Handling LEO encounters

Driver66

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There's no simple answer to this, and I've been stopped sooo many times for so many stupid reasons. But I recently boiled it down to my teen age son like this. Three things. 1- and this is super important, DON'T BE A D**K!! 2- Always BE HUMBLE no matter how pissed off you might be, or right you THINK you are. 3- Hands on the wheel, don't speak until spoken too. Do EXACTLY what your told to do and always ask permission to get your credentials. A scared cop is a DEADLY cop. Be cool and usually , not always they will be cool to you. You might get a summons, BUT in my experience in some way it will be lighter. Like instead of writing you that ticket that's 17 mph over and is gonna cost you $335 he'll write you one for 9 over that will only cost $175, or better yet a seat belt( even though your wearing one, and for the love of god don't point out your wearing one! He's cutting you a huge break. It's not even a MV! Aanndd It's cheap.) and tell you to slow down in the future. You don't have to kiss his/her ass, but remember they have a job to do too. The best you can hope for is to minimize the damage. This has gotton me MANY warnings and very few summons considering I have been driving for 30 years at 35k a year. BE COOL.
 
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Stric9

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If the sovereign citizen method works so much better let's hear some stories.
Heh, Heh.... I know some of those guys. No, that absolutely doesn't work. It's better that the officer know you're a tax payer, own a business and or property and have access to money (and lawyers). Enough that it's not a problem to drop some fighting a ticket or two.

Furthermore, I wouldn't advise anyone here to follow my example(s). I'm getting a ticket and going to court no matter what I say or do. However, if you're one of the lucky ones, it's just the cost of doing business.
 

ZoSoIV

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Most states have deferral programs you get a ticket you pay it stay clean for six month and it soesn go on your driving record .... that's the goal keeping it off your driving record guys !
 

angrypenguin

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F*** you LIZARD!!!

Oh wait...:p
 

angrypenguin

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This is an interesting thread.

I can sell water to a fish in my day job, and I apply the same principle (and I'm not joking here - I am scared when a LEO pulls me over) to dealing with police officers. Couple of things. 1) Don't be a d-bag. 2) Try and be not memorable in case you take it to court. The less they remember about you, the better. 3) Be respectful -"sir or officer" 4) Admit to something, but don't be stupid enough to admit to the offense. (e.g.: "Sorry sir, Yes I know I was being stupid" If I get asked "do you know how fast you were going?" - my response would be "given the fact you've pulled me over, my guess is that you think I was going too fast" <--again, a non-answer -and it's not a lie, and it's not an admission of commiting an offense)

I haven't had points on my license for around 10 years now, and I've only been driving for around 15 years. I know my rights, but I choose not to blurt them out at every t-stop. Respect and playing dumb goes a long way.
 

jds67

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Well, this is an area where I do have experience. 36 years as a cop. Look, an awful lot of cops don’t like tickets either. In larger departments you’ll primarily deal with traffic cops, the patrol guys just don’t have the time or interest in radar. In medium and smaller departments the patrol guys will be out there working radar when they can because they are forced to have x number of tickets. Yes, some departments do indeed have a quota, they just disguise it as a way the officer has to show activity and productivity. Productivity Measurement is another way to speak about performance evaluations.

If you are stopped by a traffic officer you will probably get a ticket. I never understood those guys. They write a lot of tickets and seem to like it. A lot of them actually believe that tickets are for “the public’s safety” (and some are, like drunk driving, etc). Patrol cops pretty much know it is just a revenue deal. If you are stopped by a patrol cop, my advice is to be friendly and honest. I always appreciated that. I wouldn’t start the thing where you get confrontational right away and ask if you are being detained, etc.. That will be a lot more likely to get you a ticket. Don’t be stupid, don’t admit to a high speed or tell the officer that you are in a hurry or are late or something. Just be personable and tell the officer that you honestly were trying to be safe but don’t feel that you were speeding. Don’t get angry, that never works and don’t question the officers authority to stop you. That just never works out. Be very polite. Be respectful. But again, if it is a traffic cop, especially a motorcycle officer, your chance of getting away without a ticket are not real good. I knew several motor cops that wrote over 300 tickets a month and bragged about it. That is an awful lot of tickets.

