If you've ever been pulled over by the police, you know it can be an intimidating experience.

Chances are, you have a good idea why you're being stopped, and as the officer approaches your car, your mind is probably working at warp speed to come up with an excuse.

You roll down your window, and the officer identifies himself and asks,

Do You Know Why I Pulled You Over?

The question may seem innocent enough.  But how you respond can be the difference between getting a ticket, or leaving with a warning.

In my own non-professional experience, here's what I've found to be true.  As upset as you may be for getting pulled over, put your ego aside.  The shoulder of the Garden State Parkway isn't a good place to debate the police.  You will lose the roadside argument 100% of the time.

Respect and Honesty Goes a Long Way

I won't lie, but I don't offer too much.  When asked if I knew why I was pulled over, my response was, "No sir."  The officer may also ask if you knew how fast you were traveling.  This is where you need to be careful.  I will usually give a simple, "yes sir" without going into detail.

The hard part for many of us is to swallow our pride and keep our mouths shut.  If the officer tells me, "I clocked you doing, 85 in a seventy-five zone..."  I might respond by saying something like, "Hmm."

Your interaction may or may not get you out of a ticket.  If you do get a ticket, you don't want to say anything that can be used against you in court.

New California Law

California has enacted a new law that deals specifically with this type of interaction.  In California, police must immediately tell you why you've been pulled over.

I can't stress this enough.  The police have a difficult job.  They never know what or who they are walking up to when they pull you over.  A little respect goes a long way.

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