The flashing red and blue lights go off in your rear view mirror. Your heart jumps, and you say to yourself, "He can't possibly be pulling me over…" - "I stopped at that stop sign!" or "I was only going with the flow of traffic!" or "The light was yellow!" Then you quickly realize that it is, in fact, you that he is pulling over. You instinctively want to give this guy an ear full and tell him off. You want to argue and insist that you did not do anything wrong and that he should go take a long walk off of a short pier.
This scenario seems to be the most common that I come across when speaking to potential clients. But I am here to tell you why you definitely do not want to do this.
Firstly, you are never going to win a shouting match with a police officer. Then, if you have upset him he most likely will not be willing to be terribly patient while waiting for you to produce your "license, registration, and insurance card please". If you have to fumble around trying to find the current documents he probably will have already started writing you up for additional non-moving violations for failure to produce the requested documents in a timely fashion. Oh yeah, and maybe now he notices that your tint is a little too dark. That's another ticket. By the way, I have even seen a separate tint ticket written for each and every window, believe it or not. So now instead of driving away with just the
stop sign ticket, you have a handful of
tickets to deal with. Not good, to say the least.
Perhaps the most important reason not to argue is because it can, and will, hurt you if you decide to take the citation to court. Most Florida counties are so backed up with traffic matters that actual court dates are often not set for 2 or 3 months after the citation is issued. If the issuing officer can not specifically remember your particular pull over, then reasonable doubt may be created during questioning in court. For most traffic officers, that is probably several hundred tickets ago. If you were quiet and polite during the pull over, odds are that the officer will not remember you or the particular specifics of your incident. This increases the chance of reasonable doubt, and increases the chances of a not guilty finding.
In addition, many cases are settled without formal questioning of the officer. If your encounter with the officer was an anonymous one that was easily forgettable he will most likely agree to recommend, or at the very least agree not to oppose, keeping the
points off of your driving record. In that instance, the magistrate/judge will often times enter an order withholding the guilt and the points from your driving record. If, however, the officer recalls a negative or confrontational encounter, he will fight tooth and nail to have you convicted. Also, often times the issuing officer will write a comment or note that does not appear on the actual citation, but makes it's way into the court file. If you verbally abused the officer in any way or used foul language and the judge finds out about it – not good, to say the least.
So in conclusion, be anonymous. The less the officer remembers about you and the pull over, the better.
For help with traffic tickets, contact a Florida traffic ticket attorney at our office.