind of breathed in like he was thinking it over then said (with a sympathetic tone): "well...the CORRECT way...? Hmm. I guess you'd have to travel a mile down to the next light, turn left, and go all the way around the entire city block until you came back to the right street."

"Oh, really..." I muttered.

"Yeah, I guess they finally put that 'no U-Turn' sign up after a few accidents" (acknowledging it's new).

After checking my info and going back to his car, he came back with a citation.

This is the thing that makes me curious:

He said "So since you admitted to the moving violation when I asked you, I wrote you a ticket."

I have a squeaky clean record (to my recollection this is my first moving violation in at least 20 years) and I thought my honesty would be valued. But, nope! If anything, I admitted guilt to make his job easier.

So when they ask if you know why they pulled you over, do you just play dumb? Is the answer always "no?"


don't admit to anything, play dub
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Old 12-08-2019, 12:28 PM
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don't admit to anything; play dumb
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Old 12-08-2019, 12:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dontbesojumpy View Post
So I've been pondering this lately and lo and behold, I got to try it out tonight (but I came out on the wrong end of things).

I foolishly made an illegal U turn on a street that previously allowed it. It's 100% my fault--we were in a hurry to get home, we came out on a goofy side-street that spit us out the wrong way from where we were trying to go, so I went to turn into a hotel parking lot to turn around when I realized there was no oncoming traffic and no possibility of danger. I also noticed the hotel parking lot didn't have an easy out so I'd have to go around to exit, so in the split second I just decided "eh screw it." There were distant headlights, what are the odds it's a cop?

100%, apparently. He hauled ass to come nail me.

As I was waiting for him to approach, I asked "do I feign ignorance or fall on the sword and hope for mercy?"

Then he asked: "Do you know why I pulled you over?"
I said: "Probably for the U-turn."
'yep.'
I said "ok but we were coming up the artery street *points* and we are trying to get on the highway over here *points*--it spits you out going the total opposite direction--what's the correct way to navigate all this?"

He kind of breathed in like he was thinking it over then said (with a sympathetic tone): "well...the CORRECT way...? Hmm. I guess you'd have to travel a mile down to the next light, turn left, and go all the way around the entire city block until you came back to the right street."

"Oh, really..." I muttered.

"Yeah, I guess they finally put that 'no U-Turn' sign up after a few accidents" (acknowledging it's new).

After checking my info and going back to his car, he came back with a citation.

This is the thing that makes me curious:

He said "So since you admitted to the moving violation when I asked you, I wrote you a ticket."

I have a squeaky clean record (to my recollection this is my first moving violation in at least 20 years) and I thought my honesty would be valued. But, nope! If anything, I admitted guilt to make his job easier.

So when they ask if you know why they pulled you over, do you just play dumb? Is the answer always "no?"
IMHO, you "admitted" guilt and got a ticket. If you didn't admit it, you get a ticket and they take you to court to prove it. Hair splitting, IMHO, you get the ticket either way. (unless you try prove you didn't make the uturn in court)

The zealot cop wasn't in a "warning" mood that evening.
  #22  
Old 12-08-2019, 01:01 PM
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Never talk to the police.
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Old 12-08-2019, 01:51 PM
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No I don't fess up to possible driving infractions. I did get a ticket for speeding once when I was driving a rental car, an Infiniti Q#. It was bigger quieter car than I was used to and I had no idea I was nearing 100mph until I saw the state trooper in the median, I checked my speed, gasped and let off the gas. It took a couple minutes to pull over and when the Trooper asked me how fast I was going I shrugged said no. He asked again, I explained it was a rental car I'm not used to it and no I have no idea how fast officer. He askedd again but said so you must've been going really fast as it took me awhile to catch up to. I remained silent. He wrote me a ticket for going 5 miles over the limit, but said before he handed me the tix - I know you were going much faster am I right? Im sorry officer I really have no idea. Thank you!