Where I worked they now have photo red light and photo radar. I was always convinced that they did that because too many cops would actually listen to the person they stopped and not write a ticket, so they automated the system to take the human out of it and increase revenue. I do not care what anyone tries to tell you, photo red light is not an answer. It does not make intersections safer. The stats do not support that in spite of what you are told. They just look for intersections where the accident rate went down and throw those out as proof that photo radar works. They don’t mention all the other photo radar intersections where the rate stayed the same or went up though. Just the law of averages will have the rates go down at some intersections where they stick photo radar. They just throw those out as proof and ignore the others.

It doesn’t take long to see that tickets are all about revenue. One City that worked in sent a memo out to the Police Department telling that they had increased employees and the budget in the Municipal Court but that revenue wasn’t keeping up and that we (the managers) needed to get our officers to write more tickets.
 

Irit8ed

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There's no simple answer to this, and I've been stopped sooo many times for so many stupid reasons. But I recently boiled it down to my teen age son like this. Three things. 1- and this is super important, DON'T BE A D**K!! 2- Always BE HUMBLE no matter how pissed off you might be, or right you THINK you are. 3- Hands on the wheel, don't speak until spoken too. Do EXACTLY what your told to do and always ask permission to get your credentials. A scared cop is a DEADLY cop. Be cool and usually , not always they will be cool to you. You might get a summons, BUT in my experience in some way it will be lighter. Like instead of writing you that ticket that's 17 mph over and is gonna cost you $335 he'll write you one for 9 over that will only cost $175, or better yet a seat belt( even though your wearing one, and for the love of god don't point out your wearing one! He's cutting you a huge break. It's not even a MV! Aanndd It's cheap.) and tell you to slow down in the future. You don't have to kiss his/her ass, but remember they have a job to do too. The best you can hope for is to minimize the damage. This has gotton me MANY warnings and very few summons considering I have been driving for 30 years at 35k a year. BE COOL.
Great advise.....
 

46062

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Boy, is this thread amusing. Before I write about how I have handle traffic stops, here's my experience with cops: Over a thousand hours of ride a long time with three different agencies in Los Angeles County and one in Riverside County, California. Includes South Central and East Los Angeles and the Casa Blanca area of Riverside (look tit up). A few hundred patrol hours in a police helicopter over Southern California (sometimes, I got to man the Night Sun). A few thousand patrol hours as a police volunteer in a small town in a very rural state. I've observed a lot of cops doing their jobs in more scenarios than I can remember.

Rule 1: Don't get pulled over. Don't give fellow motorists a reason to call you in. Don't tailgate and don't change lanes at the last minute. Speed through traffic without leaving a wake and without stabbing your brakes.

Rule 1A: Don't drive a car that looks like something from the Fast & Furious. You'd be surprised how sticker-festooned Hondas stick out of traffic even from 700 feet AGL at 1:00AM. Neon paint is not your friend. Make sure your car is 100% legal. No tinted tail lights or underbody neon.

Rule 1B: Don't express your First Amendment rights by dressing like a clown or gang banger. If you look like a Crip, Blood or someone on last week's episode of Cops, you be treated accordingly. Give cops a pleasant surprise when they pull you over for driving like an idiot. Look like your the model for a Mormon recruiting poster.

Rule 2: Since this is a radar forum, the issue is speeding. Train yourself not to waste points. A ticket for an illegal left turn is going to cost as much as 10 over on the highway. I have never received a ticket for a violation in an urban area. Out in the middle of nowhere at 100+ is where I take a calculated risk.

Rule 3: Never argue with anybody that has a gun. It doesn't matter if that person is a criminal or LEO.

Rule 4: Don't be an ass. This especially goes for cops and officers of the court. A friend of mine was a deputy district attorney. When he was new to the job, my friend made a point of speeding by a motorcycle cop while giving him the Prince Charles wave. When we got pulled over, my friend said "watch this!" The motor officer came up to the window and my friend handed the cop his license and DA ID. The older officer said, "What do we have here?" He slowly put on his reading glasses (just to **** with my friend) and said, "this here says your a deputy district attorney in the county of XXXXX. Do you know this is YYYYYYY county, idiot?" Naturally, the deputy district attorney got a speeding ticket.

Rule 5: Don't be an asphalt Perry Mason. There are hundreds of reasons not to attempt to litigate a traffic stop at the side of the road. Cops really do not appreciate amateur lawyers or even real lawyers arguing with them when they're standing next to your car hoping not to get run over. Whether the cop is right or wrong, whether he violates your rights or doesn't, he still has the power to cite you or haul your ass into jail. You're better off letting him break the law and winning in court later.

