ST: What things will make you impound the truck?
Jl: First and foremost, driving with a suspended or revoked license will certainly get you towed. Your truck will be gone for 30 days, that's the law. And impound fees are expensive. Drugs, weapons, and other contraband can also get your truck hauled away. One thing to remember is, everything illegal in the vehicle is the driver's responsibility no matter if it belongs to the passenger, unless it's on his person (in his pocket).
ST: So if my buddy is holding and he stashes something under the seat and then says it's not mine, it becomes my problem.
ST: Sport Truck is a custom truck magazine, what about modifications?
Jl: Technically modifying a vehicle is illegal, but as long as the mod is equivalent to stock or better you should be fine. Just know rollpans are illegal. Bumpers need to be crash-tested to 5 mph and the rollpans are not. Also, you can move the license plate, just make sure it's readable, has a light, and is straight.
ST: We have a lot of readers who have airbagged trucks. Is that an issue?
Jl: One thing that will draw attention is playing with your adjustable suspension while on the road. If an officer sees you hitting switches you will almost certainly get a bunch of modified suspension violations.
ST: Tell me the one thing that gets under your skin the most?
Jl: Oh that's easy. My biggest pet peeve is people not knowing how to yield. Always pull to the right as soon as you notice the squad car approaching. If you are stopped at a light, go ahead and pull out just enough to let the car get around you, even if the light is red. We officers have to pass on the left--that is our law--so get out of the way to the right at all times.
ST: I want to thank you for your time. Is there anything else to consider?
Jl: No problem. A good tip is to make sure you have your current registration and insurance in an easy-to-find place. Put it in an envelope in the glovebox. If the officer knows you have your stuff together he might be a little more lenient. Last, but not least, police don't make laws--we enforce them. So if you have an issue, take it up with your city council.
What To Do When You Get A Ticket
1. Always plead not guilty and ask for a court date. You can do this by certified mail, going to the clerk's window, or going to the court room. You are innocent until proven guilty, so make the officer prove your guilt. Don't do it for them. This will give you time to calmly consider your alternatives and make a better, informed decision. It is also the first step in saving money on a fine.
2. Delay the proceedings by getting as many continuances as you can by saying you're out of town, can't get off work, or you are sick, etc. Each continuance increases the chance that the officer won't appear in court, which will result in your ticket being dismissed.
Tips To Winning A Court Case
Dress Nice. Do not wear shorts, cut off T-shirts, short skirts, or anything you wouldn't wear to a job interview.
Know Exactly What You're Being Charged With. If you didn't violate every single part of the vehicle code that you are charged with, then be sure to point that out to the judge because unless you violated the entire vehicle code, you are not guilty.
The Officer Must Prove His Case. You don't have to prove your innocence, you just have to put doubt in the jury or judge's head that you didn't break the law.
Make Your Case. Bring along evidence to convince the judge that you are right and the officer is wrong. Statements of witnesses, such as passengers or bystanders, who testify to your version of events are good.
Draw It Out. A clear, easy-to-understand diagram showing where your vehicle and the officer's vehicle were in relation to key locations and objects, such as an intersection, traffic signal, or other vehicle. Diagrams are especially important for tickets given at intersections, such as right-of-way, traffic light, or stop sign violations.
Take Pictures. Photographs of intersections, stop signs, and road conditions. These can be used to show conditions like obscured stop signs or other physical evidence that backs up your case.
Explain The Facts. Any other evidence that would cast doubt on the officer's ability to accurately observe your alleged violation. A classic way to do this is to prove his view was obscured, or that his angle of observation made it impossible to accurately see what happened.