Any Police Officers here? Why do you ask specific questions before ticketing speeders

Or lawyers? Even better.

Any Police Officers here? Why do you ask specific questions before ticketing speeders

It always starts “Do you know how fast you were going?”

That’s not a casual ice-breaker, is it.
It’s trying to get a quick confession, or at least something incriminating.

Which is the best answer? (be honest, you’re off duty now)

  1. I guess 72, 73? (rounding down from 85)
  2. I wasn’t paying attention.
  3. The limit.
  4. Just keeping up with 80% of the traffic, excluding trucks.
  5. My mother is a _____ (Policewoman, Asst. DA, stripper)
  6. Is that your $20 on the ground?
  7. I’m not saying anything until you read me my rights.
  8. (to passenger: Toss it!)

I am not a cop, but I found in The Ticket Book by Rod Dornsife (a former policeman himself), a comment on poor choices of questions for the cop to ask. Thw worst was “Do you know why I stopped you?” which is just begging for the motorist to say, “No, Officer–I was hoping *you/i] would know!” :smiley:

It’s free information that you voluntarily give, and it will be used as evidence against you. It is just the first step in a whole sequence they have to get enough evidence for a successful conviction.

You don’t have to say a damn thing. Nod your head yes, shake your head no. Speak with an attorney as quick as you can.

All the police in my town turn on their micro cassette recorders to get the audio on each and every incident they respond to.

Very often, a routine traffic stop for speeding, failure to signal, failure to yield - or even for having the wrong sticker on your licence plate - leads to something much larger. DWI/DUI, DWLR, probation violations, outstanding warrants and lots of other things.

You can count on their questions being loaded, designed to make you talk. And seemingly innocuous questions, such as “You see that playoff game last night?” will get you talking. And they record it. You so much as have a Canadian accent, (say a-boat instead of a-bout) suddenly they say your speech is slurred, and you are rambling incoherently and such.

Well, I don’t know about this last guy. He seems to have some rough cops. I never ask people I pull over if they know how fast they were going, because to me it seems like a smart-ass thing to do. But when cops do ask that question, they’re just trying to size you up real quick. If you say, “Officer I wasn’t speeding!” Or like the guy before me suggested and not say a word, then they’re going to think that you’re a dick. However, if you were speeding and you do say, “I know I was going a little fast. I’m really sorry, I didn’t mean any disrespect.” That probably will get to farther.

It’s true, more cops have cameras and some do have listening devices, but if you’re honest and you get the ticket, chances are you’re not going to fight it so who cares anyway. Those tapes are mostly only pulled to disprove allegations of abuse.

Hope this helps.

I did go overboard a little on that last post. The OP was asking about being pulled over for speeding and I turned it into something much more. As DreamWorks mentioned, the initial dick question is a way to size up a customer really quick.

Realize that cops do have a dangerous job. Their lives depend on being able to assess a suspects demeanor quickly and immediately seize control of the situation. Few things do this as efficiently as a carefully worded accusation in the form of a question. It puts the suspect on the defensive.

I understand some of the dynamics, so I know the accusatory questions are coming. My personal favorite: “How much have you had to drink tonight?” (my brother got this one) There’s NO correct answer.

Fortunately I drive an invisible truck and have only been pulled over twice in seven years. Each time for having the wrong sticker on my license plate.

My feelings are that most cops are like anyone else. If you treat them with respect, they’ll treat you with respect. It’s the assholes who get an attitude with officers who end up getting into more trouble than they would have if they had just been courteous. I’m not a cop, and I don’t particularly like getting tickets either, but I realize that 98% of the fuzz is just out there doing their jobs and they don’t need attitude.

I do find it funny though how a lot of people “Thank” the officer after being handed a ticket. “Yeah, thanks for the fine officer. I really wanted to throw some money away.”

The question “Do you know how fast you’re going?” is a no-win question, sort of like “Do you still beat your wife?” If you answer yes, then you’re pretty much admitting your guilt; if you answer no, then you weren’t paying attention to you driving as you should be and were behaving recklessly.

…the “initial dick” question is, of course, “Can I initial your dick so I can size it up?”

[extremely funny but potentially offensive punchline removed…aren’t you all proud of me?]

Cop: Do you know why I pulled you over?
Fletcher: Depends on how long you were following me.
Cop: Let’s start from the top.
Fletcher: Here it goes: I sped. I followed too closely. I ran a stop sign. I almost hit a Chevy. I sped some more. I failed to yield at a crosswalk. I changed lanes at an intersection. I changed lanes without signaling while running a red light and SPEEDING!
Cop: Is that all?
Fletcher: No. …I have unpaid parking tickets.

I found a loophole! If I’m a “customer”, and if “the customer is always right” then the correct answer is, “I wasn’t speeding” and the cop will have to let me go, right?

