The thoughts that were thunk and the goings on of my life.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

[Monday 2-5-2006]

So this morning I was coming back to my house from running an errand and was about to head to work when I saw the bane of urban existence, a motorcycle cop, round the corner. I then realized that my registration was expired because I got it last week and had yet to get the new inspection, so I knew I was toast. The officer pulled behind me and lit up his beady lights and drove up to my window. I rolled it down, and showed him that I had the registration and that it was going on my lunch break that day to get it inspected (maybe not today, but definitely sometime this week...and subsequently today). I asked him if I could go on because I knew what the problem was and was going to take care of it. Despite the reasonable request the officer told me I needed to pull over (which I already was), so I told him that I would just go around the corner. I pulled out onto the road, then pulled into the parking lot, opened my door and got out to hand him my registration, insurance and license. I think he got scared because I was about 1.5 ft taller than he was, and he said, get in the car, get in the car now! He and the officer with him began to conspire what they could nail me with. I think I saw an ‘exhibition of acceleration’ in there. Yeah, well I think there was also a ‘reckless endangerment’ in the way he was driving. Oh look, the insurance is expired (I accidentally handed him the older card from my car instead of the one in my wallet). I heard that and I said, “Wait no! I have a current insurance here” and handed it to him. Disheartened at the reduced amount of tickets he could give me, he shuffled his overfed body and took the newer insurance stub. After spending some time conspiring with the other officer they decided that instead of the account of events, that their version should include whatever they could legally get away with to screw me with.

So here’s what I got:
Exhibition of Acceleration (>$166)
Failure to change Address ($134)
Expired Inspection ($130)
Going 45 in a 30 ($160)

In the words of my down under friends “wtf mate?

What sort of idiot would peel out in front of a cop? I pulled out like I normally should have and made a completely legal turn. Accelerated to 30 mph (believe me I was watching my speed). Who changes their address when they move? I moved 6 times once in a year, does that mean I should have changed my address each time...I guess the answer is yes.

I am so sick of Texas, I hate motorcycle cops, I can’t believe that guys like that are allowed to enforce the laws. Why don’t you go out and do some sort of service for the city? Oh wait, you’re just a revenue generator for the city. That’s all most officers do anymore. However, if a real crime is permitted, where are you? When I saw that guy cutting people off on the highway, where are you? When people in pickups cut off cars because they can, where are you? When bikes do wheelies down the highway, where are you? When you were behind that car that was belching smoke like a locomotive, why didn’t you pull them over? However, I come back home from getting milk and am following most of the real laws and getting the rest taken care of and you try and stick me for whatever you can.

I wish I could find out where you live and give you ‘presents’. Why is it that being a cop gives you the right to be a jerk. If you were a real person you would get your butt kicked for being a total moron and being so disrespectful of somebody’s very existence. Charging people with crimes is NOT a joke, should not be laughed about, and should never be handed out like it was candy. Now to go file an official complaint. It won’t matter though because the people in the office have to pretend that everything an officer says is truth and the rest of us are just idiots trying to disrupt the peace...the peace which would be better maintained by you not having a job. Believe me, what I feel inside right now is NOT peace...if only I could have showed you there...but that would have been a felony, so you’ll never really know.

[Addendum]
Changing your DL address is completely seperate from changing your address with the local government, the vehicle registration office, the post office, or even your voter registration. Total tally $134.

Inspection was passed without them even charging me for the obligatory “bad wipers”. Total tally $10.

Exhibition of Acceleration is not actually legally defined as any. So if any of you lawyer friends of mine (hint, hint!) know of any way I can find cases where it was defined, then could you forward me those so that I can make a decent case before the judge.

Also, if anybody wants to do some physics and calc with me in the coming weeks, then let me know so that I can prove that my car is not capable of reaching 45 mph in the distance I went.

Thanks also to my dad for his help in these matters.

3 comments:

The Wise Owl said...

Just got my brand new traffic code law book today...let's see:
Sec. 521.054 Notice of Change of Address or Name. a.)This section applies to a person who:
(1) after applying for the license or certificate moves from the address stated in the person's application for a license or certificate;
(2) moves from the address shown on the license or certificate held by the person; or
(3) changes the person's name by marriage or otherwise.
(b.) A person subject to this section shall notify the department of the change not later than the 30th day after the date on which the change takes effect and apply for a duplicate license or certificate as provided by Section 521.146 (must apply for dupicate license by paying fee and providing updated info - paraphrasing a long section).
...Basically, they gotcha here; yes it is real chicken-droppings, but best to just pay-up & shut up on this one. We still love and understand you...
...On the Expired MVI, same thing - you're lucky the court allowed you off so cheap - not every jurisdiction does...

-Part 2 to follow...