I dont think he really knew how fast I was going just that it was much faster than traffic.
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Old 12-08-2019, 02:03 PM
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Originally Posted by chela View Post
No I don't fess up to possible driving infractions. I did get a ticket for speeding once when I was driving a rental car, an Infiniti Q#. It was bigger quieter car than I was used to and I had no idea I was nearing 100mph until I saw the state trooper in the median, I checked my speed, gasped and let off the gas. It took a couple minutes to pull over and when the Trooper asked me how fast I was going I shrugged said no. He asked again, I explained it was a rental car I'm not used to it and no I have no idea how fast officer. He askedd again but said so you must've been going really fast as it took me awhile to catch up to. I remained silent. He wrote me a ticket for going 5 miles over the limit, but said before he handed me the tix - I know you were going much faster am I right? Im sorry officer I really have no idea. Thank you!

I dont think he really knew how fast I was going just that it was much faster than traffic.
Probably radar wasn't turned on.
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Old 12-08-2019, 02:17 PM
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I've played it both ways; it depends on the read I get from the officer as he exits his car, approaches, and addresses me. If I feel an attitude I keep answers short and don't admit anything.
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Old 12-08-2019, 02:23 PM
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Thanks, Mallard. I'd been wondering that myself.

If I cop stops you because he observed you breaking a traffic law, he doesn't need you to admit to anything to issue you a ticket, just like if a cop has probable cause to arrest you, you get arrested even if you claim ignorance. Whether or not you admit a violation only matters if you decide to contest the charges in court.
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Old 12-08-2019, 02:24 PM
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The honest answer is always the best one.
Then wouldn't anyone who is not capable of reading minds always answer 'No', as you don't actually know what the cop was thinking? I mean, if you're really talking about honesty and not something like 'you should confess to possible traffic violations', the only way to answer that question is in the negative. You literally don't know what is going on in the cop's head, and even if he tells you you can't be sure that what he told you is true.
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Old 12-08-2019, 02:40 PM
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My go-to answer if I'm in a 4-wheeled vehicle is "Yes, officer, I do know. You stopped me because I wasn't paying attention." This is true, if I had been paying attention, I would have seen the cop and wouldn't have gotten pulled over, but of course I don't say that part. My answer seems to work, I get scolded while agreeing that I need to always pay attention when I am driving. I haven't gotten a ticket since I was 17, so it seems to work.

If I'm on 2-wheels, that means I'm on my '97 Sportster. My answer then is "Crap, what fell off this time?!?!"
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Old 12-08-2019, 02:51 PM
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That's what I thought he didn't have radar on. I thought I was caught on radar, there were two MSP's at the bottom of hill that I crested going 98ish and boom one was on the move as soon as I saw him. But he never said I clocked you and were going this speed ___ mph.

But he knew I was breaking the law, breaking the law ntl. And he gave me a ticket, just not the one with the severest penalties I may have deserved. I was not driving reckless in addition to speeding but at that speed it may be one in the same. don't quote that


Last edited by chela; 12-08-2019 at 02:55 PM.
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Old 12-08-2019, 02:59 PM
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Be polite. "Because you're an asshole" is not a recommended response.

I have a fairly spotless driving record despite the muscle car. The last ticket I got was in 1997. There was a long parade of cars backed up behind someone driving 35 mph on the open road, a two lane main highway. I made a safe pass with a top speed of maybe 50 mph but I crossed a double yellow no passing zone line. Then I noticed the state trouper about five cars back. He waited another couple miles then pulled me over. "Do you know why I stopped you?" "Because I didn't see you back there" was my answer.

He almost laughed. I got a ticket for passing in a no passing zone. I don't even remember how much the ticket was, not much.
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Old 12-08-2019, 05:28 PM
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don't admit to anything; play dumb
I excel at appearing stupid, but not intoxicated. Which is the goal.

My response to the impossible question is to look alert and curious. Then I shake my head and in a friendly tone say, Im afraid I dont.

Seems to have worked a few times.
  #32  
Old 12-08-2019, 06:48 PM
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“Why don’t you tell me, officer”.
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Old 12-08-2019, 07:25 PM
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Originally Posted by dontbesojumpy View Post
This is the thing that makes me curious:

He said "So since you admitted to the moving violation when I asked you, I wrote you a ticket."

