If your on the road and a police officer pulls behind you to pull you over, immediately turn on your turn signal to acknowledge that your pulling over and stop at the very first safe location. Make sure your car is parallel to the road, pulled completely to the side (so not as to obstruct traffic) if it is safe to do so, and turn off your engine.
Prepare your car to reassure the officer that he/she is safe.
When your car comes to a stop and you turn off the engine, roll your window completely down. If it is at night, turn on the interior lights (so long as there is nothing to hide in the car). Put your hands on the steering wheel at the two and ten o'clock positions. Do not start to look for your insurance, registration and driver license until requested to do so. If you open the glove box while the officer is approaching your car or lean to the side, the officer will be worried about one of two things: (1) your hiding something or (2) your getting something that is dangerous. When the officer arrives at your window and asks for you to retrieve information, ask permission to get it from wherever it is stored.
A police officer can seize any illegal objects in plain view or look at any object more closely if it appears to be illegal or indicative of criminal activity. He/she is allowed to look in your car with a flashlight .
Be courtious, don't ask questions.
The goal in many respects is to be the least memorable you can be. Don't talk first. Say "yes, sir/ma'am" or "no sir/ma'am." Do not be condescending, sarcastic, joke or wisecrack. Do not get out of your car unless asked to do so. Do not ask any questions or argue. If the officer says you did something you didn't do, just take the ticket and keep your mouth closed. If you argue you will do nothing but make the officer remember you for court. It's an argument you cannot win. Put your ego and pride on the back burner and if there is an argument to be made, leave it for your lawyer in court. If the officer asks you if you know why you were pulled over, it's best to say "no, I'm not sure" and let the officer explain. In response, do not admit to anything, just say, "I understand" or " I see."
Don't give the officer reason to be worried or suspicious.
Think about it from the officer's perspective, everyone is a suspect and everyone is a potential threat to them. Be calm and collected. In the event you are worried about something in the car, don't pay attention to it. If you're looking around the car or acting like your worried, the officer will get worried and that's a bad thing.
If your asked to get out of your car...do it.
A police officer who has stopped you for a traffic stop has an absolute, unconditional right to ask you to exit the car and pat you down for officer safety if he has a reasonable suspicion that you could be a threat (armed or dangerous). Reasonable suspicion is a very loose definition and errors are made by courts in favor of the police officer. This is true even if the officer is simply mistaken about something he/she thinks you did, even if you are completely innocent. This minimally intrusive check of your clothing for weapons is called a Terri Pat Down and it is permitted by the United States Supreme Court and the Michigan Supreme Court.
If the police officer asks you if it is ok if he searches your car, you have a tough decision.
There is no restriction on when a police officer can ask if it is ok to search your car. You have an absolute right to say no. There are certain exceptions the officer has been trained to know when he is not required to get a search warrant to search your car. If you say "no" the officer may not have an available exception and he/she may accept your denial. If the officer insists on searching your car against your permission, you will have to be complaint but make it very clear in a respectable way that you do not consent to the search. Say for example, "I will comply with your directions but I do not consent to your search." Do not resist in any way because it is a fight you cannot win. Many speeding tickets have turned into life-changing felonies because a person felt he/she was being treated unfairly and let the officer know through words or actions. Big mistake. You will get your chance to tell your side through an attorney in court.
If you receive a ticket, again, don't say a word.
Imagine a scenario where you receive a ticket for something you absolutly did not do. Totally unfair right? Being found responsible for a ticket your innocent of is even worse. Again, be polite and don't be memorable. You or your attorney will have a chance to contest the ticket in court or try to settle for something that will not go on your traffic record when you get to court. If you argue with the police officer on the road, you will ensure three things (1) the officer will remember you, (2) the officer will be steadfast in his/her memory of your infraction, and (3) the officer will not forget to appear in court (even if it's his/her vacation day).
Pull away from the scene of the stop carefully and obey all traffic laws.
There is nothing worse than pulling away from a traffic stop by squealing your tires, cutting off traffic, not using your turn signal to merge back into traffic, etc... One thing is for certain, the only thing worse than a traffic ticket is TWO traffic tickets.
If you received a ticket...fight it (or at least go to court).
Never...ever...pay a ticket. NEVER. There is nothing to lose in going to court and everything to gain. Simply deny responsibility and set the ticket for a hearing. When you schedule a hearing with the court, you can request either an informal or a formal hearing. The correct choice between the two is best made by an attorney familiar with that particular court. A few courts in Michigan punish drivers for requesting a formal hearing in a variety of ways (like not allowing any reduced offense or amending a speeding ticket to the actual speed instead of any lesser speed the officer may have written the ticket for). There are also disadvantages to an informal hearing because if you do not settle and have to request a formal hearing, the court will likely make you post a bond in the amount of the ticket infraction price. An attorney can tell you which is right for you.
If you hire an attorney, you may not have to go to court. Usually your lawyer can take care of it without you.
Generally, an admission with an explination is a joke.
Generally, if you admit responsibility with an explanation, you may as well just pay the ticket and save your breath. Magistrates do not have the legal authority to waive your points or change the infraction. The magistrate will probably politely listen to you and then simply enter the judgment of responsible against you.
When you set the ticket for a hearing (see Step 9) you simply deny responsibility and request a hearing (formal or informal). Don't worry if you really are responsible, denying responsibility in this context is a formality required to get the hearing if you're asked to enter a plea.
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