Rule 6: Always address the LEO correctly. Cops really appreciate being called, Officer, Trooper, Deputy, etc. Just make sure you get it right.

Rule 7: REACHING FOR ANYTHING INSIDE THE CAR AFTER YOU GET LIT UP ON A TRAFFIC STOP IS IDIOTIC. If you want to turn off your radar detector, have it plugged into a circuit that turns off with the ignition. Once, I was in the passenger seat during a traffic stop and the officer came up to my side of the car, pointed a .45 1911 at me and said, "FREEZE! What do you have in your hands?" I replied, "Space, a novel by James Michner, Sir." I had made the mistake of picking it up out of the footwell just before we stopped.

Rule 7A: Always put your hands in the "California felony stop position." GLUED TO THE WHEEL. Then, ask the cop for permission to reach for your wallet or glove compartment.

Rule 7B: Always tell a cop if you're armed (as long as it's legal and you're legal). Even if you state laws do not mandate it. They appreciate it. Being armed where it's legal is not probable suspicion for a search. If a search ensues, chances are you can get it and anything that happens as a result of that search thrown out of court.

Rule 7C: If a cop decides to arrest you, do not resist and do not argue. Arguing and quoting statutes will not get you unarrested. Just comply and litigate it later. I can't emphasize how important this is. If a cop is an ass, it is not your job to help him. Help your self by allowing him to continue on his merry way and break the law and violate your rights. Then, take him to court. I once got a city councilman convicted of a felony by reporting him to the FBI after April 15 when his signature appeared on his bogus tax returns. If he had been charged with the same crime before he filed his taxes, he would have filed a legitimate return and there would have been a lot less evidence to convict.

Rule 8: Learn to be self-deprecating. Cops don't like big egos and they sure as hell don't like being called out for having big egos. I don't care if you're pulled over by Barney Fife or Robo Cop. Treat all cops as if they are Robo Cop. Keep your ego in check.

Rule 9: Treat female officers just like male officers. Most do not respond well to comments about their looks. They want to be perceived as just plain cops.

Rule 10: When the red and blue lights come on, PULL OVER NOW. Cops hate chases and the longer it takes you to pull over, the more suspicious they become.

Rule 11: Don't talk (much). Just be very polite and do not admit to any violation.

Rule 12: PAY ATTENTION TO WHAT THE COP SAYS. I got pulled over late one night in the California desert for doing 60MPH during the federal 55MPH nationwide speed limit. It was a BS stop. I was the only car on the highway. When the cop came to my window, he asked I knew I had a burned out tail light. I said, "No, which one?" The cop went to the rear of my car to check. Later, in court, I pointed out that the cop - a professional observer - did nothing but stare at the rear of my car for over a minute while his partner drove pacing me to establish my speed. The cop who wrote me wasn't using the radio or driving, he was just observing my car while pacing me and couldn't remember which light was out? Case dismissed.

Rule 13: Always have a woman your age in the passenger seat and train her to yell at you when the cop comes to your window. I had my friend's wife in my car when I got pulled over in Irvine, California for a blatant violation. I made I right hand turn from the left turn pocket and across three lanes of traffic. The cop comes to the window and my friend's wife starts yelling at me as if we're married. Our insurance rates are going to go up. I'm going to lose my job. I'm not going to get any sex. The more the cop tries to calm her down, the louder she got. The cop looks at me and I sheepishly shrug my shoulders while silently mouthing, "I'm sorry." The cop felt so bad for me he didn't write the ticket.

Rule 14: Most cops will not give you a break if they see a radar detector. I've learned to run my Redline on my windshield on the highway and on the passenger seat in town while leaving it in highway mode in town. Highway mode compensates for being on the seat in town and if I get pulled over, I toss a towel over it WITHOUT DIPPING MY SHOULDER. The detector turns off with my ignition. If I get pulled over on the highway, it stays on the windshield.

Rule 15: Leave your ego at home. Cops deal with real bad ass felons every day. You're not a bad ass felon and you're not a constitutional or legal bad ass, either. Don't embarrass yourself.

Rule 16: Cops don't mind court. It's just another work day and they're not on patrol dealing with domestic violence or pulling over God knows who with three felony warrants including one for attacking a police officer. And, they don't get embarrassed losing in court. They win some and lose some all the time. As much as your deluded mind wants to believe the ticket is personal and it's you versus him, it ain't. You have absolutely no leverage telling a cop you'll take him to court.