I have a squeaky clean record (to my recollection this is my first moving violation in at least 20 years) and I thought my honesty would be valued. But, nope! If anything, I admitted guilt to make his job easier.

So when they ask if you know why they pulled you over, do you just play dumb? Is the answer always "no?"
Been years since Ontario cops asked me why they pulled me over, the last time a couple of weeks ago cop nailed me on a downward hill getting some free energy. Basically i drive a Ford Escape, second or third generation, not the tooth paste blobs that you see on the road today, so its not a vehicle that rewards speeding.

So all he did was ask for license and insurance and came back with a ticket and i just took it without comment, as in no vocal interaction with this cop at all. So if anything, in regards to your question i would reply that you were driving under the speed limit and thats it, its up to him to prove it in court, if you wish to exercise that right.
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Old 12-08-2019, 09:37 PM
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So problem the first for me is I don't get pulled over often enough to "have a method." I literally pondered if I cop to it or play dumb as he walked to the car, and I clearly made the wrong decision.

So I presume since he stated I "admitted to making an illegal U-turn," I have no recourse for fighting this in court?

The ticket is kind of steep--just under $200. It's less than speeding 10 over and the same as running a red light. Ouch.

I'm going to see if I can do traffic course or something.
  #35  
Old 12-08-2019, 10:11 PM
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Originally Posted by chela View Post
No I don't fess up to possible driving infractions. I did get a ticket for speeding once when I was driving a rental car, an Infiniti Q#. It was bigger quieter car than I was used to and I had no idea I was nearing 100mph until I saw the state trooper in the median, I checked my speed, gasped and let off the gas. It took a couple minutes to pull over and when the Trooper asked me how fast I was going I shrugged said no. He asked again, I explained it was a rental car I'm not used to it and no I have no idea how fast officer. He askedd again but said so you must've been going really fast as it took me awhile to catch up to. I remained silent. He wrote me a ticket for going 5 miles over the limit, but said before he handed me the tix - I know you were going much faster am I right? Im sorry officer I really have no idea. Thank you!

I dont think he really knew how fast I was going just that it was much faster than traffic.
I had a situation like that - I was coming up behind a cop at night,
I was doing 160km/h in a 60km/h zone.
First words out of his mouth - I don't know how fast you were going but I think it was at least 100.

No ticket, and I sure wasn't admitting it.
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Old 12-08-2019, 10:48 PM
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I've admitted to speeding at least twice, maybe three times? Specifically, times when I was clearly exceeding the limit and the officer obviously saw it (lurking by the side of the road to catch speeders). In each case I said sheepishly, "I guess I was going a little too fast back there, huh?"

In each case they seemed to appreciate my forthrightness and I was let go with a warning.

Like realitychuck, I'm white. I also drive Boring cars. Both might have helped the result.
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Old 12-08-2019, 10:58 PM
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I'm another who's insufficiently reckless to be pulled over much and so have no "method". Just 4 stops in 55years. But in general, I admit nothing to cops. A mirror sticker reminds me, "I have nothing to say." Smile and be polite.
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Old 12-08-2019, 11:41 PM
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Depends on context. I'm a bald white guy pushing 60, so probably get the benefit of the doubt. If it's sooooo egregious, cop to something less horrible.

Last time I was pulled over was for doing 85 on a 65 max freeway in the middle of nowhere Oregon heading toward Boise. He asked something like "I think you were doing about 80?"

"Sounds close" (it was more like 85)

"is there a good reason why you were speeding"

I just smiled, and said "of course not Officer"

He gave me a bit of lecture, told me to keep it under 65 while in Oregon and to have a nice day.

