As a general rule, it's probably a good idea to be polite and respectful to police officers. They often have years of experience of being able to draw up some charges if they are not treated properly. Here are some instances of how that sometimes goes down.
"Firsthand patrol story here:
It was a busy night a few years back, and some idiot was running around lighting anything flammable on fire (dumpsters, couches, mattresses, you name it). We ended up with guys driving behind fire trucks through the neighborhood just soaking down anything that could conceivably be ignited because nobody could find this guy. I was part of the group searching for him.
I passed by an apartment complex and heard a solid 'thud' against the side of my patrol car. I looked over and saw a shirtless, curly haired inebriated guy standing in his doorway laughing. I stopped the car to inspect for damage and planned to have a little chat with the guy if there wasn't any damage, mostly to advise him that he should 1) probably stay inside because he is a smacked and 2) not throw footballs at police vehicles. He was an absolute pain from start to finish.
Long story short, we have a city ordinance entitled 'throwing missiles into a street,' which is usually used to get people to stop blocking a street if they're playing ball. He is the only person I know of to actually be charged under that ordinance."
"Cop here, I was at the end of my night shift, about to head home when I heard a crash near the detachment. Went to investigate and saw a couple of guys walking away from a local homeless feeding shelter, and a shopping cart that was thrown at the building nearly breaking the window.
I went to go have what was supposed to be a five-minute chat about not breaking stuff on your way home from the bar, but one of the guys kept walking away from me. Just said 'nope' and 'I don't have to stop for you' after I formally detained him. He wouldn't give a name or anything.
I eventually told him it was an obstruction charge (which I rarely do because people are kinda morons a lot of the time) but he kept not saying anything.
He ended up being arrested for mischief, held overnight to sober up, and a $250 ticket for obstructing a peace officer. This was just because he didn't want to have a five-minute talk about not being a dummy when he was inebriated."
"We have a small children’s garden/park in our city. I was walking through one day and saw a guy picking cherry tomatoes off the plant and eating them. They’re for looks and not eating and there’s a sign at the entrance that says that. I politely told him to stop eating the tomatoes and pointed out the sign to him, explaining that the fruiting plants were there for the kids to see and that any food that comes from them will he picked and given to a homeless shelter. He didn’t agree and picked another tomato and ate it right in front of me. I remembered that our city has an ordinance called 'Intentional damage to city owned shrubs and trees' which carries around a $450 fine. He got a ticket for it that day. It’s the only time anyone can ever remember that statute being used.
Another time, I pulled a car over because he had a cover over his license plate that used to be clear (clear covers are legal), but had been damaged by the sun and weather to the point that you could barely read the plate under it (that’s not legal). I stopped him with the intent of just letting him know of the problem and writing him a warning. When I told him why I stopped him, he picked up a book from his passenger seat with our state code of laws in it and asked me to show him where in the book it said he couldn’t have a faded cover. He was a real pain about it too. I told him I wasn’t going to go through his book looking for the statute but that I would go back to my car and write down the statute number for him and that he could look it up for himself. Well guess what, our warning tickets don’t have a space for the statute number, but our real tickets do. So he got a ticket with the statute number on it. He paid his $100 fine without coming to court."
"I usually don't add extra tickets when someone is annoying, but depending on how things start, I will decide whether to give a ticket or just a written warning.
Best case I can think of is how a guy turned a drinking and driving arrest into a $50k bond. He decided to tear my interior door handles off while sitting in my back seat and then tried to reassemble the lock so it would open the door. Except I was staring at him, telling him to stop, while he said he wasn't doing it. He tried it with both of them. So that's two felony counts of damaging government property. Then I couldn't find a spring from the door handle so tampering with evidence which is another felony. Then the car he drove was a vehicle he was supposed to be fixing at his job, and he wasn't authorized to drive it, especially since it was taken to his shop for an oil change. So he had a felony vehicle theft charge for trying to drive a customer's $100k car to his ex-girlfriend's house.
My call was from his ex-girlfriend (and two neighbors called) because he was screaming outside her door. He got disorderly conduct for that. He was trying to hide when I got there, but he was on the second floor of the apartment, so he got another charge of obstruction. He also got the buzzed driving charge so his license was pretty much gone because it was his third or fourth arrest of that nature.
Only charge that got dropped was tampering with evidence because it was too petty. I figured most of it would be dismissed, but his lawyer was horrible. He stayed in jail for like a month because his wealthy parents were tired of his antics, and he drove that car through their closed garage before he drove it to his ex-girlfriend's house."
"My brother-in-law (Bill) is a local cop somewhere far, far away from me and was answering a noise complaint. Guy shows up to the door high as a kite with a huge pipe plainly visible from the now opened front door. Bill says, 'Sir, I'm gonna give you an opportunity to take that (points to pipe on the table) and put it away. So why don't you close the door, put it away, open the door, and we can start again.'
The guy starts screaming at him saying things like, 'You can't search my place without a warrant and yada yada yada yada.'
Bill: 'Sir I'm giving you one last chance to close the door and remove your glassware from the table.'
