So you were pulled over for going 55 mph in a 45 mph zone. You might have been running late, perhaps something came up, or maybe you just really wanted to get home. Luckily, you don’t have to resign yourself to accepting that ticket!
Years ago, my wife was pulled over by a police officer for speeding on a major highway near our home. She explained to the officer that she was running late for classes due to an accident and an hour-long commute to her school. When he asked which school she attended, she explained she was in her final year of law school and a ticket would cause problems with her application to practice law. She wasn’t crying or argumentative; she was calm and sincere.
She showed the officer her student ID and explained that if she were late to class, the professor wouldn’t allow her in. The officer let her go, warning her to try to stay closer to the speed limit the rest of her trip. We figured the officer was giving her an honest break.
Regardless of the reason, there are many different ways to smooth talk your way out of a weekend in a defensive driving course. For starters, try one of these 25 Quotes to Get You Out of a Speeding Ticket:
“Can you believe that game last night?” Make small talk!
The more you make the officer think of you as a person and not a humdrum part of the workday, the more likely you are to drive away with just a warning.
“I just want to make this easy for both of us.”
You can score serious brownie points by having all of your information ready to hand to the officer, your engine off, your interior lights on, and your hands on the steering wheel when he arrives at your window.
“My wallet is in the console. Do you mind if I grab my license?”
You know you’re just getting your wallet, but the officer doesn’t. Make your intentions clear before you move to make the officer feel safe. An on-edge officer will be less forgiving when it comes ticket time.
“Would you consider letting me off with a warning?”
Seriously, just ask. Both of you know the officer wouldn’t have pulled you over if he thought you were under the limit. Just make sure you do it politely.
“Today just isn’t my day.”
This one requires props. Keep a box of office supplies in your passenger seat, and explain to the officer you were having trouble concentrating because you just got laid off. Don’t try this if you can’t act, though — if the officer doesn’t believe you, you’ll get no mercy for lying.
“You look familiar; were you at the event last week?”
Are you a donor to your local police charity? If not, maybe you should be. Many of these organizations offer windshield stickers and member cards, and it couldn’t hurt if your officer notices yours. Handing over your member card instead of your license isn’t a “get out of a ticket free” option, however.
“I’m late to a funeral.”
Bonus points if you actually saw a funeral procession at some point during your drive. This excuse works best Saturday and Sunday mornings, but it probably won’t hold much water at 2 a.m. If you really want to sell the story, have your newspaper’s website on your phone with the funeral notices up.
“I’m going to be sick.”
Whether you’re actually sick or just good at vomiting on command, it doesn’t matter. If you tell the officer you’re in a hurry to get home because you feel ill and then proceed to vomit, you might get out of a ticket by sheer grossness. Just try not to vomit on the officer.
“I need to get to a parking lot to change a diaper.”
This one is ultra-specific but useful. If an officer comes up to your car and you inform him that your baby needs attention pronto, he’s likely to want you on your way as quickly as possible. Like the vomit strategy, no one wants to deal with that.
“Yes, sir.” “No, sir.”
Another useful tactic when you plan to fight a ticket in court later — don’t be memorable. Make sure the traffic stop goes smoothly, and be respectful. If the officer remembers you because you were rude, he’s definitely showing up to your court date.
“I’m just trying to get home.”
This quote can help you if you’re driving late at night. Whether you just got off the night shift or just got back into town, the officer might let you off if you explain you just want to go home and go to bed. If you work the third shift, empathizing with an officer who’s clearly doing the same can’t hurt.
Someone I know was once pulled over in a similar instance when he was working the graveyard shift at a movie theater. He was driving so fast that the officer thought the car was stolen! While the officer still gave him a ticket, the judge was completely sympathetic, having worked that shift at a movie theater while in law school. He dismissed all but a seat belt violation to serve as a reminder for the experience and to never to forget to wear his seat belt.
“There must be something wrong with my car.”
This only works if you know for certain you weren’t speeding; an officer who believes you were going too fast won’t listen to this explanation. Unless the officer tells you how fast you were going, you don’t know why you were pulled over. Maintain denial of excessive speed as long as you can.
If you’re trying to plead a reasonable case, try not to get emotional. However, if your day is so bad that the tears just start flowing freely, try to explain the situation as well as you can, and you might get lucky. Don’t ever try to fake tears, though; that will just get your ticket wet.
“Please, sir, don’t give me a ticket.”
Every now and then, you just have to beg. It helps if you have a good reason, but as long as you remain sincere and don’t get emotional, you can at least get the officer to listen to your case.
“I’m sorry, officer; I don’t mean to sound argumentative.”
Don’t be confrontational, and don’t fight with the officer if things look bleak. The moment you turn the situation into “me vs. you,” you might as well write the ticket yourself.
“I appreciate that you keep this place safe.”
Everyone has pride, and officers take particular pride in knowing their job keeps people safe. If you can appeal to an officer’s sense of pride, that might make him feel like he did his duty without needing to write you up.
“I understand, sir/ma’am.”
Always be respectful. The fastest road to a guaranteed ticket is a bad attitude. If you act rudely, you better hope your registration is up-to-date as well.
“I’m a long way from home.”
Don’t complain to the officer that you’re feeling homesick. Rather, explain that you didn’t realize you were going too fast because you’re unfamiliar with the area. To sell your story further, ask for directions to your destination.
“Are you sure?”
If you and the officer were driving different directions, politely (this is key: politely) ask to see what the radar gun said. It’s hard to gauge speed when heading in opposite directions, and radar often can’t measure speed accurately from that angle.
“I honestly didn’t think I was going too fast.”
You don’t have to say it out loud, but whatever you do, don’t say the opposite of this and admit you were speeding. Most officers will be obligated to ticket you if you do.
“Hey, do you know my brother, ______?”
Is it fair? No. Does it work? Yes. There’s nothing quite like having family on the force to get your ticket ripped up right then and there.
If you like to do things your own way, you might as well go all out. Send the ticketing officer an email or letter thanking him for keeping the area safe while asking him to dismiss the ticket. It’s a long shot (a really, really long shot), but if you’re convincing enough, the officer might be surprised enough to help you.
When a friend of mine did this, the officer called her. He told her to take the ticket to court, but he wouldn’t show for the hearing. She did go to court, he did not show, and her ticket was dismissed!
“My car can’t even go that fast!”
Useful if you drive a rust bucket, and even better if you can inject a little humor into it. A friend of mine recently described a time he was pulled over for going 55 mph in a 40 mph zone. After he explained to the officer that his car would stall if it went over 50 mph, the officer told him to put the money he would have used to pay the ticket toward purchasing a new car!
“Let me make sure I have all the information.”
Sometimes, if everything else fails and you end up holding a ticket, you can fight the ticket in court. If you choose to do this, though, make sure you know for sure that the officer doesn’t have an accurate radar reading on you and that you’re legitimately innocent.
“I didn’t get to speak, your Honor.”
If an officer tells you immediately that you won’t get out of the ticket, no matter what you say, there’s a good chance you can use that if you take it to court. Either the officer won’t show, which will usually get your ticket dismissed, or the judge will consider the fact that you were too intimidated at the time to explain the circumstances.
This list was written by Daniel Wesley, founder of Quote.com.