Ask a Cop – May 2010

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Dearest Officer,
I am a lover of the fast life—mostly driving fast. I am new to the area and new to the system. I was recently interrupted while in a nice cruise session from Park City into the greater Salt Lake area when some nice young lad of a cop decided I was going a little too fast for his liking. I have heard rumors that if a cop is sitting with all of his lights off and then pulls you over the ticket will be dismissed. I heard that it is true in Oregon and California. I realize that people talk and this is most likely not the case, but screw it—what does it hurt to ask? Aside from slowing down, is there anything possible to do out here in the Salty state to reduce tickets to a lower fine or even less of an offence? I have no problem with paying fines to be honest—do the crime pay the fine. I just can’t take insurance hikes. Thanks a lot, and keep it really real out there. – Too Fast for Love.

Dear Speedy Gonzalez:
Sounds to me like you encountered one of our fine State Troopers (don’t confuse them with cops).  Troopers might be law enforcement, but they are not cops.  Unless you were traveling at such an egregious speed that you were reckless or criminal, you should have received a warning.  Most cops would’ve warned you so they could go back to dealing with criminals.

Sitting without his lights on isn’t grounds for dismissal or considered entrapment—in Utah or any state.  However, there are some agencies, like the Colorado State Patrol, who by their own policy don’t perform stationary speed traps (at least not since the last time I got stopped there).  That can change though with a different boss and the current requirements for promotion.

On the freeway, if you’re in a nice “cruise session,” and you come upon a pack of cars for no reason, you can rest assured there is some trooper with nutsack-inferiority complex at the front impeding the flow of traffic.  He’s just waiting for someone to pass him so he can puff his nuts back up with a ticket.  Or, if your cruise session detects break lights all of a sudden from the cars ahead of you with no explanation, ol’ no balls is stationary somewhere up there manning a speed trap.  If you’re at the front of that speeding pack, it’s already too late, you’re caught.  Cruise slower for a while and let someone else take the speed lead and resulting ticket.

Only reasonable suspicion is needed to stop you, which is an extremely easy thing to articulate.  The only way to get out of your speeding ticket is to show that his lidar hit the wrong car, his radar wasn’t properly tuned, he was stoned when he paced you with his certified, calibrated speedometer, or he’s retarded when it comes to speed estimation.  Sorry, no good news there.  However, most justice courts allow you to go to traffic school or some type of diversion as a way to avoid having your ticket reported to your insurance.  If you do get caught, I’d inquire about that option.