It happens to the best of us. You’re driving along, you seem to get lost in your thoughts and before you know it, you see bright flashing lights behind you, sometimes accompanied by the loud BLOOP-BLOOP – a police officer is pulling you over. You immediately signal, hit the brakes, are start to pull off to the side of the road while new thoughts run through your head: “Was I speeding?”… ”Did I miss a stop sign?”… ”Did I forget to use my blinker?” – or perhaps you have a very good idea why the officer is pulling you over: “I always get away with 45 mph here…”. In either case, here are some tips on what to do and not do during a traffic stop in Ocean or Monmouth County, New Jersey.
- Be as polite as possible, no matter the circumstances.
- The most important thing to do is be polite. Regardless of how sure you are that you did not break any laws while driving, acting rude or disrespectful will not help you in any way. Being polite and cooperating with the officer by supplying him/her with your license and registration can be the difference between a warning or having to go to court to plead your case.
- Do not argue or attempt to plead your case with the officer.
- In most cases, attempting to plead your case with the officer conducting the traffic stop will result in you accidently supplying the officer with evidence that will later prove you guilty. Allow the officer to ask the questions and answer them politely and directly. If the officer’s tone turns accusatory, you can politely refuse to answer any questions while putting the blame on your attorney. Try “I’m sorry officer, but my uncle is an attorney and he will be furious with me if I make any additional statements.” Note that most state police officers prefer the title “trooper” to “officer”.
- Try not make yourself sound guilty!
- The questions an officer will ask you during a traffic stop are purposely worded for you to admit that you broke the law. For instance “Do you know why I stopped you?” is usually the first question the officer will ask. If an officer asks if you know why he/she stopped you, the answer should always be “no I do not, Officer”. At that point in time, you honestly do not know for certain why he/she has stopped you.
Follow these rules and you will increase your likelihood of receiving a warning instead of a summons. Also, in the event that you do get a summons after following these rules, you will have a much better chance of having the cost reduced if you fight the charges in court.