The Wise Owl said...

Part 2:
Section 545.420 Racing on Highways
(a) A person may not participate in any manner in:
(1) a race;
(2) a vehicle speed competition or contest;
(3) a drag race or acceleration contest;
(4) a test of physical endurance of the operator of a vehicle; OR
(5) in connection with a drag race, an exhibition of vehicle speed or acceleration or to make a vehicle speed record.
(b) in this section:
(1) "Drag Race" means operation of:
(A) two or more vehicles from a point side by side at accelerating speeds in a competition attempt to outdistance each other; or
(b) one or more vehicles over a common selected course, from the same place to the same place, for the purpose of comparing the relative speeds or power of acceleration of the vehicle or vehicles in a specified distance or time.
(2) "Race" means the use of one or more vehicles in an attempt to:
(A) outgain or outdistance another vehicle or preventanother vehicle from passing;
(B) arrive at a given destination aheaad of another vehicle or vehicles; or
(C) test the physical stamina or endurance of an operator over a long distance driving route.
(c) [Blank]...(Really!)
(d) Except as provided by Subsections (e)-(h), an offense under Subsection (a) is a Class B misdemeanor
...Subsections (e)-(h) would definitely NOT apply to you...so I'll spare myself the typing exercise....A Class B Misd. is technically punishable by a fine not to exceed $2,000.00, or Jail for up to 180 days, -OR- Both.
PLUS: you will have your license suspended for an entire year! (Section 521.350) - upon a conviction of this offense. The section does say "automatically".

Section 545.401 Reckless Driving; Offense,
(a) A person commits an offense if the person drives a vehicle in wilful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property.
(b) An offense under this section is a misdemeanor punishable by:
(1) a fine not to exceed $200;
(2) confinement in county jail for not more than 30 days; or
(3) both the fine and confinement.
(c) Notwithstanding Section 542.001 (Vehicles operated on a public roadway), this section applies to:
(1) a private access way or parking area provided for a client or patron by a business, other than a private residential property or the property of a garage or a parking lot for which a charge is made for the storing or parking of vehicles; and
(2) a highway or other public place.
...I don't know if Austin bases its traffic citations on the Racing on Highway or Reckless Driving statutes, or whether there is a City Ordinance covering "Exhibition of Acceleration"...I don't have access to Austin City Ordinances to be able to say. Sounds like they're just charging it as a Class C Misd. (Fine not to exceed $500.00), rather than looking at the heavier Class B penalties....
--Either way, TAKE IT TO COURT, and make yourself a good case, show effort to refute the allegation, because that is a bad moving violation on a driving record - for the reasons we discussed. The Racing on Highways statute really doesn't sound like what they wrote you up for; if it was, it should be relatively easy to refute in court. The Reckless Driving is REAL ambiguous sounding, and would need more than what you did to qualify for - again, should be refuteable in court. If it was a city ordinance - try to find the law (library?) and see what they tried to shoehorn your driving into it.
--Anyway, I could find NO "Exhibition of Acceleration" traffic arrest titles in the big traffic code book I got today - I've spent quite some time looking for just such. I also asked some of my co-workers, and they didn't have any better ideas than I about it.
--I guess the closest thing to it is in the "Racing" law, but it requires (in your situation) a competition or contest, or being in connection with a drag race; none of which fits your ticket.
--Also, could they have taken a wheel spin for "exhibition" that might have been momentarily caused by loose dirt or gravel, or a moist spot on the road surface? I've seen that happen many, many times, and a "motorcycle cop" might claim that as the basis for the charge - should be easily refuteable - take a photo of the spot where he claimed it happened. Ask the court, if that was the case, how such can easily occur to anyone, and is certainly not an exhibition of acceleration.
--Just what form of "contest" or "competition" was it that the officer claims you were engaged in?
--Do your measurments and photos at the "crimescene"...Please do your calculations and speed formulas - that kind of evidence in court will stupify your average officer into silence (not me of course, since I never write bad tickets!)...
Please let me know if there's anything else I can do to help out!
...P.S. - if you can get a jury, go for it, as at least one of them has likely met up with your "officer friendly" APD type before, & would be naturally sympathetic...Another possible suggestion would be to see if you would be allowed to speak to the judge to see if he would dismiss it on the lack of evidence, since the charge does not fit what kind of driving you were engaged in at the time, nor the Texas Traffic Law statutes (to save him/her needless court time better spent).

I'll be praying that justice is done....keep me apprised...

The Wise Owl said...

Part 3:
If worse comes to worse, beg to be allowed to take a Defensive Driving Course (preferably one of the comedy types), to get the charge stricken from your record. Better to pay even more for that than to have an "Exhibition of Acceleration" tag hung on your rather pristine driving record!