Rule 17: Cops hate paperwork and except for a handful of weirdos like the motor officer in Hermosa Beach, California who held the state record for number of tickets. Given a choice, they would rather give you a warning. Give them a reason to warn you.

Rule 18: Did I mention ego? Most guys I know just have behave like alpha males in police encounters. Police officers are trained to control situations to stop them from escalating. If you try to control an encounter wit a cop, you will lose. Instead, do the opposite. Become Mr. Rogers.

I got away with a $500 fine and no points after traffic school on I15 in Goodsprings, Nevada for 50 over the 70MPH limit. I've also gotten three verbal warnings for over 110MPH in a 70 in the state where I live now. One was in a car with California plates (not a good thing out here) and I started the conversation with, "Trooper, before we get started I'd like to point out I have a loaded Glock 21 .45 caliber on the passenger seat." NO EGO AND SELF-DEPRICATION ARE THE KEY TO GETTING A VERBAL WARNING. Cops have heard every excuse and every argument. What they don't see everyday is HUMBLE because most people do not have the self-confidence to shut off their own egos.

Rule 19: Download the Federal Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices. https://mutcd.fhwa.dot.gov/ If your state has adopted it, all road signs and signals have to match the specifications and locations detailed in the MUTCD. I won a left turn ticket in El Segundo California because the city used their own 1953 traffic code to locate the sign in a location other than specified in the federal manual. California adopted the MUTCD a year before I got my ticket. The fun part of my defense was filing a public information request with the city for the location of every no left turn sign and every authority used to locate those signs.
 
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CATandMOUSE

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In a sultry German accent:

"I really cannot afford another ticket in my M3, herr officer...."

*motion to the empty passenger seat*

"Perhaps there is something my invisible friend, who is a massive homo, can do for you?"
 

itgoEE

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Odd choice for a sticky, IMO. There's a couple points which I think should be removed entirely from the OP, and in my extensive experience the stiff, formal tact is not optimal. If you go into a stop with a list like this in your head it will show in your attitude and you will be worse for it. It's very true that a majority of communication is nonverbal, and if you're cool you probably won't even have to worry about going to court. I stopped counting stops when the number was in the 30s a decade ago but have been pulled over well over 50 times in my life (I do drive a lot), maybe 5 in the last 18 months that I can think of, and haven't had points on my license for probably the same decade. Applied psychology and sales principles are key to getting out of a ticket. Cops know that much of the general population doesn't particularly like them, if you can make it clear that you don't dislike them and don't fear them, without pandering or being an ahole, you will be golden.

A month ago I was out alone at a bar in TX and said a few words to a guy about his shirt, and after a very brief exchange asked what he did. He said "I'm a cop" and stared at me - he was looking for the typical flinch, the eyebrow jump, a change of tone that they get almost every time they say this. Inwardly I did flinch a bit, more from the pressure of having my body language scrutinized so intently than the statement itself, but outwardly I maintained and just said "Cool. Local?" Next words out of his mouth were "County. Let me buy you a shot." Let's face it, it's a thankless task they have which leads to an "us vs them" mentality. The way to get out of a ticket is to break through this - almost no one is going to give a ticket to someone they could see themselves being friends with. The #1 qualification for us to like somebody is that they have to like us, and the inverse is equally true. Most cops don't view themselves as above human or above the law, just as underappreciated, and they pretty much are.

Before a cop comes to my window he will already have seen the current NRA member sticker I have on the rear - never met a cop who didn't like to shoot guns, and they carry one every day - so this establishes a common interest. I also have one other unrelated sticker on the other side for another issue I'm passionate about and which some would view as not a typical association for an NRA member, further humanizing me. When a cop comes up to my window I already have it down, and before he can speak I say "Hey." with a downward inflection on the end and sometimes a slight head nod. DO NOT show signs of nervousness - most cops are dominant, type A and will never accept a groveling beta type into their clique. After this it's helpful to break the pattern and demonstrate personality in any way you can, without going overboard on talking. I keep things short and almost always end with a downward inflection. "I always forget to print out the insurance cards since they stopped mailing them to me. Let me look it up on my phone. That work for you?", very slight upward inflection only. As with most human interactions if you have to ask a question it's best to preface with a statement to not appear needy. Say the previous sentence to yourself and then compare how it sounds to you vs "I always forget to print out the insurance cards since they stopped mailing them to me. Can I look it up on my phone?" The latter is asking for permission from an authority, the former is something you would say to a friend or equal.