I think playing it dumb in that situation would have got me a ticket. "Why, Officer, I have no idea why you pulled me over"
  #39  
Old 12-09-2019, 12:35 AM
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Originally Posted by Bear_Nenno View Post
Regardless of your response, it should never be an admission. Whether it's some kind of joke like harmonicamoon's response, a simple "no, ma'am" or a question like, "I wasn't speeding, was I?" Often the officer will make little notes on the back of their copy of the ticket so that they can recall the details if it ever goes to court. One of those notes will be, "Driver admitted to speeding because he was late for his son's recital" or whatever. Be polite, but don't admit anything.
Even back when I worked campus security and worked with the police department, they were voice recording most of the conversations, if not all of them.
  #40  
Old 12-09-2019, 01:09 AM
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Originally Posted by nelliebly View Post
If I cop stops you because he observed you breaking a traffic law, he doesn't need you to admit to anything to issue you a ticket
This.

I usually don't ask the driver if they knew that they were committing a violation. I use the Verbal Judo template and have for over 30 years

PK: Good morning. I'm Officer Beitz. I want to see your driver license, registration
and proof of insurance. The reason I pulled you over is because I clocked you
with radar going 73 miles per hour and the speed limit is posted at 55 here.


In under 10 seconds I've answered any reasonable question they could have. Who am I, What do I want, Why am I detaining them.

I don't care if they admit or not that they were doing what I pulled them over for. It's completely irrelevant to my case if they admit it or not.

When I get their documents I tell them to stay in their vehicle as I'm going back to my squad to evaluate the information they've given me. If I'm going to issue a cite I try to wait until I've returned to their car door to tell them. I've found that if I tell them right away their demeanor changes, they try to run back to my squad while I'm writing out the ticket and plead, etc..

And unless someone really does something super stupid or dangerous I don't give a lecture when I issue a cite, and I don't give a cite when I give a lecture. It's almost always one or the other, not both.

Last edited by pkbites; 12-09-2019 at 01:13 AM.
  #41  
Old 12-09-2019, 02:57 AM
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A lawyer friend once advised me to respond to these questions with "I would like you to tell me please, officer"

I've only ever had the opportunity to do that once, and it sort of worked (I don't actually think I was breaking any law). I had pulled out of a gravel car park onto a road that had a quite steep upward gradient; my front wheels had spun just a tiny bit on the gravel that had spread out from the car park and onto the road, and, because I was pulling away uphill, I remained in a lower gear for longer, with higher revs.
I think the police officer interpreted these two things as some sort of reckless behavious and he waved me down. He asked "Do you know how fast you were going back there?" I just said "I would like you to tell me, officer". He clearly hadn't measured my speed (which I don't believe had exceeded the posted limit anyway) and told me to be on my way.

Last edited by Mangetout; 12-09-2019 at 02:57 AM.
  #42  
Old 12-09-2019, 07:35 AM
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I had a cop pull me over after coming out of a little business cul-de-sac that, in addition to the restaurant i had just eaten in, had several low-budget motels that were well-known for prostitution and drugs.

Upon coming up to my window, he asked the question, "do you know why i pulled you over?" I said no. Because i honestly had no clue. Well the long and short of it was he claimed that my license plate light was out. However ihe didnt write me a ticket. When i got home, guess what? That damn light was working just fine.
  #43  
Old 12-09-2019, 07:46 AM
Joey P is offline
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Originally Posted by Mangetout View Post
A lawyer friend once advised me to respond to these questions with "I would like you to tell me please, officer"

I've only ever had the opportunity to do that once, and it sort of worked (I don't actually think I was breaking any law). I had pulled out of a gravel car park onto a road that had a quite steep upward gradient; my front wheels had spun just a tiny bit on the gravel that had spread out from the car park and onto the road, and, because I was pulling away uphill, I remained in a lower gear for longer, with higher revs.
I think the police officer interpreted these two things as some sort of reckless behavious and he waved me down. He asked "Do you know how fast you were going back there?" I just said "I would like you to tell me, officer". He clearly hadn't measured my speed (which I don't believe had exceeded the posted limit anyway) and told me to be on my way.
FWIW, and I don't that he would have in your case, but cops (at least in my area) been known to give out tickets for 'failure to maintain control of your car' or something along the lines of exhibition of speed/display of power/aggressive acceleration if you spin your wheels. Granted, this is usually for peeling out or doing donuts or even if you slide across a slick surface by accident and hit another car and they have to give you a ticket for something, but it's still available to them.