The customer is always right in RETAIL. In law enforcement, they’re innocent until proven guilty. Or until your gut tells you they’re guilty. Or until you get them on radar doing 85.

I always thank the officer after receiving a ticket; I thank him, not for the ticket, but for not pulling me out of the car through the window and doing a Rodney King on me.

I’ve been pulled over many times, especially when I was young & stupid. However, courtesy and humility have always kept the officer from opening my trunk and finding the hundred kilos of pure heroin I was running for the Medellin Cartel. :wink:

(Just kidding about the second part)

Questions are important cause if the person sluurrrrrrs you can tell they are drunk.

I might just say ‘I was going as fast as the car was’ The cop already knows how fast im going he has a radar. duh.

SwimmingRiddles says:

You’re a real killjoy, SwimmingRiddles, you know that?

I am also hoping that a cop’s testimony that “my gut tells me they’re guilty” hasn’t ever stood up in court.

Sounds like your best bet is to not respond to the exact question, but start acting nice and mild.

“I hope I wasn’t speeding. I’ve never gotten a ticket. My father will die when he hears this.”

One thing that got me really bad a couple of times was exiting the car as a cop got out of his. I thought he would shoot me both times.

The reason I had done it was my driver’s ed teacher (a moonlighting cop himself) told us that police worry about meeting an armed driver unaware, so you should show you’re unarmed by getting out.

Then the second one ticketing me said people usually exit the car for one of two reasons - They are worried about major arrest and are going to run for it. Or, the want to keep the cop from having a reason to look inside the car. When he does, they can claim he had no reason to and get off for minor charges like having an open bottle of beer.

Either way, the stop just became a bigger deal for the cop than if you’d stayed inside with both hands high on the wheel.


This is a huge no-no. It scares the cop, because he doesn't know what you're going to do and why you're getting out of the car. Just so you know, the car stop is the most dangerous police work, outside of domestic disputes, because the cop never knows what the people in the car just did. I could be pulling you over for a red light, but you might have just robbed a Wendy's and killed 5 people 10 minutes ago and you think I'm stopping you for that. So I approach thinking no big deal and you shoot me....they're very scary, trust me.

If you get pulled over, to make the cop happy and feel safer and probably make him like you more, do the following.
  1. Put the vehicle in park and shut off the engine.

  2. Take the keys and put them on the roof of the car.

  3. Turn the interior/dome light on. (Especially at night)

  4. Place both your hands on the wheel.

    Don’t fidget or make motions before he approaches, because he doesn’t know what you’re reaching for. And if you keep stuff under the seat or in the glove box, always let him know that you’re going for it before you do. This would make me a lot happier when I’m alone on a highway at night as a cop.

My mother’s favorite excuse (“I was just keeping up with traffic, Officer,”) is one of the worst possibly answers. (She used to use that one even when she was passing everybody in sight, or when there was no traffic. This excuse implies that the officer isn’t doing his job of keeping traffic to a reasonable speed.

Read The Speeders’ Guide to Avoiding Tickets by a retired NY State Trooper captain. The one and only time I got stopped (that’s really amazing, considering how fast I drive), the trooper knocked 12 mph off my speed, probably because I followed the book’s advice. In addition to what DreamWorks said, perhaps most important thing is to pull as far out of the traffic lane as you can. Many times I see speeders who pull over only a little, and then the trooper is in mortal danger of being struck by another car. This will not put them in a frame of mind to let you off easy, believe me.

This thread reminds me of the time when my friend - the volunteer firefighter - was pulled over.

He said it was incredibly satisfying to respond to “All right buddy, where’s the fire” with an actual address. The expression on the Cop’s face was utterly priceless.


I do it every time & everytime they dropped the matter. No warning, no ticket, nothing.

My next door neighbor is English. Apparently, in England, when the police stop you, the practice is to get out and walk back to their car. He got stopped by an American police officer and did that, honestly not knowing any better. The policeman, obviously not knowing what was going on, was totally confused, and pulled a gun on him, leading to more misunderstandings. Things got sorted out, but believe me, he is very, very careful any time he sees a police car.

On a tangentially related note, I got stopped one night about 1am by an officer who wanted to tell me I had a headlight out. We chatted, and I gave him my ID. When he came back to the car, he was a changed man. He didn’t come all the way to the window, but stopped at the back of the car, pulled a gun, and ordered me to put my hands on my head and started asking me a lot of questions about myself: name, address, social security number, other cars in my name, had I ever had another driver’s license, etc. It turned out that there is someone out there with my name who is considered armed and dangerous, and has been known to shoot at police officers. It scared me half to death: we were in the middle of nowhere, it was late, and the possibility for tragic misunderstandings was huge. I convinced him that I was who I said I was, and harmless, and he was very pleasant to me. After I calmed down and drove away, I realized that the officer probably went through that two or three times a night. If I were he, I would stand way back and draw my gun, too.