In traveling to Vermont traffic courts across the State of Vermont, I have gotten to meet a lot of very good hearted, professional police officers. I have also gotten to meet a few, how shall we say it…sour ones. In most of these meetings I, as a Vermont traffic ticket attorney, have gotten to sit down with the officer and discuss whether we can come to a negotiated settlement prior to litigating the traffic ticket before a Vermont assistant judge. I have found that a police officer is much more inclined to offer a favorable deal if a motorist did not perform one of the following maneuvers when the officer made first contact with them.
1) Show the officer a business card of law enforcement you know: This “networking” to get out of a ticket has never worked as far as I know. In fact, the officers that I talk to have told me that it is an insult to their professionalism when someone thinks that just because their cousin is a State Trooper in another state, that this gives them a free pass to speed or break other traffic laws in Vermont.
2) Argue the merits of the stop on the roadside: If an officer has pulled you over, they have done so because they believe they have the evidence necessary to charge you with a traffic violation. Putting your case on trial to the officer right after he has pulled you over will not win you points with the officer and could lead to him giving you no break on the fine and points, when they write up the ticket.
3) Say you have an emergency when you really don’t: Officers are understanding of emergencies. They will even at times escort you to the hospital. However, if you say that you need to get somewhere fast because its an emergency and the cop calls you out on it by offering an escort to the alleged place of emergency and finds out you were lying, this could be a big problem when you receive your traffic infraction.
Vermont police officers will customarily write notes on their copy of the ticket they issued you if a motorist gives them reason to remember you at a traffic ticket hearing. These notes will jog the officer’s memory as to the encounter they had which will greatly influence their decision on whether or not they are willing to cut you a deal. Don’t give the officer reason to remember you, the less they remember about the stop, the better chance you have at prevailing at or before trial.