A few tips from behind the badge,
1st, every cop realizes that the reason many people bitch about them is because they write traffic tickets. Let me explain what 90% of traffic tickets are for...to generate revenue for the government. I know many people turn all different shades of purple when this is said, including some cops, but it is the absolute truth. Greedy politicians close budget gaps with ticket money which they promptly spend, often frivolously.
Here is how it works in the police department. The sergeant wants to look good so he tells his guys to write more tickets. The lieutenant wants to look good so he tells his sergeants to pressure the guys for more tickets. Ultimately, the chief, director etc. wants to look to the governmental entities that control him, so he pressures his subordinates to produce tickets. If the chief is a good guy, he uses the positive light the high ticket production casts on him to improve the department(equipment, training, manpower
etc.) If the chief is a political scumbag(as more and more seem to be anymore), he uses the strong ticket production to advance his own personal agenda(better contract, political jobs, etc). The sooner everone accepts this(cops and motorists) the better.
Now this is not to say that some people are dangers on the road and need to have their behavior modified. But frankly, they are a much smaller percentage of the driving population than can support the level of ticket revenue that government expects.
This all means that it falls on the cops to write tickets, often for infractions that dont seem all that serious(like 11 mph over the speed limit on a highway). If they dont write, trust me there will be consequences. Now most people want to do well at their respective jobs correct? Why should we be any different?
By the way, some states outlaw ticket quotas but there are plenty of ways around that.
Essentially what I am saying is consider
most of the tickets people are written as an extra "tax" that you may get lucky enough to avoid paying a particular year. Please note I am not talking to you guys who drive like assholes(ie. drunk, high, suspended, double the speed limit, tailgating etc). You get what you deserve and I dont feel bad for you at all.
But honestly, I feel bad for most people
as I am a huge opponent of governmental waste and confiscatory schemes. With that in mind, here are a few tips:
-If you feel compelled to go over the speed limit, dont do so by more than 15 mph. Most cops(Note I said most) don't bother with less than that, at least in my experience.
-Don't rely on radar detectors. We have ways of beating them. Also, the mere presence of a radar detector often aggravates a cop and makes him think you
are a chronic leadfoot, hence improving your chances of a ticket.
-Be polite. This is huge, but some people are to dumb to get it. In this vein, many cops will tell you to be honest. I have let people go that were doing very stupid things just because they were very honest with me and didnt play games. Thats me, as I prize honesty and straightforwardness. However, if you admit to doing something wrong, then you are absolutely sunk in court should it get that far. This is a catch-22 to which there is no hard and fast answer.
-Excuses rarely work. Real reasons often work(ie. I just found out my kid is in the hospital). But if you want to try and play Tom Cruise and fake a real reason, consider this. Cops will spend 25, 30 or more years reading people and dealing with far more personalities than
almost any other profession will. We also investigate things. Verifying "reasons" for breaking motor vehicle laws is often not that hard, and if you get caught, expect to get a whole ticket book unloaded on you.
-If you decide to go to court, you may make out good, and you may not, but it is a gamble. The cost is usually court costs if you lose. Mind you, almost no one beats traffic tickets. There are many reasons for this that I wont bore you with, but you are probably wasting your time if you try to play johhny cochrane. As an example, somebody above said that clerical errors on the ticket(spelling etc) will invalidate it. This is wrong, at least in the states I am familiar with. There are a lot of these bs tricks floating around. Consider this. I have never seen a speeding ticket lost in court. Never. If it goes to trial, your probably sunk barring something strange. Your best bet is to talk to the prosecutor and the officer and see if you can negotiate a plea deal. Many people walk away from these fairly happy(Motor vehicle points are killer on the insurance), and the government still gets their money. Just remember the polite rule.
While Im at it, dont waste your money on a lawyer for simple motor vehicle charges. One of the things that shocked me when I got on the job was how damn stupid many lawyers are(decent cops can very often tear them apart in the applied knowledge department) and how little they actually do for you. They go in the prosecutor's office, kiss everybody's ass, shake hands because everybody knows everybody else, and then they nicely ask to knock down the speed for their client, which will often happen. They know they cant beat traffic tickets under most circumstances so they just try and smooze their way into a lesser charge. You can do that yourself if you can string together coherent sentences and it wont cost you a $600 retainer fee.
Anyway, drive safe and try to remember that the prick that just gave you a ticket is the same prick who will go into a burning building for you or trade bullets with a bank robber for you 15 minutes later.