[NOTE: The link to buy book number two will be taken down at 12:01 AM EST on Tuesday. So tonight, if you’re reading this on Monday.]
I’ll be honest, I don’t know if these two techniques I’m going to write about will actually get people in general out of traffic tickets. Combined, the two techniques have gotten me out of three tickets in 10 years (and most of that time I lived in NYC with no car). I’m not someone who drives like an asshole and then has this unbeatable method to get out of tickets, that’s not what I’m suggesting.
The times I’ve been pulled over it’s usually for speeding on relatively empty streets or for running red lights in the middle of the night. (I mean, I stop, I look to make sure there are no pedestrians or card, then I run through the red lights because I don’t feel like sitting around to allow non-existent traffic to pass through. I’ve got things to do.)
The Psychological Technique
Here’s how this works.
1 - I follow all the normal rules for when you get pulled over. I pull off to a safe place. Turn off my engine. Have my license and registration ready. Act polite. Essentially I don’t give them any reason to think I’m a prick.
2 - I admit guilt. I know they say never to do this, but this is part of my technique. What I do is I admit guilt and give them any somewhat rational reason for what I was doing. So I might say I was speeding because I wasn’t feeling well and wanted to get home as fast as possible. Or I might say I was speeding but I thought I was driving safely for the flow of traffic. Or I might say I ran the light because it seemed safer to drive on with no cars around than sit there at the intersection in the middle of the night. It really doesn’t matter what my rationale is, the important part is admitting guilt. Some people say cops have to give you a ticket if you admit guilt, but I know that can’t be true—at least not everywhere—because I’ve used this technique and gotten out of tickets in the past.
Why admit guilt? Well, here’s my theory. People like to be in a position to forgive someone or do someone a favor. If you don’t admit guilt, you can’t put the person in that position. If you say, “No way man. I never speed,” the officer is just going to trust their radar and know you’re lying. They can’t “forgive” you for your transgression because you’re not admitting to it.
3 - But that’s still probably not enough for them to let you go. So the next step is this: I restate my case, but then suggest it doesn’t matter anyway because I understand they have rules to follow. So I’ll say something like, “It just seemed safer to go through the intersection when it was obvious no one was around rather than sit here and potentially have a drunk driver t-bone me while I’m waiting. You know? You understand. I mean, I know it doesn’t make a difference. You have to do what they tell you to. It’s not your choice. I just wanted you to understand where I was coming from on a person-to-person basis.”
Here’s the thing, no one likes to feel powerless. Especially not cops. So I’m subverting the power dynamic here. Instead of having the situation be, “You’re the cop and you have the power and that’s why you’re giving me a ticket for breaking the law.” I’m reframing the situation as, “You’re a cop and you have to give me this ticket. I get it. You’re just following the rules. Go do what your masters tell you to do.” Obviously I don’t say those words, but that’s the idea behind what I’m saying.
So now, not giving me the ticket is a demonstration of their independence and power. It’s like, “Oh yeah? You think I’m just some mindless automaton following rules and not using my own judgment? I’ll show you. I’ll not give you a ticket. How do you like that?”
Will this work with you and the officers you encounter in your jurisdiction? I have no idea. I don’t know if it will work for me the next time I try it. But it’s worked twice in the past, and I’ll undoubtedly give it a shot in the future.
The Magic Technique
I’ve tried this once and I got out of that ticket. Yes, it’s a small sample size (some would say the smallest) but it’s still a 100% success rate.
Here’s what it looks like.
The cop pulls me over, walks up to the car and asks for my license and registration. I pull out a $100 bill and say, “Is this what you’re looking for officer?” and hold it out the window. She looks at me. I act all innocent. “What? That’s what you asked for, right?” And when she looks again the bill has transformed into my license.
“Are you okay?” I ask.
When I stopped living in NYC full time and needed a car to travel, I had the idea for this trick and bought the gimmick it’s based on. It hung out in my car’s console for a couple of years until a few months ago when I finally got to use it.
The trick is Dollar to Credit Card 2.0 by Twister Magic.
You can make up the trick with any type of credit card (or in my case, an expired license) and a bill of any denomination.
Here’s how I do it. I offer the bill with it completely unfolded. Then I fold it half way and hold it out with two fingers. Then it depends on what the police officer does. If he/she looks at the bill or tries to take it, I do a visual change. If they look at me, I just do the change without them seeing, so it will just be a license when they look back.
Here’s what it looks like. This is using the credit card and single dollar bill the trick comes with. I’m not dumb enough to upload a video with my license information on it. (And, like most of the videos/gifs here, I didn’t record this myself.)
Once the officer sees the license and I’ve casually shown it on both sides, I pull my hand back into the car and kind of lean out the window in a “huh? what’s the issue?” sort of way. While I do this I drop the gimmick down at my side. I then take my registration (with my actual license under it) in my right hand and put it into my left and put both out the window. So it looks like I had my license in my left hand, brought it inside the car, then added my registration on top of it and handed both back out.
Now, here’s the thing, I don’t think police officers like the idea of being confused or fooled on the job, even if it’s in a harmless/fun way. They’re on edge. So you want to clarify what’s going on immediately.
“Sorry. I’m a magician. I just always wanted to try that.”
Now they’re back on solid ground, and at this point it’s your chance to get out of the ticket.
When I did it, the officer was immediately interested. And why wouldn’t she be? She’s probably had a day full of dealing with angry or upset people, and here’s someone who added a moment of levity to her day and doesn’t seem pissed or anything. She asked me about being a magician and I showed her a couple other tricks with stuff I had on me and she let me go. I don’t even remember what she pulled me over for.
I don’t think it’s the magic trick itself that will get you out of a ticket, but it gives you the chance to interact with the officer and come off as a real human. And when you’re as delightful as I am, it’s hard to give such a person a ticket.