Every day in my NY speeding ticket defense practice someone tells me that they followed, or were about to follow the advice the police officer who gave them the ticket told them on the stop. This is about the worse thing you can do.
The vast majority of the time the officer’s advice is wrong. It’s not that the police are lying to you it’s just that they do not know what they are saying. Their advice is about as good as Uncle Tim’s who told you what to do because he once got a ticket in Seattle. How to handle a speeding ticket in New York State varies greatly from county to county and it is a totally different ball game all together if the ticket was written in New York City.
The simple fact of the matter is that police officers are experts at traffic safety and traffic enforcement, not speeding and traffic ticket defense procedure. Further, what will happen to YOU if you are convicted of what you are charged with, or something else, will turn on not just what you are convicted of but the totality of your driving history. Often times convictions trigger license suspensions, insurance increases, and / or additional fines, and no one can consult you on that unless they conduct an in-depth interview with you regarding the totality of your driving and conviction history.
While many police officers are trying to give you accurate advice, many also have their own agenda. For instance, a police officer may tell you to plead “Not Guilty” and go to court on a an equipment violation whereby you could have it dismissed by fixing the violation and mailing in proof of remediation, for the purpose of creating a court appearance and consequently overtime for himself. Other times a police officer simply does not know a nuance or exception to a generally well known rule. For example, while operating without a seat belt is zero DMV points, most lawyers do not even know that notwithstanding it is still a major insurance merit system violation and will trigger an insurance surcharge and if you are a junior or probationary driver will trigger a license suspension as well. If a lawyer does not know this, how can you expect a street cop to know this?
Another reason why you do not want to ask the police officer for legal advice is because you do not want to engage the cop in any dialogue whatsoever. The reasons for this, and a more expansive reason why you should never legal advice from a cop, can be found on this Linkedin Post.
The only safe place for legal advice after receiving a speeding ticket is to consult with a NY attorney that specializes in speeding and moving violation defense. If you received your ticket outside of New York State, then you need to consult with an attorney that practices in that state.