T Nation

Frickin Cops, Man!


Driving the mass pike today into boston and fall off the back of the group i was in to grab a snack. if you've ever driven the pike in the morning you know its 3 lanes of traffic doin' 80-85 and the weavers are doin' 90-95 and on up. anyway i fall off the back and am going 75 enjoying a couple hard boiled eggs, come over a rise and the statey is flagging me over. pulls over another guy before he gets to my window. says good morning takes my license, doesn't bother w/ the reg. , flags over another guy, gets the other two licenses. writes me a ticket and i'm outta there in like 3 minutes flat.

$110 ticket for goin' 76 in a 65 and he wrote "eating w/one hand on wheel" on it. wtf is that?

anyway the part that wicked pisses me off is that the people he was pulling over were the slowest guys on the road not riding in the packs going by at 85- we were the easiest to pull over. that and the fact that he was so fast whipping off the citations only says he was out to get his 8 or 10 tickets for morning so he could go hide somewhere. and that's such a wicked load of crap man i'm pissed.

i have a virtually spotless record. only one citation for a missed inspection. no moving violations. i've never been to court. should i just say i'm sorry i didn't realize i was speeding ? or should i tell the judge what a load of shit scam johnny law was pulling that day? prolly old news to him anyway. maybe i should just be a nice as possible and plead for him to knock it back to 75 so i don't get points off my license/insurance ? anyone ?


Welcome to my world man.

I dont live in Mass. But NJ/NY police (Bergen particularly) really fricken suck (NOT all, but most ive had the pleasure of delaing with). I cna tell you honesty works with some of them but you can tell who's fighting to get a decent performance record for the month (They have a quota to fill). Those are the worst cause they'll find anything to ticket you with. I got a ticket for hanging a Air Freshener in my rear view mirror, I guess thats illegal. The cop was fresh on the force from out of the academy anyway so I diddnt want to make an issue of it..

But anyway, you probabaly have a summons, so pray your officer isnt there that day in court, and they'll resechedual the next date. If He isnt there again, the case usually gets thrown out and you just end up wasting your time.

Thats the best possible scenerio. If you have evidence you werent breaking the law (good luck) present it and the prosecutor will scrutinize it. If its legit, you might win, if not, im sorry.. Ask for Driving school to avoid Points on your liscense. Insurance in NJ/MA/RI/MD really suck balls.


Also, get yourself a Phaser II, see if its legal in your state, and if it is, get one.

I got one when I moved from NJ to Florida and its pretty good, havent been pulled over since.


WTF??? Would he prefer your eating with neither hand on the wheel? And how would one eat with BOTH hands on the wheel? These things plague me at night.

I guess you could go and fight it in court since maybe the prosecutor might knock it down or out entirely (seriously, the guy is probably not going to show up). The fact that everyone else was going faster is not a defense if you are going over the speed limit yourself.

Any chance you could claim/show he could not have possibly clocked you accurately?


This is why whenever I'm speeding, I make sure there's someone less than 4 car lengths behind me so he'll get pulled over. If I'm the one in the back, I go the speed limit.


suck it up mate, do the crime do the time.


That's Massachussetts. What are you going to argue, that you weren't speeding? It's just part of the contradiction of a state where no one follows the speed limits.


hmm. i believe this quote was once in the strong words section :

"Weaseling out of things is important to learn. It's what separates us from the animals ... except the weasel."
-Homer Simpson


A word of warning to anyone venturing into Northern VA - Fairfax county cops are worse than the guy that pulled you over in Boston. Believe me, a lot of them have a reputation for being anal retentive.

Last November, I'm driving down the Capitol Beltway after an 11 hour day. This highway has a 65 MPH speed limit, but most drivers go around 75-80. So here I am cruising at around 70-75 mph along with traffic when a cop merges onto the highway right beside me. I happen to pass him since he's accelerating onto the highway, but because I'm the closest car to him, he pulls my ass over and writes me a $119 ticket. Like you, my record was virtually spotless before this happened and it definitely did a number to my insurance. Fuckers...


If there were many cars on the road, there is the chance he could has misclocked you(especially if cars were passing you at the time or close in proximity).
Better than that argument, find out what type of radar/laser guns the force uses. I believe that the most common lasar gun has 3% error above 65mph, in which case there is more than reasonable doubt to if you were actually doing 76, instead of 75. Most places I've heard of will let you plea it down to no points regardless, because they slap you with a court fee. This way they get more money.
I think the eating with one hand comment is to show that he had a good visual and adds to his credibility. Check the ticket for any errors; license plate number, date, etc. Also tell the judge that others were passing you (just don't make it sound like an 'everybody else was doing it' argument). Do not admit that you were speading and use the word officer, not cop.


Isn't "going with the flow of traffic" a legit reason for going a little over the limit?

Not too sure on that one, but I do remember hearing that it's always best to go to court with minor trafic tickets, as opposed to just paying them.

I heard you almost always can get the fine reduced, or at least no point on your licence.

I don't know for sure, because I found this out just after paying my last ticket over the phone. Any future tickets, I'll go to court on the scheduled day.


mmm that's a tasty morsel of information.

yeah that's what i'm hearing. never admit to speeding.


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.


Sometimes they don't pull over just one of the vehicles.


I went to court for this, but I was technically going over the limit so I had to pay the fine. The judge reduced the number of points taken off my license, but I still got hit for the ticket.



That thought about cops putting themselves on the line for us every day is not lost in me. However, they are human like all of us and thusly act like pricks on occasion. When that happens to me, I'll call it how I see it. It's not personal, it's just how I do things.


killer post !


I once got pulled over for going 12 over while I was driving from Texas to California. I'm polite, ready to get my ticket and go on. The cop looks in the back of my truck and sees all my bags and boxes and asks where I'm going. I tell him I'm be reassigned to Korea and I'm driving my truck to California so I can leave it with my brother for the year.

He then tells me I have to drive with him 20 miles in the direction I had just come from in order to get a money order and head to the courthouse in order to pay my fine right then and there.

I still have the receipt for that ticket posted on my fridge and that transaction pretty much sealed my distaste for law enforcement individuals.


that wasn't LT. Jim Dangle in Reno NV was it ?


That sucks! I got pulled over in Pennsylvania on my way to my next duty station, and told the officer "There's no way for me to come back here to dispute the ticket, so I guess I'll just have to pay it." He asked me for my address and said that he'd mail the ticket, but never did.

I also had my Military ID in front of my licence so I'd have to pull my licence out from under it. I think he gave me a break for being in the Military.

He was in an undercover car, going the speed limit in the left lane, so I passed him in the right lane and threw my hand up and shook my head, pissed that he's blocking the left lane. He was pretty cool, given the situation.