Time and time again, I tell my clients to follow this common sense advice. Police officers are regular human beings doing their job like you and I. A police officer’s job is a lot more risky that most people’s jobs including mine. They risk their life and the well being of their family every time they hit the beat. It is their job to enforce the laws of the state. Whether you are about to receive a traffic ticket in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, or any other state, be respectful to the police officer, as he or she is only doing their job.
I represented a client in court earlier this week in Levittown, located in lower Bucks County, Pennsylvania. Before court, the client and I had a conversation about how you should be polite and respectful to police officers. Before court, the client assured me that he was completely respectful to the Pennsylvania State Trooper. When I finally got the chance to speak to the State Trooper, the Trooper told me that my client’s demeanor was the exact opposite. This Pennsylvania State Trooper did not want to give my client any break. Finally, after some skilled negotiation on my part, the Trooper agreed to give my client a reduction in the speed that he was driving.
Being polite and respectful to the police officer seriously affects your case in both Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Many people do not realize this until its too late. In Pennsylvania, the local police officer or State Trooper is actually the prosecutor when you go to court. He or she solely determines whether a plea bargain or downgrade to traffic violation will be given to the Defendant.
In New Jersey, the local police officer or State Trooper will write special notes on the back of the ticket regarding the suspect’s demeanor and respect to the police officer. If you are rude to the police officer, the officer may write “NO DEAL” on the back of your ticket. When you go to the NJ Municipal Court to fight your ticket, the NJ prosecutor will consider the police officer’s notice with much deference to the police officer and may not be willing to give you a break.
If there is a legal defect in the State’s case against you, your lawyer can deal with it. If you are in a position of negotiating your case or attempting to obtain a downgrade or plea bargain, the way in which your treat the police officer can make or break any chance you have…even if you obtain a lawyer.