The Myth: The police officer who stopped me told me this ticket has no points.
The Reality: Maybe it does, maybe it doesn’t. But don’t assume what the officer told you is correct. Review your options with an attorney.
The siren is in your rearview mirror. Is he pulling me over? Yes, he is. That sense of dread hits you. You might summon a few choice words as you pull over and wait for the inevitable.
But then, maybe the inevitable isn’t so bad. The officer seems pretty nice. Best of all, he’s doing you a favor.
“Don’t worry,” the officer says. “This ticket doesn’t have any points. Just mail it in and pay. It’s no big deal.”
What a relief, right?
During a car stop, police officers have a very different goal in mind than you do. By and large, they fear confrontation. Officers who write many tickets get accustomed to unpleasant reactions from drivers. Once in a while, those reactions may escalate into fits of rage, complaints, or noncompliance.
The officer wants to defuse the situation and have the car stop be as drama-free as possible. One way to do this is to minimize the negatives of the situation. And how does one calm down a motorist after giving him a five-point cell phone ticket? Just tell them what they want to hear, of course.
My clients have told me all kinds of stories about deceitful or incorrect police interactions. Clients have shown me electronic device tickets that they swore are no points, because the officer told them so. They are stunned when I inform them that the ticket carries five points and is quite serious.
Now, not every officer who gives incorrect information is lying. Some may just be mistaken. But no matter what, you should never let a non-attorney give you legal advice. The police officer is not a lawyer, and does not want or know what is best for you.
If you have a new traffic ticket, consult an attorney first thing. If the ticket has points, you should fight the ticket in court, and it may be in your interest to hire a lawyer to defend you.