We all hate getting traffic tickets but every once in a while we get lucky and get off with a warning. The folks in these stories share the times they've expertly talked themselves out of some hefty fines!
"I was a physicist at an engineering school and the older faculty liked to tell the story of a long-gone graduate student who tried to get cute with a police officer. He was speeding (going some 20 over the limit on I-95) and gets pulled over, and the cop asks him why he was speeding, etc. Being an egghead physicist, he explains that the sudden cold snap overnight caused his tire pressure to fall and he was speeding because the faster rotation of the wheels increases the heat and pressure within the tire and it was safer to be driving slightly faster on pressurized tires than at the speed limit on underinflated tires.
The cop, amused, asked if what he said about tire pressures and speeding was true, and the young grad student replies 'Yes, absolutely, I'm a physicist at MIT.'
The cop chuckles for a second. He goes back to his vehicle and returns with two tickets: one for speeding and one for knowingly driving with underinflated tires ('driving an impaired vehicle' or something like that).
Needless to say, this poor fellow became a very good example of times when intelligence is not a substitute for wisdom, and why it's poor form to flaunt your education to get out of being a moron in traffic or otherwise."
"One time in college my friend and I were driving back to our dorm from a party. It was around 3 am. My friend was the one driving and we got pulled over for doing 70 in a 50. No bueno.
The cop came to the window and hit us with the stereotypical 'Do you know why I pulled you over?' shtick.
My friend, an absolute freak and mad lad, said this with a missing a beat: 'I assume it is because you found what was in my trunk?'
The cop's eyes widened like saucers.
'What did you say?' he asked, visibly confused by this guy's response.
I was even shocked! I didn't know I was driving with a smuggler! What the heck, man.
The cop blinked and replied with, 'Sir, you know you've just given me reasonable cause? May you please open your trunk?'
My friend complies. From the backseat, I can see the cop waving his flashlight around the trunk for a few minutes as he does his inspection. He finishes, walks back to the window and says, 'You're free to go, get home safe.'
NO TICKET. NO NOTHING.
The cop just dips and drives off!
After the cop pulled away I asked this guy 'Dude, what do you have in your trunk?'
He calmly replies, 'Oh, I work at a grocery store, and earlier today we had an entire shipment of bananas that we were going to throw out. So after my shift, I pulled my car up to the back entrance and filled up my trunk with bananas. They are all still back there.'
Weird, but sure enough after we got to my dorm I decided to check myself. He wasn't not joking, his entire trunk was full of bananas. I'm not exactly sure why he wanted so many bananas, but I was so wasted that I just accepted this as a normal thing and went inside. Whatever reason he had them for it got him out of a pretty hefty ticket somehow! So, I guess lifehack, distract the officer with large amounts of produce in your car?"
"I was riding with a friend of mine one night on the maiden voyage of the newly installed V8 turbo in his Pontiac Fiero. The thing had some serious pickup so it wasn't a surprise what happened next. We see the red and blue lights almost instantly on the highway. We pull over. The cop walks over to us and says 'I stopped you because I clocked you doing 76 in a 55.'
My buddy, a bit of a smart alec, says 'You should get that radar thing checked, it’s not accurate.'
The officer says 'We calibrate our radars twice per shift. You don't know what you're talking about, boy.'
My buddy says 'No, you don’t understand. If that thing said we were doing 76 then it’s not working right. Because I can tell you we were certainly doing just over a hundred.'
The cop blinks and then falls over laughing. Some serious belly rolls. The officer says he’s been a cop for 17 years and not once in his career has anyone ever argued that they were going faster than what he clocked them at. Once the officer caught his breath from laughing, he wiped a tear from his eye, stiffened up again, and let us off with a warning.
My jaw dropped. I couldn't believe what my buddy had done.
I on the other hand have had my share of luck but I'm not nearly as smooth as my friend. I got nabbed for blowing a stop sign, that was in the middle of nowhere where you could see both directions for miles.
The cop was visibly upset and says 'You’re driving an 18 wheeler and just ran that stop sign. Son, what have you got to say for yourself?'
I'm not the smoothest guy out there but I figured there was no use. in playing dumb.
'All I can say is that it was pretty stupid to run a stop sign in front of you,' I say.
The dude wrote me a warning for not lying and saying I didn’t run it. Good enough for me."
"Working as an officer in a destination location, I get a lot of 'Oh I’m not from here' responses from folks. I tend to take that as an excuse if I can confirm they are not; there's no sense in making somebody come back for court (if they even would) from hours away. Unless it’s just heinous speed or reckless driving.