I never use the phrase "I'm sorry". "Sorry" actually is another word for pathetic, which is the last thing you want associated with you. I never use the word "officer" or "sir". If I was blatantly wrong as I was just the other week when I ran through a very solid red light in the work van I will say "I apologize for that." Again, downward inflection is key! Never admit to any alcohol consumption, this is one area where I lie every time (not that I often put myself in a situation where I need to but there was one close call) even if it's just a drink or two, or you'll be following his finger, and walking the line. I haven't had a request to be searched in many years but never used to consent to that either, and would take a slightly indignant tone if that was suggested. I agree never argue, but at the same time, don't be a pushover. I was pulled over for going 20 over while passing two cars at night this past February (don't remember if I left detector in the other car or maybe it was laser but had no warning) and he said that I was going 70 in a 50 I said "C'mon man, there's no way." with downward inflection (but non-condescending tone). He said he clocked me and I responded "Well I didn't think I was going that fast but if you say so."

Remember, it's a fine line between being likable and being approval seeking. If someone knows we WANT them to like us they think we want only want something from them (and in this case, well, we do) and are far less likely to do so. It has to feel natural. I usually throw some metaphorical "pushes" in there in the form of a brief, faint look of annoyance when they tell me my offense or another appropriate time - your respect has to be earned and a good way to go about that is by not writing you a $200 ticket.

For crying out loud though, please don't EVER say "Am I being detained?" I'm libertarian leaning and still get the urge to punch the people in those "sovereign citizen" Youtube videos in the face. There's a reason the videos of them getting "owned" are waaaay more popular than videos of them being successful. There are few ways more certain to ensure you'll be harassed short of pulling out your crack pipe and blowing a hit in the cop's face.

I know I'm new here, and probably won't be around a whole lot after the new detector comes in, just wanted to contribute since I've gotten some good radar info from the site and this is an area I know a lot about. Here's the warning from 2 weeks ago.

4ec3a02cdcd27f88611a7052ba3c4609.jpeg
This was an excellent read and I agree! This should be stickied!
 

PaulZy

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In my life, I have gotten out of a lot of tickets and trouble by being humble. I went to traffic school and the slammer for being an idiot and an ass!
 

Missie426

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If you are next to an officer while driving the PSL and your RD is in plain sight, do you remove it so you don’t cause unwanted attention and give them a reason to pull you over?
 

protias

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RDs are not illegal in my state, plus I don't sit right next to an officer, so it stays up.
 

Missie426

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RDs are not illegal in my state, plus I don't sit right next to an officer, so it stays up.
Yeah, I’m in Indiana and it’s legal too. Today while I’m the highway though a state trooper was cruising next to me. I was doing PSL and didn’t want to slow down or speed up as that would cause suspicion. I thought of taking it down too.

Just because it’s legal I feel like maybe they can pull me over for other bs (tints, etc)..I don’t think officers are too fond of them is my point...Haven’t heard of anyone taking em down though when next to police.
 

protias

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Yeah, I’m in Indiana and it’s legal too. Today while I’m the highway though a state trooper was cruising next to me. I was doing PSL and didn’t want to slow down or speed up as that would cause suspicion. I thought of taking it down too.

Just because it’s legal I feel like maybe they can pull me over for other bs (tints, etc)..I don’t think officers are too fond of them is my point...Haven’t heard of anyone taking em down though when next to police.
I've not been worried about tint in my previous vehicles. My current one, I do not have tint or any CMs (which I'm sure is shocking to a lot of old timers to hear my say).
 

GernBlanston

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If you are next to an officer while driving the PSL and your RD is in plain sight, do you remove it so you don’t cause unwanted attention and give them a reason to pull you over?
No. That makes no sense.
 

ZoSoIV

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Yeah, I’m in Indiana and it’s legal too. Today while I’m the highway though a state trooper was cruising next to me. I was doing PSL and didn’t want to slow down or speed up as that would cause suspicion. I thought of taking it down too.

Just because it’s legal I feel like maybe they can pull me over for other bs (tints, etc)..I don’t think officers are too fond of them is my point...Haven’t heard of anyone taking em down though when next to police.
Most troopers don’t care , unless your doing something stupid they aren’t going to pull you over , I have 5% tint on my windows and never get pulled over for that even
 

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