Speeding in most states—including New York and New Jersey—is what’s known as a “strict liability offense.” This means that there is no legal excuse for speeding. A person pulled over for speeding is taking a big risk by trying to justify going over the limit.
This doesn’t stop people, however. And many officers who have been on the force for a few years have heard real whoppers of tales intended to get them out of a ticket. Quora recently polled officers about what they say is the best excuse they ever heard for why a person was speeding. A few speeders managed to get away without a ticket; many did not.
One cop recalled the time he pulled over an attorney heading west on the Ohio Turnpike outside Toledo. After the officer remarked on the driver’s speed (87 mph), the attorney insisted, “I know, but I have to be in Court in the morning, and it’s a long trip to New York City.”
The officer responded: “Especially this way.”
Turns out, the driver had been traveling 150 mph in the wrong direction and was closer to Chicago than NYC, inadvertently adding 300 miles to a 500-mile trip.
Unfortunately for the attorney, the excuse was not enough to get out of the speeding ticket. “I did write the ticket, but I gave him directions for turning around, paying the toll, and heading back to NYC,” wrote the officer.
A Florida patrolman wrote about an incident from about 10 years ago: “This lady was weaving in and out of traffic, cutting people off… I was in an unmarked car at the time and normally didn’t pull people over but when she caused someone to drive off the highway (I-95 in central Florida) I had to take action.”
While the officer waited for backup, he noticed the woman waving frantically out of her window. As he approached the car, the driver screamed at the top of her lungs that she needed to use the toilet—urgently!
The officer claimed he strongly empathized and let her go. “So, basically, I tell her, ummm sorry, ok, I hope you make it home or whatever. Don’t drive like you stole your car.”
Do Not Pass ‘Go!’
“I once caught a very young girl, probably 16 years old, driving 45 in a 30-mph zone,” wrote another cop. “I turned around on her and approached the car. She was so nervous she was shaking.”
The cop immediately recognized her as a waitress from a local restaurant he frequented. As she handed over her license and registration, however, the cop noticed a paper clip attached to the former.
“Now, many of us have had this before and it was most often a $50 or $100 bill used as a bribe to get out of the ticket so I asked her, ‘Are you sure you want to hand this driver’s license to me as is?’ She looked confused. I repeated my question and warned her that if there was money clipped to the DL she would be arrested for attempted bribery. Through very teary eyes she looked confused but assured me that, ‘Yes, this is my driver’s license.’
“My heart sank to my stomach because I liked this kid and did not want to arrest her.”
The officer was relieved when he returned to his patrol car to find a “Get out of Jail Free” card from Monopoly. “I cracked up and laughed out loud,” the cop wrote. “It took a few moments for me to compose myself.”
Thankfully for the waitress, the card worked and she was let off without so much as a warning ticket.
Another policeman wrote about pulling over a vehicle doing 70 in a 45-mph zone. The driver was panicking when the officer got to the window. When the officer asked what’s wrong, the driver responded that he was “dying.”
Much to the officer’s dismay, the man was indeed pale and sweating profusely. Before the officer could do any more, the driver collapsed on the steering wheel. “I opened his door got him out and onto the pavement and started CPR while getting dispatch to send a unit to my location.”
Turns out the man was suffering a heart attack. “He survived but only because he stopped for me,” the cop wrote. “The hospital was over 5 miles away and he would never have made it on his own.”
“I pulled this vehicle over while it was trying to imitate the USS Enterprise, at least in speed,” wrote another cop. He saw a well-dressed family in the car—mother, father and two kids. The father explained that he had been laid off from a well-paid manufacturing job and had maxed out unemployment.
The family’s only source of income was to sell beads at the flea market.
“I saw the family’s plight, (after all these years, I can still remember those kids’ faces – and it still makes me sad),” he wrote. “I could NOT write a ticket to this family and instead gave them a warning. The state did not need the money that badly.”
The officer went on to explain that, had he issued the family a ticket, it could have sent them into a financial “death spiral”; the father might not be able to pay the ticket. If that happened, the state would revoke his license. Still in need of income, the father likely would continue to drive anyway. Were he to get pulled over again, and he most likely would have wound up in jail with no way to support the family.
Ultimately, any excuse that admits to speeding can result in an officer issuing a speeding ticket. When pulled over for speeding, the best advice is always to be polite but admit to nothing. Then contact an experienced traffic ticket attorney right away.
If you or someone you love has been charged with speeding or any other traffic offense in New York, contact Rosenblum Law right away. Our experienced traffic ticket attorneys can fight to eliminate or reduce the fine, points and insurance impact that can result from a conviction. Email or call 888-883-5529 for a free consultation about your case.