The funniest response though? Stopped someone for 72 in a 55. Out of state tags, Near the interstate that runs into town. Middle-aged woman, super sweet looking (like lunch-lady in middle school that calls you honey kinda sweet looking) I asked her if she had noticed the speed limit changed, and she said 'Oh yes.'
Surprised me because that’s usually the option to say 'Oh no I didn’t' on account that I never noticed it myself when I first moved here. Anyways, I asked her what the reason for her speed was in that case.
She said, 'My friend told me one time that the cops here were some of the best looking on this side of the Mississippi.'
Now that caught me off guard! She got a pretty solid chuckle out of me too. Before I could even speak again she said 'And she was right shug, she was right. I hope the rest are as cute as you,' with a wink.
Boy, did that hit the spot. There was no way I was gonna give this sweet ole lady a ticket!
I told her to slow down so one of the ugly ones don’t give her a ticket and to enjoy her time here. She cleared the stop and couldn’t help but notice the enormous smile on my face. Absolutely made my week, and gave me that lunch lady calling me honey feeling. 10/10 would stop again. Now those are the kind of sweet people I wish I had to deal with that make the job easier."
"So I'm not a cop, but I have a couple of personal stories from when I was young & stupid.
Once I got pulled over for speeding at 20-years-old in the college town I grew up in. The officer who came to the window looked fairly young, so I thought I'd make a joke. He asked if I knew why he pulled me over and my response was to wave my hand and say, 'These are not the droids you are looking for. Move along.'
To my absolute surprise, he stopped for a second, looked at me, and said, 'These are not the droids I'm looking for. Move along at a slower speed.'
Then went back to his car & drove away.
When I was probably 24, I was driving home at 1 am after getting off of work. I had a migraine hit me halfway home and could only see out of one eye. It was excruciating. I was trying my best to make it home before I lost vision in my other eye. Anxious, I sped down a back road through a smallish town.
I got pulled over and the officer came up to the car right as my stomach decided to reject everything I'd eaten. Oh no.
In a panicked tone, I immediately said, 'Please step back, I am seriously going to puke.'
Then threw the door open and vomited for a good five minutes. He asked what was going on and if I had been drinking. I explained my chronic migraines and how one hit me while coming home from work. He kindly followed me home, two towns over, to make sure I made it safely. Nice guy.
Another was more recent. I quite suddenly developed narcolepsy out of the blue because of a genetic disorder that had basically overtaken my ability to function as a normal human being. I wasn't aware yet that it was narcolepsy, just that I would have a sudden, overwhelming need to sleep that I couldn't fight.
I stopped at a red light after taking my kiddo to some friend's house. Apparently, the sandman hopped in my car, said 'I'm here to mess you up, bucko' and smacked me over the head with a brick. The next thing I knew, I heard honking and saw two SUVs almost collide with me.
I pulled over immediately after getting through the intersection and an officer who happened to be there pulled up behind me. When he got to my window ecstatic and yelling at me for my recklessness. He stopped mid-sentence because I was absolutely dazed and hysterical. I explained what happened and asked if he could follow me two blocks to my house for safety. He complied but still gave me a ticket. A few months later, I went in front of a judge for it, new diagnosis paperwork in hand explained the situation and that I was no longer driving because it wasn't safe. The judge let me off with a promise to never be behind the wheel of a car again. That was three yrs ago and I haven't driven since."
"I was in traffic court once, and the man ahead of me had a charge for running a stop sign while going 80 miles per hour. He approached the bench and the judge asked him if he wanted to say anything before he came up with a judgment.
The guy, stone-cold, said this: 'Your honor, I was having car problems and my car wouldn't start. I was dead on the street when this stranger happened by and offered to give me a push. I accepted. But he was pushing me too fast. I signaled for him to slow down by waving my arm out the window. He misinterpreted my signal I guess because he started pushing me faster and faster. I was waving my arm furiously and desperately to slow down but he kept increasing the speed until I ran through this stop sign.'
The judge was cracking up laughing at the end of this man's pleading.
'Do you expect me to believe that you went through a stop sign without even slowing down any at 80 miles per hour because this person was pushing you too fast?'
'Yes, your honor.'
The entire courtroom, myself included couldn't help but laugh. The room was all smiling.
The judge let him off with no penalty for making his day with a creatively magnificent story and lightening up the tension in the courtroom. He slammed the gavel and the man was on his way."
"I'm an officer and one time I stopped a lady for speeding. I HATE writing tickets, so if I stop you, you really had to be doing something crazy.
