To Fight For Your Rights
What to Do When You Receive a Traffic Ticket in North Carolina
Dec 28, 2017
Have you received a traffic citation? If so, you're in the right place.
North Carolina Attorney Bill Powers has been defending traffic matters for 25 years. In this episode, Attorney Powers answers the questions that matter to you when you receive a traffic ticket.
Modified Transcript of “What to Do When You Receive a Traffic Ticket” for the Hearing Impaired
Introducer: You're listening to NC Law Talk with attorney Bill Powers. The podcast for when you're in a pinch. An NBTA Board Certified criminal law specialist with 25 years of experience. Bill Powers answers your most pressing DWI, traffic and criminal defense questions on your time. Here he is attorney Bill Powers.
Robert Ingalls: Alright welcome to the first full-length episode of NC Law Talk with attorney Bill Powers. I am Robert Ingalls and I will be your guest host for this episode. It is an honor to be here and to be part of the launching of this podcast. Bill Powers is one of the most accomplished and well-respected attorneys in the state of North Carolina. He's a Board Certified criminal law specialist, former President of the North Carolina Advocates For Justice and has been selected as a North Carolina Super Lawyer for 12 years and counting.
I am pleased to introduce one of the finest attorneys in the state and my friend Mr Bill Powers. How are you doing Bill?
Bill Powers: I'm well. Good Morning.
Robert Ingalls: Alright. Thanks for having me here man, I'm so happy to be a part of this.
Bill Powers: Well I'm honored to be with you this morning.
Robert Ingalls: Alright. So we're gonna jump right in. Today we are going to be talking about traffic tickets. What you do during, after, whether or not getting an attorney would be the best option for you. Alright Bill, so this is one of the questions that when we decided to talk about this that came to my mind, that I never see answered, because it's usually too late by the time you're coming looking for advice. What is it you do the moment those blue lights come on? In your mind? Obviously you pull over. You probably shouldn't run right?
Bill Powers: Right.
Robert Ingalls: Right. They've gotten pretty good at keeping up with you?
Bill Powers: Right.
Robert Ingalls: But once you're pulled over, what are the steps? What are your rights in that moment?
Bill Powers: Well after cursing and trying to think of something quick in your mind to explain what you were doing, yeah I mean the obviously thing is, is that you pull over, try to find a safe place. I am sometimes amazed that people react so strongly that they actually almost cause a wreck. I regularly have a police officer say "I'll give you a reasonable period of time to pull over and if you don't think it's safe, turn on your flashers or something like that and pull over in a well-lighted area or take your time. It doesn't have to be squealing tires and running off the road and anything like that." So immediately is find a safe place to pull over, okay?
The second thing is, is to start realizing that the police officer has a job and they generally speaking, do not want to have problems in doing their job and one of the things I think about is how am I going to get the necessary materials or documents that I think they're gonna want to have without making the police officer nervous. And I don't know if you know what I mean by that, but sometimes people don't realize is that if you reach around your car, you could be reaching for your driver's license or you could be reaching for a gun.
So I start thinking about that. This is actually in a forethought, that's why I keep personally my driver's license and my registration and my insurance on my visor of my car so I can easily grab it and I'm not reaching down what lawyers call a furtive gesture. That's one of my favorite words from law school. And the police officer ... Most people don't keep guns up in their visor. I think it puts them at ease to start off with.
Robert Ingalls: Sure. And it think that's good advice and that's something I kind of learned the hard way, is I used to keep everything in the glove box-
Bill Powers: Sure.
Robert Ingalls: ... and I'm with you now. Everything I need is clipped to my visor and it is in my hand. Thank, I'm gonna knock on wood next time I get a chance. I haven't been pulled over in probably six years, but when I do, it's right there and by the time he gets to my window, or she gets to my window it's like in my hand ready to hand it them.
Bill Powers: Yeah. And I just had, you know when you have those times in your life when you realize "Oh my God! I turned into my dad". I just realized that's something my dad did and I never knew ... Until this moment really realized probably why. Sorry dad. Now I don't keep my mileage recordation he use to have a little card he would keep up the and track what the mileage got in his car, but I do keep it up there and I haven't, like you I haven't been pulled over in quite some time, knock on wood, but it's a really kind of a first step is to just have your stuff together and it also brings a valid point.
Maybe it would be a good idea to make sure that you one, have insurance on your car and two, that the tags are valid. That you've done everything you're supposed to do for your registration and paying your taxes. I am regularly amazed how angry people are they got pulled over and I'm like, "You realize that you hadn't had your car registered in about a year? Of course, they're gonna pull you over if you owned a sticker around your license plate, they're gonna pull you over." And so have yourself in order beforehand.
Robert Ingalls: So another thing that I see come up a lot and I think would be very valuable for people to understand, is what do you say the officer when he says, "Do you know why I pulled you over?"
Bill Powers: I say "Good Morning". I think one; it's nice to be nice. We do live in the south and I don't think it's unusual to say "Good Morning Officer". I don't think it helps to be lippy or give people a hard time. At the same time I don't think you need to answer particularly that question. You can say "Good Morning Officer" and "Do you know why I pulled you over?" And say well I'm not sure I'd like to hear what you think? You may just be checking if I'm okay".