First of all, don’t panic!
Slow down, switch your turn signal on and pull over. Take a deep breath and calm down. The police officers are also nervous because they never know what to expect when they stop a car.
Roll down your window
Roll down your window, set the car in “park”, and then shut your engine off (if you forget to roll down your window first, and have to start the car again, the officer could think that you are going to run). Put your keys on the dashboard. Make all your movements slowly.Keep your hands on the top of the steering wheel. Do not leave your car unless you are requested to do so. Do not speak first. If you are stopped at night, turn on your interior lights immediately. Remember the simple rule: the more you do to ensure the officer’s safety the more you ensure your own.
When the officer comes to your window
When the officer comes to your window, they will usually ask for your licence, ownership and insurance. Slowly reach towards your wallet or glove compartment then put your hands back on the wheel. If it’s dark, the officer might follow your hands with a flashlight.
Be polite and cooperative all the time
Be polite and cooperative all the time. If you are rude to the officer, it might make you feel better but it definitely will cost you more. If you are polite and cooperative, with luck, you might just get a warning or a less costly offense than you actually committed. Use respectful language, like “Yes, sir ” and “No, sir.”
Comply with all orders and any requests given to you by the officer
If you don’t, you might be in a bigger trouble. Do not talk unless responding to a question from the officer. Do not start any unnecessary conversation with the officer.
Remember, you have a right to remain silent
Remember, you have a right to remain silent and not incriminate yourself. Do not make excuses, never create stories, and try to avoid admissions of guilt because any admissions you make now, can be used against you later. Sometimes is better to say “I see” or say nothing at all. Silence is not an admission of guilt. Always keep in mind that honesty is the best policy.
Do not argue with the officer
Do not argue with the officer if you disagree, leave those issues for the court, but record the actual circumstances in your mind, and after the officer leaves, write it down. If possible, try to note the officer’s name and badge number. Writing down the patrol car plates is also a good idea.
Gather evidence for your defense if it’s appropriate
If it’s appropriate, gather evidence for your defense after the police officer has left the scene. Right down all relevant details (for instance, exact location, time of day, traffic, road or weather conditions). Take pictures with cell phone camera (for instance, heavy rain or snow, fog, obscured road sign or a huge pothole that you had to swerve to miss).
READ THE TRAFFIC TICKET CAREFULLY AFTER YOU GET HOME
Read both sides of the ticket after you get home. There is useful information there that might help you. Make sure you understand all of it.
Get informed. Get as much information as you can. The precise traffic ticket will dictate the precise information you need to get. Find out exactly what offense you are charged with. Find out what the cost of conviction will be, including the fine, jail or community service, and increased insurance rates.
Four (4) Digit ICON numbers on your Traffic Ticket or Notice:
Often, motorists receive Yellow Offence Notices or Notice of Fine and Due Date or a Red Light Camera Offence Notice and are not sure who to talk to or where they should go to Request a Trial Date to contest their tickets. Often there is a sequence of numbers on the ticket or notice which can aid a motorist in locating the office responsible for their tickets. On a Yellow Offence Notice – look at the top left hand corner and you will see a four (4) digit ICON number. On a Notice of Fine & Due Date Notice or a Red Light Camera Offence Notice – look at the first four (4) digits of the Offence Number – this is the four (4) digit ICON number. After you have identified those four (4) digits, review this list of ICON numbers (http://www.toronto.ca/pay-toronto-tickets/poatickets/poa_offices.htm). You will find the four (4) digit ICON number, the corresponding Provincial Offence Office and corresponding phone numbers.
By Carlos Perdomo