Almost feel like I have to chime in on these cop-bashing threads. Here's the deal, bottom line. You have to think of cops as customer service reps and sometimes you have to deal with them in that manner. Most people will interact with cops in a traffic stop situation.
High time I present DCBacon's guide to avoiding annoyance and arrest when met with Officer Friendly on our nation's roads. So here it is.
Before you read this you might want to know that you can take the advice presented here or ignore it. What I present is just the optimal set of conditions. We all do (well, most of us) risk analysis before engaging in risky behaviors. Even I exceed the speed limit at times. Why? At the time I figure I can handle the consequences. Go ahead, put on that Borla and go catless. Just understand that you have assumed a small bit of risk.
DCBacon's Guide to avoiding arrest and annoyance while travelling:
1. My friend Steve always says, "Never do two illegal things at once." You can drive drunk or stoned (not advocating nor do i approve, just saying it happens) but keep your illegal drugs, guns and other items at home. Corrollary: You can drive a car with tint or exhaust but the both combined? Cop magnet! I know you got pulled over for tint alone, but aren't you glad that you weren't carring the dismembered body of your former significant other in the back?
2. Understand that if you have a car that attracts a lot of attention, cops take notice. You get compliments on your rims and body kit? Cops notice shiny things, too. They can be like cats that way.
3. Please, please, please, no stickers or signs that may be inflammitory on the car. Having a pot leaf on the back of the car, or the FCKCOPS Virginia tag is your choice or preference. Ideally, you want to be driving a beige minivan that is undistinguishable from the crowd. I understand that you don't drive a Caravan. Just keep the political/religious affiliation symbols to a minimum. Most cops could care less. Just remember that these cops have opinions that they may not be able to completely leave at home on the job. My sister got pulled over and ticketed last month and I don't think the Bob Marley stickers helped her out. Just sayin'.
4. If you're going to get pulled over, do it in a safe place for the cop. The cop may direct you further to the side or to a better lighted spot.
5. If at night, dome light on, windows down, hands visible to the officer. Move when instructed to do so. If this seems a little like "papers, please" and you do not wish to subjugate yourself further, stop reading here. Put the cop at ease. No sudden movements. Do not get out of the car unless instructed. Out of the car? You're on your own.
6. You pretty much can expect that the officer is going to want license, registration and insurance information. Have it out? As a courtesy?
7. The officer should tell you why you have been stopped. Now is not the time to launch into an angry diatribe about how the police should be finding lost children or solving rapes and homicides. They know these kind of crimes are more important. Right now, they're dealing with you.
8. if you are given a chance to explain your infraction, remember that the officer is going to pay particular attention to the parts where you incriminate yourself. "I was in a hurry." "No more than 68, Officer."
9. if you know that the officer is dead wrong you have a few options. First. Are you in Hazzard County? If you're not, you may have a chance to reason with the cop. Just remember, you're not in court. There is no judge or jury at the side of the road. The cop doesn't want to hear any more? Shut up. Do you know for a fact that your aftermarket part is legal in that jurisdiction? Try to explain that fact. Not working? You will be able to waste a day in court.
10. Officer A**H**E pull you over? He has a supervisor. And he has bad days as well. If his immediate supervisor knows his subordinates, he will be able to determine what the case was on that stop. Want a badge number and name? Get it. Most cops are happy to oblige. Not so? Car number and license plate number plus jurisdiction usually equals the same results.
11. Is the officer that pulled you over an idiot? Is he or she not as well versed in municipal regulations as you are? Remember everything for court. Some police officers get into the profession for all the wrong reasons. Some are genuinely ignorant of the newest legislation. They're human and make mistakes. They're just loathe to admit that they're wrong. Court. Unless you're in a corrupt jurisdiction. In that case, spiritual entity of your choosing be with you.
12. Did you get a ticket? Was it unfair? Did it ruin an otherwise normal or better than normal day? You can fight it. Go to court. Did the officer show up? Do you have proof? Who's Mr. Ofc. Smarty-Pants now? Get a lawyer.
i probably forgot something. Have a rant or correction? PM me.
In the interest of full disclosure, I'm an officer in DC and all opinions expressed here are mine and mine alone. No traffic stop is going to be 100% pleasant. You can do a few things to minimize the pain. YMMV. I don't even like doing most traffic enforcement, I'd rather go after the real criminals.
Like dancing bananas.