Having said that, this lady flew past me going 85 mph in a 30 mph zone.
I eventually caught up with her and pulled her over. I hadn’t even made it completely to her window yet, and she was yelling 'I’m going into labor! My water is about to break!'
This was at night and I couldn’t tell 100% if she was even pregnant yet (it all happened so fast). So my split-second thought was 'You’re going into labor and you’re DRIVING yourself to the hospital??'
But within a second, I heard what sounded like someone pouring liquid out of a bucket. I shined my flashlight down toward the floorboard, and she wasn’t lying. Her water had just broken. I literally BEGGED her to allow me to call her an ambulance and I’d stay by her side until they arrived.
She flat refused. Because I was afraid she would speed off, get into a wreck and hurt herself and her baby. Because she was in full panic mode, naturally, I insisted on escorting her to the hospital. I told her to stay on my bumper and seatbelt herself in. I got in front of her, lights and siren blaring, and we made it to the nearest hospital. When we’d come to a traffic light/intersection I’d stop traffic so that we could both safely cross the intersection, and we made it to the hospital in record time.
The mother and baby were just fine! I went and visited her and her baby boy the next day, after my shift. I never told her, to this day, that I got written up by my supervisor that night for leaving my jurisdiction. But it was totally worth it, and I’d do it again in a second. I’m actually thankful I pulled her over because at the speed she was traveling, there’s no doubt in my mind that she would have eventually wrecked. So yeah, I guess that is the one speeding ticket that rightfully got away!"
"Back when my stepmom was a detective-sergeant she started this community outreach program that became very popular and still is to this day. She received a lot of coverage on the news and in the papers. Despite all that she was still devoted to serving and protecting. So, she's out on patrol and they pull a woman over for speeding in a school zone. She was going 30 mph over the limit. For the sake of this comment, I'll call my stepmom 'Sergeant Stepmom.' She tells the woman why she was pulled, that she would be receiving a ticket and would probably have to appear in court.
The woman starts in with 'You don't want to ticket me, I'm good friends with Sergeant Stepmom, the officer in the newspaper. If you ticket me Sergeant Stepmom will jam you up. I'm a friend of the department, a good friend of Sergeant Stepmom. Tell you what, let me go and I won't tell her this happened.'
My stepmom laughs and asks the woman, 'You know Sergeant Stepmom, too?'
She asks the woman to hang tight and goes back to the squad car where she has a copy of yesterday's newspaper in which her photo is on the front page. Plain as day. She takes the newspaper back to the car and shows the woman.
'Is this the woman you know?'
The woman says yes. Stepmom tells her to take a good look at her face. The woman looked at her, went red, and started stammering. Stepmom had no idea who the woman was and had never met her before. She wrote her a ticket and sent her on her way.
Because the town she worked for was so small it wasn't unusual to see the same people often. For a long time after that happened if she saw the woman, she'd say hello to her all excitedly. The woman was always so disgruntled. Stepmom said the woman must have moved away because the last time she saw her was 2011."
"I have one story that really is I guess not a silly excuse but here it goes.
I was once driving down the I-95 corridor from Pennsylvania to the Outer Banks North Carolina. I get into Virginia and stop at a gas station. As many will tell you driving over the speed limit at all in Virginia is a huge mistake as the police in some of the fall drive-by towns are hawking for tickets and incredibly some speeding tickets are misdemeanors. So I finish getting gas, and as I pull out of the gas station driveway my sister says that she really needs to pee. I'm very frustrated as we just got out of the gas station but I obviously will stop again for her. Thankfully there was a supermarket just down the road that we could see.
I honestly didn't think I was going fast, never saw my speedometer exceed 45 mph. I pull into the parking lot for the supermarket. As I pull in a police car I never saw behind me flashes his lights and pulls next to me. I park and he comes to my window and asks if I know what I was doing. No idea at all, just said my sister has to pee can she go inside? He says sure. She goes inside he goes to his car, and comes back with a ticket. I get cited for going over 15 mph over the speed limit which, as I said, is a misdemeanor with a court appearance in this random town in Virginia in a month.
So after my vacation in the Outer Banks with my family I go home. I research Virginia's laws on misdemeanor speeding. I'm was about to enter law school so I thought maybe I could figure something out. The standard for misdemeanor speeding is 'knowingly' speeding. So I go to a mechanic and ask for a test of my cars speedometer that it was accurately reading the speed of my vehicle. The mechanic said they can run the test and have done it in speeding situations specifically in Virginia, but it was unlikely because it was an 09 Civic which has an automated system, I still paid for it for $25. Comes back amazingly my speedometer according to their testing was literally 9 mph and absurd amount of speed. (The only reason I could think this would happen is I got new tires which must have been larger, and the speed reader in the vehicle was reading rpm and calculating my speed base off the standard size? No idea really.)