Guy: 'Forget you, man, I know my rights!'
Bill: 'Sir you've given me probable cause as you smell like pot, I see a pipe on your table, plus there's a opened bag of pot on the couch.'
He immediately put the guy on the ground cuffed him before reading him his rights. To this day he's told this story, and he always says that he hates enforcing narcotics laws on people for weed, especially when gives them every opportunity to close the door and put weed away before he talks to you about a noise complaint."
I call it the a-hole test. I treat everyone the way I would like to be treated, with respect and courtesy.
There was one time I stopped someone for completely disregarding a stop sign in a high pedestrian area. When I walked up to the car, he was immediately angry and frustrated with me. Called me a few choice words and his conduct was overall negative.
I tend to give people warnings unless the offense was very reckless. This guy definitely got a ticket."
"Canadian cop here. I currently police a very rural, very poor First Nation reserve.
A lot of the 'frequent fliers' in my community are regularly placed on conditions to not drink at all. Problem is, substance abuse goes hand in hand with poverty so it’s pretty rare to find any of those people sober. Technically I can arrest/charge any of these people anytime I encounter them when they’ve been drinking (So basically whenever I want).
If I encounter one of these people and they’re being even a little bit friendly/cooperative they get a pass/ride home. If they cross my path and decide to be a moron they get to spend a night in cells. If they’ve done it a few times recently they’ll also pick up a criminal charge.
It’s not that I enjoy lodging or charging people. But them acting like a moron with me is a pretty good indicator that they’re going to go beat up people, break some stuff, steal some stuff etc. later that day. I prefer to nip that kind of stuff in the bud when I can."
"Excessive noise from a vehicle. I never give that ticket because it’s kind of a waste of time compared to what I could be doing, but also most people have the common sense not to be blasting their music at 150 decibels around the fuzz.
I just finished a call at Walmart. It’s Walmart so the parking lot is PACKED. People, kids, families everywhere. This truck starts rolling through super slow. Dude had the power stone hooked up to his sound system. Pure class.
Pulled him over just have the conversation about respecting others. Guy was a fool. Like a huge, floppy, angry green fool.
He got $1,100 dollars worth of tickets where he could have gotten a warning if not for the attitude."
"I work in a town of roughly 4,000 residents. We have two main streets that run the entire length of town. One is in the middle of town and is small businesses and residential. The other is main traffic and the road you take if you need to pass through fairly quickly.
Well in ten years I have only written one jaywalking ticket. Someone just strutted out into traffic without even looking. A car up ahead of me slammed the brakes to avoid hitting her. The girl that was jaywalking just flipped the driver the bird. No surprise, but she was the one who got the ticket. Plus we have a disorderly conduct ticket that loosely applies to flipping the bird. She got that one too. No traffic control either by the way (lights or stop signs)."
"I'm a former US Coast Guard boarding officer. Little known fact about USCG Law Enforcement is that we don't need probable cause to board any vessel underway in US waters. Majority of local boardings are for simple safety inspections to make sure flares, life jackets, and other required items are on board, not expired, and in good working condition.
Most boardings are pretty boring and people welcome us on board to do the inspection, taking maybe 10-15 minutes to complete. If we happened to find a discrepancy (expired flares, burnt out light, torn life jacket) and everyone was being cooperative, we usually verbally notified you to remedy it and you'd get a clean boarding sheet in return.
So begins my encounter with the Bass Boat A-hole (BBA). Headed back to the dock, we witness a bass boat cut off another larger boat in a narrow area, I tap my driver and tell him to get me alongside the bass boat. We come alongside at slow speed and I start my boarding:
'Sir, this is Petty Officer with the US Coast Guard, have you been boarded this year?'
BBA: 'No, what do you want?'
'Sir I'm going to come aboard your vessel and conduct a routine safety inspection, please maintain your course and speed until directed otherwise.'
BBA: 'You can't come on my boat, I haven't done anything and you need a warrant.'
I proceed to verbally battle with him for the next few minutes explaining US code, my intentions, and his legal requirement to comply. He begrudgingly complies at this point, and my teammate and I go aboard. After 30 minutes of continued arguing and being called names while running thru my checklists, I can't find a single violation. I'm determined now to terminate his voyage, but can't without at least one safety issue. I was just about to concede when I noticed the small dog on board wearing a doggy life jacket. It was so small and quiet neither of us saw it.
'Sir I've almost completed my boarding, I just need to check that your animals life jacket is USCG approved.'
BBA: 'What?? You can't do that!'
'Sir any life jacket in service on navigable waters must be approved for such use.'
He removed the life jacket, and sure enough wasn't marked USCG approved. Now I found a loophole to justify this later, but because it was in use and he didn't have another approved one on board, I was able to terminate the voyage for 'being short number of life jackets for occupants on board.' He was angry, but after explaining we could either take him back to his dock, or detain (not arrest) him on our boat and tow his vessel back, he opted for the option to go nine miles back.
