Do you remember when you were a kid or young adult and police officers just seemed nice? I sure do. Of course, we were taught that the whole reason to have police officers was to “protect and serve” the communities that they patrolled. There was no reason not to trust that they would do just that. Elementary school administrators would say to us, “If you are ever in trouble, always go to a policeman for help.” Cops were almost always portrayed in movies and on the news as the good guys who came riding in to save the day at the last moment. Boy! Those were the days. Now with the daily or near-daily reports regarding police officers in a bad light for numerous heinous acts, it sure makes you miss the days when you felt safe while in their presence. In addition to the recent news reports of violence on the part of the law enforcement, the reasons for this change are numerous, and I am not certain that they are all clearly definable.
Media saturation of such negative events is surely the biggest perpetrator of imbuing much of the population with not just unfavorable opinions, but downright outrage toward law enforcement in general. The media allows for nearly every tragic event, especially those that are hyper-sensational, to be piped into our televisions, radios, smart phones, and computers – sometimes within a matter of minutes, thereby inundating others with these often horrific events. It makes it difficult to discern whether there are more of these events occurring or if they are simply the subject of increased scrutiny. I am certainly not “blaming” the media overall, but I do wonder at the seemingly never-ending thirst for overt sensationalized journalism.
The media is only one aspect that has contributed to what seems to be a growing adversarial state between law enforcement and many citizens. It seems years ago that when a driver was pulled over by a police officer, there was a level of nervousness that occurred because officers were seen as authority figures and no one likes to “get in trouble” with authority figures. These days, most drivers still experience nervousness, but it is more likely because they don’t know if they are being stopped by one of these rogue cops that we hear about so frequently, therefore, they fear a simple traffic stop may escalate into something much more serious.
This contention is surely felt on both sides. With all of the national attention that has been drawn to law enforcement agencies in nearly every state, it is natural that, for the most part, they would close ranks. This could account for the less than friendly demeanor that drivers encounter when they are pulled over for a simple traffic stop. Of course, dealing with excuse after excuse all day long as to why drivers commit the infractions that they do could also be a factor. As the saying goes, there is nothing new under the sun, and that is true regarding to the reasons cops hear from drivers who have broken the law. It is understandable how this may make an officer jaded after he has been on the job for a while.
The police violence that has been reported of late, and the us-against-them mentality that often grows over time with certain police officers, makes it more important than ever that, if you get pulled over, you to follow all of the directives of the cop. More than just following his directives, don’t forget that now is a good time to remember your manners. Be polite, be concise, but don’t talk yourself into a traffic ticket by being argumentative or having a chip on your shoulder. Please, NEVER answer questions such as, “Do you know why I pulled you over?” because you may end up convicting yourself by a simple, innocent response. You should try to keep in mind that the odds of you talking your way out of a traffic ticket are slim to none.
If he does issue you a traffic ticket, regardless of what infraction you have been accused of committing, say thank you. Be very careful when you depart to make sure that you do so safely and slowly. Kicking up gravel or pulling recklessly back into traffic is only going to give him a reason to stop you again and issue you another traffic ticket. It may be difficult to not respond in an aggressive fashion, especially if you don’t feel that the ticket was warranted, but the last thing you need to do it make your situation worse. Receiving a traffic ticket is never a planned event, so no one is necessarily prepared when they get pulled over. Certainly, no one anticipates the hassle that will arise from this event. In all the years that I have been a traffic ticket attorney, I have never heard a single recipient of a traffic ticket say, “You know, I was expecting this, so I have tucked away several hundred dollars to pay fines, court costs, and the insurance rate hike that I am surely facing.”
Although fines and penalties can vary greatly, moving violations are always costly. This makes it difficult for some people to understand why they should add the expense of hiring a traffic ticket attorney to something that can become as expensive as traffic citations. The answer is a simple one, especially if you are one of those drivers who gets traffic tickets fairly often, or worse, are one of those drivers who has a hard time accepting it graciously. The expenses from multiple traffic tickets tend to add up quickly; therefore, they tend to outweigh the cost of the traffic ticket attorney’s fee. This is often a rather inexpensive flat rate for many violations. Additionally, if you are one of those who get outraged when issued a traffic citation, the chances are quite good that the officer is going to remember your face and the traffic stop when you appear in court. The better he remembers you, the greater the likelihood that he will be able to prove his case against you.
Let’s face it, most of the time the deck is already stacked against you when you go to court to fight a traffic ticket. What better way to try to beat those odds than to have a knowledgeable traffic ticket attorney in your corner? If you have received a traffic ticket for any type of violation, please give us a call at 954-967-9888 for a free consultation.