And getting back to the thread, again, if the cop is going to give you a ticket for something he saw you do, it has nothing to do with your admission. What you need to avoid is admitting to something he didn't see but you just assume he did.

Probably unrelated but...many, many years ago I was driving in a snowstorm. I got pulled over, officer asked why he pulled me over, I said I don't know (of course I did) and he told me I ran the red light. I explained to him that I was driving a big (empty) cargo van and when the light turned red I attempted to slow down but could feel the rear end starting to lose traction. There were no cars anywhere around me so I thought it was safer to run the light than to attempt to stop and risk spinning out. He agreed, gave me a ticket for not wearing my seatbelt (non-moving violation, $10) and sent me on my way.
I often think that if I had my seatbelt on, I would have gotten a ticket for running the light instead.
  #44  
Old 12-09-2019, 08:03 AM
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Yeah, asking that question is just an easy way to fish for more evidence. Sure, the cop pulled you over for an (alleged) burned out license plate light. But ask you why you think he pulled you over and you say "Because the weed smoke was clearly billowing out of my sunroof officer", then bam! That (alleged) license plate light citation turns into a full fledged arrest.

Last edited by Ambivalid; 12-09-2019 at 08:03 AM.
  #45  
Old 12-09-2019, 08:10 AM
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I assume that "because you're a fucking asshole?" is not the best response.

If you were speeding, I think the best approach is to apologize for it, give an explanation however lame (like this car drives so smooth it doesn't feel like you're going that fast) and put yourself at his mercy.
  #46  
Old 12-09-2019, 08:23 AM
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One very smart tactic is to answer every question with a question. That way you don't have to lie or admit anything.

"Do you know why I pulled you over?"

"Do YOU Know why you pulled me over?"

"Can I see your license and registration?"

"Can I see YOUR license and registration?"

Just keep doing that until they say you're free to go.

Last edited by HMS Irruncible; 12-09-2019 at 08:24 AM.
  #47  
Old 12-09-2019, 08:27 AM
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Although potentially funny, any mention of donuts will likely not help your situation.
  #48  
Old 12-09-2019, 08:50 AM
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I haven't had a moving violation since 1996, and I totally earned that one.

But I have been pulled over since then. The last time was about 7 years ago - hubby forgot his wallet, and needed me to bring it to him. I had just left the city limits of a notorious speed trap on my route, and pushed the pedal to the floor. Bam. Oncoming state trooper hit his lights. Pulled over immediately, because he was obviously coming for me. Got out my license, registration, and insurance card while waiting for him to turn around, and put my hands back on

"Do you know why I pulled you over?"
"I was probably going over the speed limit."
  #49  
Old 12-09-2019, 10:03 AM
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Originally Posted by Lacunae Matata View Post
I haven't had a moving violation since 1996, and I totally earned that one.

But I have been pulled over since then. The last time was about 7 years ago - hubby forgot his wallet, and needed me to bring it to him. I had just left the city limits of a notorious speed trap on my route, and pushed the pedal to the floor. Bam. Oncoming state trooper hit his lights. Pulled over immediately, because he was obviously coming for me. Got out my license, registration, and insurance card while waiting for him to turn around, and put my hands back on

"Do you know why I pulled you over?"
"I was probably going over the speed limit."
Apologies. My phone is misbehaving today, and I tried to edit.

Anyway, "I was probably going too fast, I'm sorry" works if one happens to be a middle aged white woman. I'm not sure if that's true for others.
  #50  
Old 12-09-2019, 10:34 AM
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Originally Posted by RealityChuck View Post
OTOH, I'm a older white man. It might have gone differently if I had been someone else.
Yeppers. I've noticed that I've been much more likely to get a warning when pulled over in my 50s and 60s than I was in my 20s and 30s. The 'older' part definitely helps, at least in conjunction with the 'white' part.
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