There are few feelings worse than the sinking feeling in your stomach when you see flashing blue and red lights in your rearview mirror.
When getting pulled over, the last thing you want to do is get yourself into even more trouble by putting your foot in your mouth or saying anything offensive to an officer. Being difficult, aggressive, or condescending will only land you in deeper trouble with an officer and can even result in he or she tacking on extra charges to your ticket. When interacting with an officer, avoid all of the following behaviors and phrases if you want to stay on an officer’s good side.
“I wasn’t doing anything wrong”: It’s generally a good idea not to argue or don an aggressive tone with a police officer, because an officer’s penal decisions can often be based on how cooperative or accommodating a citizen is. To insist that you haven’t done anything wrong implies that the officer doesn’t know what he’s doing, and that condescending implication can sometimes land you in even more trouble.
“Baby/ Sweetheart/ Honey”: Sweet-talking an officer with these sort of affectionate nicknames undermines their authority and gives the appearance that you lack respect. Professionalism is key when interacting with an officer, so stick with “sir,” “ma’am,” or just plain-old “officer” when interacting with a cop.
“I was just trying to keep up with traffic”: This and similar statements invoke the classic “If everyone jumped off a bridge, would you, too?” idiom, and coming up with excuses only betrays your nerves. A police officer does not view laws as flexible, so blaming your violations on the actions of others won’t change his mind about the illegality of your actions.
“My taxes pay your salary”: This indignant claim won’t carry much weight with an officer. Chances are, he or she won’t perceive you paying your taxes as a personal favor, considering the fact you as a citizen are legally mandated to do so. These sorts of statements also run the risk of sounding like bribery or a leveraging of the situation to get yourself out of trouble, which will only serve to irk and offend the officer.
“I’m in kind of a hurry here”: Insinuating that your time is more important than a police officer’s will only come across as offensive and condescending. Officers do not base their charges on situational context like if the violator in question is running late for something, and showing any sort of impatience or annoyance will put you on an officer’s bad side.
Any jokes about having a body in the trunk, a gun in the glove box, etc: These comments make it seem like you aren’t taking the situation seriously and belittle serious offenses. Officers are on guard at all times for any major trouble or potential violence in a criminal setting and take everything very literally, so they don’t take kindly to you belittling or making light of a serious situation.
Tip: Always keep be honest. Police officers are trained to detect giveaways that someone is lying, like blinking, touching one’s face, and avoiding eye contact. Testing an officer’s ability to tell if you’re lying is a dangerous game, and the repercussions for lying to an officer, which can include inordinate fees and even jail time, just aren’t worth the risk. Your best bet for getting out as hassle-free as possible is to comply with the officer’s demands and maintain a patient, polite tone at all times.
The experienced attorneys at Corso Law Group serve clients throughout Arizona, including the cities of Ahwatukee, Avondale, Buckeye, Chandler, El Mirage, Gilbert, Glendale, Goodyear, Mesa, Peoria, Phoenix, Scottsdale, Sun City, Surprise, Tempe, Tolleson and Youngtown.
To schedule a free consultation, please visit www.corsolawgroup.com or call (480) 471-4616. Corso Law Group, PLLC is located at 14500 N. Northsight Blvd., Suite 116 in Scottsdale, Arizona, 85260.