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How to Respond When Asked Why You’re Speeding

A police officer speaks to person who got pulled over

Daily life is hectic and chaotic. Whether you’re late for an appointment, trying to make a good first impression in a meeting, attempting to get to a store just before it closes, or losing yourself in the rhythm of the road, speeding can happen to anyone. The speedometer can creep up on any driver in an instant if that driver isn’t hyper-vigilant. However, seeing those dreaded flashing lights in your rearview mirror is a harrowing experience for anyone. It may only take moments before the officer asks why you were speeding.

However, no matter how stressful it is being pulled over, it’s critical to answer that question carefully and thoughtfully, aware of the context, purpose, and ramifications of your answer. What you say at that moment can have a profound impact on the overall outcome of that traffic stop, if not the overall outcome of your case.

AutoTrafficTickets.com stands ready as your unwavering advocate and one-stop solution for all your traffic ticket needs. Our experienced team has dedicated an entire practice to combating traffic tickets, including speeding tickets, and safeguarding the rights and freedoms of our clients. Proudly serving the people of New York, we’re prepared to leverage our comprehensive knowledge of vehicle and traffic laws and fight aggressively for the best possible outcome. We aim to protect our clients from fines, points on their license, and the potential to lose their driving privileges. Contact us, call us at 855-FIX-TIXX (855-349-8499), or text us at 516-414-4300 to set up a free and confidential consultation today!

Evaluating the Question in Context: But Why Do They Ask To Begin With?

Unfortunately, when an officer asks you why you’re speeding, their reasoning could be misleading. This is because, in fact, it doesn’t truly matter why you were speeding. New York law operates under strict liability where speeding violations are concerned. This means that even regardless of why you were speeding if you’re caught exceeding the posted speed limit, you’re liable for the consequences. In truth, the reason – or lack thereof – doesn’t actually matter. 

So, why, then, is this such a common question in traffic stops? Maybe the officer is being kind and wants to understand your story. After all, it’s completely up to the police officer’s discretion to let you off the hook if you have what they deem is a valid reason for speeding. Say, a medical emergency for example. In such a situation they can always choose to let you go with a warning. However, assuming these intentions on the part of the officer, especially without an incredibly compelling reason, is a big gamble, especially with fines, points on your license, and the potential for license suspension or revocation on the line.

More often than not, the officer is essentially asking you to do their job for them, baiting a driver unaware of their rights to admit to the fact that they were speeding upfront. Ordinarily, it’s the officer’s job to prove that speeding occurred and back that up with evidence. Answering this question in the affirmative hands probable cause, proof, an admission of guilt, and a compelling case for a speeding ticket to the officer. This response can, and almost always will, be used against you if you decide to challenge your speeding ticket later on. 

Beyond questioning your motives, the officer may pose this question for strategic purposes. This includes assessing your demeanor and reaction, providing valuable insights into the state of your mind, whether or not you were driving under the influence, and the potential risk factors of the interaction for the officer. A combative response may indicate belligerence, impairment, or the potential for violence. Sometimes this question is used as an opportunity to stall for backup in situations involving warrant checks or the suspicion of illegal activities, including driving while impaired.

It’s vital to understand the consequences of answering that question directly and effectively admitting guilt. In doing so, you forfeit the power of your case to contest the ticket, will likely have to pay the ticket, and may incur points on your driver’s license, which can result in a license suspension or revocation if you accumulate more than a specific amount of points. However, there are strategic ways to contest a speeding ticket that have proven effective in the past, but it’s vital to avoid admitting guilt.

Crafting a Strategic Response

When confronted with that dreaded question – why were you speeding – it’s imperative to be well-informed and strategic in your response, exercising caution and foresight. It’s tempting to give a rational explanation of why you exceeded the posted speed limit, hoping that the officer shows mercy and lets you off with a warning. However, your response can have serious consequences. Any admission of guilt or acknowledgment of speeding does the officer’s job for them and can be leveraged against you, especially if you intend to contest the ticket or if that interaction leads to criminal charges down the line.

It’s important to note that you must be careful and prudent in not only what you respond to that question, but how. Regardless of what your answer may be, it’s always advisable to remain respectful, polite, and cooperative with the officer. Engaging in confrontational behavior or attempting to evade the question may escalate the situation unnecessarily. It’s best practice to politely decline to provide an explanation for your actions and focus on complying with the officer’s requests for documentation or less risky questions.

However, the response to this question may be something of a catch-22. Saying too much can land you in hot water, but so can saying too little. By responding that you were unaware of your speed, an answer aimed to avoid admitting guilt, or redirecting the conversation, such as asking the officer if they need your license and registration, you’re protecting your right against self-incrimination and your ability to successfully contest the outcome down the line. However, this can also be perceived as evasive and could exacerbate the situation. 

Still, it’s best to protect yourself, but doing so politely is paramount. Refrain from admitting guilt or providing explanations acknowledging that speeding did take place. Leave it to the officer to prove that the speeding occurred to safeguard your rights and preserve your ability to pursue legal recourse down the line.

AutoTrafficTickets.com: Helping New Yorkers Challenge Traffic Tickets

If you or a loved one find yourself facing a speeding ticket in New York and wish to challenge it, securing representation from an experienced New York traffic ticket attorney can greatly increase your chances of reaching a favorable outcome. At AutoTrafficTickets.com, our attorneys specialize in successfully navigating the complexities of traffic violations and relentlessly defending the rights of our clients. We are dedicated to providing a robust defense to reach the best possible outcome. Contact us, call us at 855-FIX-TIXX (855-349-8499), or text us at 516-414-4300 to set up a free and confidential consultation today!

Posted in: Speeding Tickets