I did get a butt chewing later for my 'creative interpretation of the requirements,' but I considered it a win for something that would've been a talking to if he'd have been compliant from the start."
"Possessing a suspended drivers license. Obviously it’s illegal to drive with a suspended license, but in my state it’s also illegal to possess a suspended license (basically if your license gets suspended you’re supposed to return it, but obviously no one ever does). It’s actually an arrest-able offense (or it used to be, some changes were made to what traffic offenses were and were not arrest-able a couple years ago).
Anyway, we had a guy who was being a moron, but wasn’t doing quite enough to support a disorderly conduct charge or disturbing the peace, but also wouldn’t just knock it off. His license was suspended, and he had it in his possession. When we told him it was illegal to possess a suspended license he basically said 'So what? I’m not driving.' By that point we’d had enough so one of the guys on my shift just went ahead and took him to jail on that charge.
I don’t know what happened to it in court...probably got tossed, but it solved the problem for the night since it was pretty obvious we would keep getting called back for him."
"Because of our proximity to Dallas, a lot of our hotels had huge narcotics and human trafficking issues. It was like shooting fish in a barrel. You could roll through the parking lot of the Super 8 every day and get a few arrests easily. So we would sit in the parking lot and wait for vehicles to show up, stay for 5-10 minutes, and then leave. Get in behind them, and if they didn't have a warrant attached to the vehicle (which a lot of the time they did), you just wait for them to commit a traffic violation. Usually the easiest one was a wide right turn. Under Texas law, you are required to make a right turn into the right most available lane. It's almost too easy.
Another one is No Front Plate. I always made sure I treated people with respect and didn't get into arguments during traffic stops. First off, my dad was a cop for 30 years and taught me to always treat people how you would want to be treated. Second, cameras are a great thing. I was complained about multiple times, and they were thrown out as soon as the Sergeant reviewed the video, because I was always respectful but firm. Third, I don't want to be standing there arguing in the middle of the road. It's dangerous. Anyways, I pull this guy over for doing 20 over on the access road and even at first contact he was a complete moron. So as I position my body to the front of his windshield to check his registration, I decide to check to see if he has a front plate too. He did not. So instead of getting a speeding ticket and that's it, he got an extra one for not having a front plate.
I responded to a crash, where someone had run their vehicle up onto some decorative rocks in front of a grocery store in the middle of the night. When I got there, there was a inebriated female sitting on the curb across from the vehicle. A quick check showed her to be the registered owner of the vehicle and the keys were on the passenger floorboard. Due to the fact that it was Dallas County, I was going to just hook her up for Public Intox until she turned into a real See You Next Tuesday. I did the extra paperwork and charged her with driving over the legal limit, even though I knew it wouldn't go to court. It's definitely not a stupid law, but it's stupid how we prosecute those types of things."
"My friend is a local municipal cop in the town I grew up in upstate New York. He tells of the New York State Police troopers, when faced with an irate driver who is acting up (especially the 'Do you know who I am?' types) and writes them fix-it tickets for every single thing they can find on the car.
The rumor is they'd nickel your tires for a low tread-ticket if they couldn't find anything else (Stick a nickel in the tread; if you can see Jefferson's head, it's too low)."
I’ve given a-holes tickets for no tag lights and not having the proper decal sticker on the license plate.
Now here’s something you may not know about cops. It turns out we’re people. Some of us are mean and some of us are super nice people. I’m the cop you wanna get pulled over by or called on because I can promise you, if you have a good attitude, you’re not getting a ticket. I don’t wanna go to court and I don’t wanna add any financial burdens to your life.
I police in poverty-stricken areas so I’m extra nice. In fact, I only pull people over if they do something really dumb in traffic like cutting someone off, pulling in front of someone or running a red light. And no, they don’t get tickets. A good verbal warning usually works. Besides, seeing flashing lights in the rear view mirror usually scares them enough. No need to be a prick and give someone a ticket for an honest mistake. That being said, you run your mouth when I’m being nice will definitely get you a ticket.
Where I work, we have an entire division dedicated to traffic enforcement. For me to actively look for vehicles to pull over takes away from the calls holding in my beat, which in turns hoses over my fellow co-workers. We have a high call volume so I prioritize my calls over traffic enforcement. You would be mad if I took 30 minutes getting to your house cause I pulled someone over for not using a blinker."
"State law requires a 'reconstruction permit' for extremely minor modifications done to a vehicle, like raised or lowered suspension, but nobody ever obtained these permits...nobody. Heck, most people didn't even know they existed.
But if you were a big enough punk, it was a really handy ticket to stick someone with. The other, possibly lamest and yet most satisfying was to write someone up for a burned out license plate light."
"I was always taught that citations are meant to deter violations, not necessarily 'punish' those who commit them.
So if someone is apologetic, understanding, or just plain honest about their behavior I can reasonably say a warning will deter them from doing the same thing in the future, so a warning is likely what I will issue (depending on the actual offense, of course)
If, on the other hand, the person is a dope and just yells, swears, etc....they will likely get a citation so I can get my point across."