David Willis

How To Take A Ticket

    We should all ride safely and obey the traffic laws, but let’s face it sooner or later we’re all going to get a ticket for something. Don’t let it ruin your day. Worse things can happen when you’re driving, especially if you’re on a bike.

    Act appropriately when getting the ticket, and you’re back on your way in a few minutes. Act hot-headed or disrespectfully, and you’ll ruin your chance of fighting the ticket, not to mention risk escalating the event into an arrest and an opportunity to make a few new friends downtown for the night.”

Bikers can get traffic tickets for everything a car driver can as well as citations specific to motorcycles. Common moving violations for cars or bikes are speeding, crossing a yellow line, changing lanes while crossing an intersection, not staying in the correct lane during a left turn, failing to signal a turn or lane change, etc. But bikers can also get tickets for splitting a lane (riding side by side), loud pipes, vertical tag, and my favorite: wheelies. And lately, I’m handling more and more cases of excessive speeding, like 130 and 160 mph. Man, these new rockets really scream.

Now, here are the DO’s and DON’Ts when you get pulled over for a ticket:

    When an officer turns on the lights:

  • DO put on your blinker and move to the right lane. If a side street or parking lot is available, use it. If you have to drive a couple of blocks for a good spot, this is usually permissible.
  • DO turn off your bike or car.
  • DON’T get off the bike or out of your car.
  • DO wait patiently for the officer to come to you. Never go to meet the officer halfway.
  • DON’T ever try to shake hands with an officer.
  • DON’T show frustration or anger.

    The officer is going to ask for your license, registration and proof of insurance.

  • DON’T start digging for it until the officer asks for it, and be sure you can produce them quickly.
  • DO answer the officer’s questions BUT only with brief, non-committal responses.
  • DON’T admit to anything! I suggest answers such as “I see” or “okay.” For Example:
    1. Q – Do you know why I pulled you over? *THIS IS IMPORTANT* Your answer is always “No, why?” or “Please tell me.”
    2. Q – Do you know how fast you were going? Answer – “Yes.” DON’T say your speed, especially if you were speeding! Let the officer state how fast he/she thinks you were going.
    3. Q – Do you know what the speed limit is? Answer – “Please tell me.” Now use your non-committal nod again. If, and only if, you’re sure of the speed limit, your answer is “Yes,” and then be ready to state it if further questioned. But, I can defend “please tell me” just fine.
  • DON’T comment, argue, debate, etc.
  • DON’T say anything! If you must say something, just nod you head in an “okay if you say so” way.


  • DO sign the ticket! Signing the ticket does not mean you agree with the citation; it only acknowledges you received the ticket. Refusing to sign the ticket is a second degree misdemeanor.
  • DON’T make any final commentary, just sign the ticket and politely leave when the officer is finished.
  • DON’T run from the officers! I have several clients on fast bikes that tried to run. It makes a non criminal traffic ticket into a third degree felony. Just pull over and take the ticket, even if it means going to jail for the night for something other than the ticket. I don’t care if you’re wanted, carrying drugs, drunk, whatever, don’t run. It always makes your case worse. Hire an attorney and let them work it out.

    It’s always cheaper and better to pull over and take the ticket! Anytime you’re interacting with a police officer you should show respect even if you disagree with their actions. Remember their job is to issue citations. It’s the judge’s job to determine if the citation is valid or not. So, don’t waist your time arguing with the officer. Most officers have already made up their minds whether you’re getting a warning or a ticket before they approach you. So, take the ticket, and enjoy the rest of your ride. Also, you should remember to smile; now days it’s likely you’re being video taped.

    If you have a ticket in the Jacksonville or Beaches area, you can find me at jaxbikerlaw.com, or email:info@dwlawgroup.com

Five Things NOT To Do When Arrested

No one expects to be arrested, but it can happen to normally law-abiding, hard-working citizens. Sometimes an extraordinary set of circumstances will combine and you may find yourself in the back of a police officer’s car, but usually one misjudgment or minor mistake on an otherwise average day is all it takes. Remember, being arrested is not the same as being charged with a crime. You can help avoid future charges by avoiding the following behaviors:

1. Save Your Breath

Don’t try to convince the officer of your innocence. It’s useless. He or she only needs “probable cause” to believe you have committed a crime in order to arrest you. He does not decide your guilt and he most likely doesn’t care if you are innocent or not. It is the job of the judge or jury to free you if he is wrong. If you feel that urge to convince him he’s made a mistake, remember the overwhelming probability that instead you will say at least one thing that will hurt your case, perhaps even fatally. It is smarter to save your defense for your lawyer.

2. Don’t Run

Don’t try to escape the police. It’s highly unlikely a suspect could outrun ten radio cars converging on a block in mere seconds. By running, you are signalling to the police you have something to hide or are guilty of an offense. Even worse, the police might suspect you’re running because you have a weapon or are going to retrieve a weapon, perhaps making them quick to draw their own firearms. Most police officers will just arrest a runner, but there are some who will be mad they had to work so hard and will injure the suspect unnecessarily, or will be afraid the runner is going to retrieve a weapon and will shoot a fleeing suspect. Two runners have been shot and killed in separate instances in Jacksonville by JSO for these reasons.

3. Enjoy a QUIET Ride To The Police Station

Assert your right to remain silent! The Supreme Court recently ruled that simply staying silent isn’t enough to invoke your right; you have to actually tell the police officers or detectives you wish to invoke your right to remain silent. The hardest criminal defense cases are those where the arrested person got very talkative. Incredibly, many will start babbling without the police having asked a single question. Judges and juries will discount or ignore what a suspect says that helps him, but give great weight to anything that seems to hurt him. Remember, they are gathering evidence to build a criminal case against you and your statements speak directly to that. You can count on one hand the number of times a suspect was released because of what he told the police after they arrested him.

4. Do Not Give Permission To Search

Don’t give permission to search anywhere. Most searches without a warrant are illegal! If they ask, it probably means they don’t believe they have the right to search and need your consent. You have the right to refuse! If you are ordered to hand over your keys, state loudly “You do NOT have my permission to search.” If bystanders hear you, whatever the police find may be excluded from evidence later. This is also a good reason not to talk should they find something incriminating.

5. Do Not Be An Active Participant in Searches

If the police are searching your car or home, don’t look at the places you wish they wouldn’t search. Don’t react to the search at all, and especially not to questions like “Who does this belong to?” If the police show up at your door without a warrant, step outside then close and lock the door behind you — if you don’t, they might just walk in, and later argue that you implied an invitation by leaving the door open. If they ask to come in, tell them “I do not consent to a search.” Tell roommates, guests, coworkers and renters that they cannot consent on your behalf.

If you find yourself on the wrong end of the law, getting a criminal defense attorney early can make a huge difference in the outcome of your case. David Willis Law Group knows the impact an arrest and subsequent charge can have on your life and future. Let us help you defend your rights. Call (904) 270-8707 or email questions to info@dwlawgroup.com today!