I drive down to my court date in Virginia in June a nice five to six hour drive. Come in with my speedometer test t with a self written affidavit that I had notarized from myself of it's authenticity. I wait in court. The officer is in court with the States attorney. I presented my my evidence and that I did not knowingly exceed the speed limit, that my speedometer on my vehicle was off by 9 mph which would put me below the threshold for misdemeanor and instead was a simple traffic ticket rather that "reckless speeding."
And that's how I 'won' my first case. I got a $50 fine and an online drivers course instead. Saved me about $150 after time and money spent, which at the time was worth it. Still had to report my misdemeanor speeding ticket that got dropped with proof for every single State I've been barred in."
"One time I got let go without even a warning after doing 130 mph in a 50.
Backstory: I once got off work at about 1 am from the casino I work at. I drive a fairly fast car and my coworker and I had been talking about wanting to do a run with his similarly, but not quite as fast, car.
Well, that night we both happened to get off at about the same time and had an unspoken agreement that that night was the night and we both lived in the same city about 45 minutes away.
We left work and drove through traffic doing little pulls here and there but nothing significant due to the traffic around and me not being willing to drive recklessly around other road goers.
Eventually, we hit the offshoot from the main highway towards our city. The offshoot was two lanes wide and we came around the bend next to each other. No cars in front of us and a couple of set of headlights behind us but we were about to leave them in the dust. As soon as the road straightens out we downshifted and I knew that it was time to give this man the beans.
I hit the gas and take off, wringing the car out to redline with each gear. As I shifted out of 3rd and into 4th (about 95mph) I checked my rearview to see how close my buddy was hanging with me and saw his headlights quite a bit back there still.
I thought, 'Man, maybe he didn't have the same idea.'
At this point im having a great time so I keep going. I blast through 4th (tops out at about 120) and I slap it into 5th gear and stay on the gas for a couple of seconds before deciding that that was enough (so about 130 or so) and then stick it in 6th and back it down.
I check the rearview mirror and he is still back there. I look back on the road and it hit me that I saw something back there. I look back and squint and see the red and blues bringing up the rear. Apparently, he was behind us and was one of the headlights a few pairs back and was caught up trying to get around them.
At this point, I have a decision to make.. Pullover... or get back into it. Unfortunately, it's a straight road from where I am to my city with no place to get off so I slow down and pull right over.
Now the key here is that my car is set up with radar and laser detectors and they never went off, so I know with 90% certainty that this guy doesn't know my exact speed. Needless to say, it's pretty obvious I was scooting. Sure enough, a few minutes later, he pulls right up behind me and a moment later walks up and asks:
'You were going pretty fast back there, huh? What's the hurry for?'
I respond 'Ah, I don't know, man. I just got off work so I'm pretty excited to get home I guess.'
'Ah, I see. You coming from the casino?'
At this point I stop, how does this guy know that? I turn and look up at him. He's a tribal officer. The local sheriff's department has an agreement with the Tribal Police to enforce laws off of the reservation between nearby cities. Fortunately, I work with these guys at the Casino all the time. Needless to say, we have a bit of a chat and he grabs my license and checks my registration then goes back to the car. I'm thinking there is no WAY he's gonna let this slide. I was preparing for a hefty ticket. Less than two minutes later he comes back and hands me my things and says
'Alright, everything checks out. Be safe and don't do it again okay?' And hands my license and a sheet of paper back to me without explaining the paper.
I say 'For sure man, thank you. And uh... What's this?' I say, gesturing at the paper thinking it was a ticket.
'Sir,' he says, 'That's your registration...'
'Oh...' I say, 'OH YEAH! Yeah, of course, it is. Alright, thank you! I'll keep an eye on my speed!'
At this point, the adrenaline is still pumping through my veins and I'm still a little bit in shock at how I finessed out of this ticket.
'Yeah, it's like a 55 through here or something, alright? So take it easy,' the officer says.
I thank the officer, nod, and he walks back to his cruiser.
And after that I put everything away and started to get going, trying my very hardest to be gentle so as not to blast my definitely illegal exhaust.
Knowing some local law enforcement definitely has its perks though. Also helpful that I'm white. I'm all too aware of that.
Don't drive stupid around other people. Take it to an empty road out of town and away from pedestrians if you absolutely have to drive hard on the street."