Saturday, August 20, 2005

A Bully with a Gun

This morning I set out at 8:30AM for a hair appointment on the other side of town. Traffic was light and I found myself behind two motorcycles at a stop sign, awaiting traffic to clear to enter a divided highway. Although the speed limit is 55 on this divided highway, vehicles typically travel between 60-70MPH.

The first motorcycle found a hole in the traffic and took off, leaving me waiting now behind one motorcycle. Traffic was heavy for 8:30AM on a Saturday and it took awhile for traffic to clear. Finally, the motorcycle in front of me took off and I followed into the opening in the traffic flow. The motorcycle went right through the medium intersection and into the left lane. I tried to follow, but the motorcycle was not picking up speed. Conscious of fast moving traffic coming up behind me, I checked the right lane, saw it was open and crossed over into it and picked up speed, quickly reaching 60MPH while passing the motorcycle on the right while he was still struggling to pick up speed in the left lane.

Two seconds later, a police vehicle was on my tail, signaling me to pull over. The officer slowly and deliberately got out of his vehicle and strolled over to the passenger side of my car. I rolled down the passenger side window. His first words were, "You think BMW's don't have to follow the traffic rules like everyone else?" Then noting that I had South Carolina plates on my car, he also said, "What are you doing in Washington, we don't drive like that in here."

I asked him what I had done wrong. He asked for my drivers license and registration. He then went on a tirade, telling me how I had committed multiple infractions and wanting again to know what I was doing in this state and how long I would be here. I again asked about what I had done wrong. He finally says I followed the motorcycle into the intersection without stopping then cut over to the right lane to pass him. Before I had a time to respond, he took my documents back to his car.

He comes back a few minutes later with a $510 infraction for, "Negligent Driving." Again, he comments on my being from out of state and wants to know how long I will be here. I am evasive at this point, not knowing what else he is up to. In retrospect, it seems that he expects me to not show up to contest this ticket. I am sure "Negligent Driving" is worth a lot of brownie points back at the station. I am also certain that he will never afford to drive a BMW and I am being penalized for his own failures and station in life. This was personal.

I will lose more money in not trading on the court date then the ticket and an even doubling of my insurance premium would have cost me. I don't mind paying for traffic infractions, I've never contested one before, just sent in a check, guilty. But this one is different. I was singled out because I was from out of state and because I am driving an expensive vehicle.

I suspect the judge will be driving one too.



Anonymous said...

Hi Allan..nice site. BTW..I learned a long time ago to invest in an expensive radar detector. A detector might not have saved you this ticket..but it will earn its keep..Yash Agrawal

Greg Reiman said...

Hi Allan:

Hire a good lawyer.... Oh that's right you ARE a lawyer.

First thing you should do is get a court date, (if it isn't already on your citation), then shortly before the court date petition the court for a postponement, make up some lame reason. The police department may be willing to schedule the officer who wrote the ticket for the first court date, but it is unlikely that they will be willing to pay him for a second day of cooling his heals at the courthouse (it costs too much). Let the prosecuters office (or city attorney) know that you intend to fight the ticket, they will probably call you back and offer to settle for the amount of the forfiture. Tell them no deal. When you arrive at your court date (if they haven't dismissed your case already) and the cop does not show up to testify against you, the judge will probably dismiss the ticket completly. You may also want to type up a more precise and detailed version of the events before they become vague in your memory, so that you can show the judge and prosecuter that you are well prepared to fight to the death. They are overworked and most are also lazy, if they think it will be too much work, they usually just give up and move on to the next case on their mile high stack of cases.

Just remember, this isn't about money, it is about principle!

Your Friendly Lincoln Lawyer
Greg Reiman

Anonymous said...

Unlikely the Judge will be sympathetic to a local resident with South Carolina plates.

Do you need more hassle? Pay the ticket.


Anonymous said...

neglegent driving may be once of those F-you tix, like reckless driving; it could be semi-serious & really screw your insurance. i once had a dick give me two tix for the same infraction becuase i was kinda ignoring him - hey, he was yelling at me so loud, ignoring him was the best i could manage. if its a bad tix, maybe you can explain to judge & get it reduced to a lower guilty plea & do traffic school.

in Kali, you go to traffic school & you are okey unless you get another ticket w/in 18 months. take a saturday & go to traffic school... its not so bad & reminds you of stuff.

i once hired "Mr. Ticket" here in San Diego & he somehow got a dismissal on a freeway infraction from CHP. worth every penny - there is one in every town - find the one where you are.

ive also gone to fight it in court. id say your best chance is if the officer doesnt show. ive won that way, & lost when he did show & he and the judge had an almost "scripted" exchange like i wasnt even there; except for "Guilty." try to remember what the cop looks like as they usually group together in back while waiting for rcourt to start. the judge usually gives you "one last chance to plead guilty & take traffic school"; if the cop is there, id take the traffic school. if he's a no-show, you'll win.

good luck.

Anonymous said...

Hi Allen,
I think he was asking about your plates because the powers that be in the state of washington are looking for folks who move here but don't update their plates. you might be a target now so if you're going to make this your home, you might consider getting washington plates.