Being Nice and Respectful Can Go a Long Way
Video Transcribed: What to do when you’re pulled over for speeding in Oklahoma. I’m James Worth, a lawyer in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and this video discusses some practical information from a lawyer’s perspective on how to handle that.
Obviously, there are some common sense things. You want to pull over at a safe location. You want to make sure you don’t make any quick movements that could cause an officer to believe that you could be dangerous. You want to get your license information out, or your driver’s license out. You want to get your insurance information out. But this is more from the perspective of an attorney, should we have to fight a case for you later.
So the first thing is to be kind and courteous. You can never win an argument with a law enforcement officer on the side of the road. The only way you’re going to win that argument is if you have someone presiding over it, which is going to be a judge later in a courtroom. But generally, if you’re pulled over, your first goal is to try to avoid court. So if that is your goal, do not argue with the officer. Be kind, be courteous.
Number two, recognize when the officer is giving you a break. In Oklahoma, if it’s speeding anywhere from one to 10 over the speed limit, that is not any points on your driver’s license. DPS does not take that down, and therefore, it does not get reported to insurance companies. Therefore, it does not increase the cost of your insurance.
So if you were written a ticket for anywhere from zero to 10, then you recognize that if you pay that fine, that doesn’t cause increased cost. So sometimes, officers will try to give you a break. They’ll say, “Well, I clocked you at 16, but I’m going to go ahead and write this ticket for you for 10.” However, some people’s response to that is, “Oh, I wasn’t going 16, I was going 14.” Want to argue over that. Or, “Why are they giving me a break? This is weird.’ No, if they change it from 16 to 10, or something along those lines, odds are, the officer is trying to give you a break so that you don’t have points on your license. So you need to recognize that as a break. Don’t argue with the officer about that.
Number three, you don’t want to do anything to make the traffic stop more memorable. There are two reasons for this, and this goes along the lines of stay calm, don’t argue. Anything the opposite of what you do makes it more memorable for the officer, and also could potentially incentivize the officer to show up for court. If ultimately you want to fight a ticket and you set it, you go to court and you set it for trial, that officer’s going to be the only witness likely that can prove the guilt of that speeding.
So anything that makes the stop more memorable is going to be harmful to your case at trial. And anything that incentivizes the officer to show up to court is not going to be helpful to your case. So if you’re rude and obnoxious, and difficult, the officer’s going to remember that, and when that comes up and gets subpoenaed to go to court on it, they’re not going to say, “You know what? It’s just a traffic ticket. I’ve got other things to do.’ More important, they’re going to say, “Oh, I remember that person. I’m going to make sure I’m at court for that person.” So number three, don’t make the stop more memorable than it needs to be.
Lastly, don’t ponder over whether to sign the ticket. When an officer is requesting that you sign the ticket, that is not an admission of guilt by signing that. You are promising to appear in court or to pay that fine if that is an option for you. I’ve had some people talk to me where they didn’t understand that, or they thought that the officer was requiring them to admit guilt by signing that, and they wanted to argue about that. That is not a good place to be.
Ultimately, if you refuse to sign that ticket, you can be arrested, so that they can ensure your appearance in court. So by signing that, you’re just promising to appear, so promptly sign it. Just do it. Don’t worry about fighting over it on the scene. Get the traffic stop done safely. Be courteous, and then call an attorney to see what can be done about fighting that ticket when you can go to a courtroom, where you’ve got a judge that can rule against the officer. And where you have an officer that may not remember what happened to that traffic stop that was so boring months before. And you may have an officer that doesn’t even show up to court because he’s got better things to do and he is not worried about this citation.
If you’re dealing with a traffic citation in a municipal court or a county court in the state of Oklahoma, you’re going to want to talk to an attorney about that, unless it’s just the zero to 10, in which case you may just want to pay the fine. But if it’s something other than that, talk to a Tulsa speeding ticket attorney. If you want to speak with somebody at my office, you go online to makelaweasy.com.