How can I get a warning rather than speeding ticket?

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Here's what you need to know...

  • Knowing how to regain your composure and presentation to the officer is the first step to avoiding a speeding ticket
  • Presenting a valid reason for speeding may help to convince the officer that a warning, not a ticket, is sufficient
  • Admitting to the officer that you’re speeding is almost certain to result in the officer writing an expensive ticket
  • Regardless of the officer’s demeanor, remain polite and respectful during the conversation

Moving violations like speeding tickets can raise your car insurance rates.

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Why does the police officer want to give me a ticket, anyway?

Close-up of speedometer

Let’s say you’re only driving about five miles over the posted speed limit. You’re a mother driving a van, and you’ve never received a speeding ticket.

The officer writes tickets on the basis of statistics as well as his department’s need for follow-up.

If the officer doesn’t write a ticket, he can opt to give you a verbal or written warning.

His leaders prefer citations because the ticket is another statistic and proof of the officer’s job well done.

How does giving a written warning satisfy the police officer’s need to educate drivers?

Policeman writing speeding ticket.

According to authors Pomper and Clausen, the police officer may weigh the consequences of writing a ticket.

For example, if the driver is a newly licensed teenager, the police officer may opt to warn the driver about a relatively small infraction. The officer understands that the young driver’s parents will need to pay higher insurance rates because of the citation.

If the young driver in the scenario is engaged in reckless driving at many miles above the posted speed limit, the police officer is likely to write the speeding citation. The police officer wants to protect other drivers on the road.

The authors of Is There a Problem Officer? believe that most police officers will choose to give errant drivers a warning rather than a citation in many scenarios.

A driver with a clean DMV record is more likely to get a warning.

If a police officer asks you to pull the car over in a questionable location, many states offer a road safety number to drivers. Learn if your state allows a call from a mobile phone to such a number.

The road safety number will allow drivers to reach local law enforcement (including highway patrol dispatch personnel) to explain your concerns about safety.

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How should I conduct myself with a police officer?

Remember that the police officer is concerned about his safety, too. If you immediately start to reach for the contents of your glove compartment before the police officer asks for your proof of car insurance and registration, he may not feel at ease with you.

Wait for the officer to request any and all items, and then offer the documents to the officer in slow, calm movements.

When presenting a current car registration and car insurance, the police officer is likely to understand you’re a responsible car operator and driver.

If your registration and car insurance are invalid, the investigating officer is naturally more likely to write citations for several serious infractions.

Answer any questions the officer asks in a polite, direct way. Don’t raise your voice during the conversation with the police officer. Demonstrating good manners and deferring to the police officer in this situation is recommended.

Don’t admit any wrongdoing during the conversation. Wait for the officer to explain his concerns.

Admitting to the officer that you’re driving over the speed limit is almost certain to result in his writing an expensive ticket.

Rather than attempt to determine guilt or innocence in the moment, ask the officer if he will give a warning rather than a citation. Regardless of the officer’s response to your request, remain polite and respectful during the conversation.

Acknowledge the officer’s statements but don’t say anything that implies guilt, such as: “Yes, I know I was traveling 20 miles per hour above the speed limit.”

Simply thank the officer for helping drivers like you to stay safe rather than incriminate yourself. If the officer writes a ticket, accept the ticket by writing your signature.

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