When people get pulled over for speeding, they normally have one of three reactions: 1) panic, 2) anger, or 3) they wonder how to convince the officer not to write a traffic ticket. The first two reactions are excellent ways to to turn a routine speeding stop into something much greater, so forget about them. The third reaction is better, but misguided. In Miami, the real question people should be asking is “How do I get this stop over with quickly and get on my way without doing or saying anything that might make it more difficult to get out of this speeding ticket later?” If you approach your interaction with the police officer from that perspective you also might convince the officer to let you go with a warning.
What you need to understand is that the officer’s job is tied to writing traffic tickets. Like almost everywhere else, in Miami traffic tickets are used by the city as a form of taxation. They fund municipal programs and make it so that police officers get paid. An officer can decide not to write a speeding ticket, but he cannot be that nice to everyone because his job is to write tickets. When you set out to try to convince the officer not to write the ticket, from the officer’s perspective you are asking him not to do his job. If someone asked you not to do your job, you would not be likely to agree to the request. The police officer is no different.
If you treat the officer with the same civility and politeness that you would treat a grocery store clerk, a bank teller, or anyone else just performing his job, you are going a long way toward convincing the officer not to write you a traffic ticket. This is true because Miami police officers are used to people treating them with belligerence and disrespect. Your civility lets the officer know that you know what his role is and you respect it, even if inside you really don’t. It will be appreciated.
At some point, the officer is likely to ask you if you knew that you were speeding. This is where you want to be careful as it is possible that the officer is recording the conversation or will remember it later. You do not want to admit guilt, but you also do not want to say anything that makes it seem like you were doing something else wrong. Thus, you don’t want to say, “I know officer, but…,” or “I was fiddling with the radio and wasn’t paying attention.” The first is an admission of guilt and the second is an admission of distracted driving. Neither is likely to help you with the officer writing the speeding ticket or with a judge if you are trying to get out of the ticket in court. You don’t need to say anything other than “No, officer.
If everything goes well and you treat the officer appropriately, you might get off with a warning. If not, you will at least be on your way as quickly as possible with nothing more than a speeding ticket. Regular readers of this blog know what I have to say about what to do when you do get issued a speeding ticket: Don’t pay it. Remember, tickets in Miami are a tax. It is a tax that you do not have to pay and one that carries higher insurance costs if you do pay it. We offer free consultations and will be happy to see if there is a way for you to get out of paying this tax.