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How to Respond When Asked Why You’re Speeding

Someone being pulled over for speeding

Sometimes you’re late for a meeting; sometimes you’re trying to get to a store before it closes; and sometimes you’re lost in some great music or an open road. But regardless of the reason, sometimes speeding happens. 

When you are pulled over by a police officer for speeding, sometimes he or she will ask you the reason why you were going above the speed limit. Since the law in New York doesn’t care why you’re speeding – and enforces strict liability – this may seem like an odd question to be asked. After all, the reason – or lack thereof – doesn’t actually matter. 

While police officers have the discretion to let you off of the hook for a valid reason for speeding, such as a medical emergency, it’s purely up to them. In such a situation they can always choose to let you go with a warning.  

But why do they ask to begin with?

It’s important to understand that by giving any answer at all as to why you were speeding is essentially admitting to the fact that you were in fact speeding. This response can be used against you if you decide to challenge your speeding ticket later on. 

Sometimes when an officer asks you why you were speeding it’s not even about your speeding. Sometimes it’s to stall because they are waiting for backup if there is a warrant for your arrest or the car is listed as stolen. Sometimes they are buying themselves more time to see if there is anything else illegal going on, such as whether you are driving under the influence. 

What can you say?

Sometimes it may seem rational to provide an explanation for going above the speed limit, hoping that the officer will give you a simple warning. Many people often respond that they weren’t aware that they were speeding. People often say this so as not to admit any guilt. Other times people may respond to this question with another question such as asking if they would care to see your license and registration. However, by responding with a question it may make the officer upset because he or she feels that you are avoiding their question. 

Regardless of how you choose to respond, it’s important to always show respect and remain polite. Do not admit to committing a traffic violation. That way, should the stop culminate in the issuance of a traffic ticket, you can contest it. 

If you admit guilt you will likely have to pay the ticket and you may incur points on your driver’s license, which can often result in a license suspension, if you accumulate more than a specific amount of points. 

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Posted in: Speeding Tickets, Traffic Violations