Wednesday, February 07, 2007

I'll Get Sprung with a Little Help from My Friends

I got a traffic violation today, and I'd like to contest it. Here's the scenario; please advise!

The scene: a residential neighborhood, a school bus route, freshly fallen snow on the ground
The cast:
  • a handsome, young-at-heart editor, regularly cited as an exemplary driver by the state and his insurance company, eager to get to work but mindful of local traffic laws and, more important, the safety of young children waiting for their bus
  • a malicious, power-hungry police officer desperate to fill a traffic violation quota

OK. That was petty. I admire the police, and the police I know are good people charged with a good task. I quote Joe Friday from Dragnet: Just the facts.

I'm accused of rolling through a stop sign. The same officer accused me of the same violation in the recent past, only one block away from the current crime scene. I don't think I rolled through the stop sign, nor did I think I rolled through the other one. But I paid that ticket to avoid the hassle of a court appearance. If I pay this one, I'm afraid, my insurance will go up. To paraphrase Peter MacNichol from 24, this situation has gone from being an irritant to being an obstacle.

It seems to me that what constitutes a full stop is largely a judgment call, and in my judgment I did come to a complete stop both times; in the judgment of the officer, I did not. It struck me as acidly funny that while he was running my plates and writing my ticket, nearly ten cars rolled through the stop sign right in front of us.

I've never contested a ticket, and I'm a little scared to, because I'm not a terribly compelling person. But I don't want my insurance to go up. I think I have a case, but I don't know for sure, and I need help articulating the case. Any takers?

7 comments:

damon said...

Not a lawyer or anything, but you should probably use pork-related word to describe the officer. That will get you off for sure...w

Jenn said...

I don't really know HOW you would go about contesting this. On the other hand, you've probably got a shot at it. I was once involved in a bona fide accident in which I rammed into the side of a car, and I contested the fault. It was (despite what it sounds like) a valid contestation (word?) but I didn't think anyone would believe me--and they did.

Web said...

You could always hope that the officer in question would not show up on the assigned court date.

Unless there is solid proof that you did stop, it's your word vs. the officer's. If that's the case, the infringement will probably stick. But you could always give it a shot because the accusing officer may have a track record of writing an excessive number of tickets that have been challenged.

It would be interesting to note your observation that while your citation was being written, many other motorist violated the same law that you allegedly violated.

I received an identical citation when I lived in MN. The officer was 1/2 mile away when I rolled through the stop sign. After that, I made sure that ALL of my stops were blatent (meaning I purposely paused for 5 seconds or so before continuing) -- which then led to a few cases of road rage against me because the driver behind me thought I was being a jerk.

Craver VII said...

Next time you're pulled over, when the officer approaces your window, try this:

Make a face like you're concentrating real hard, and wait until he takes a breath to repeat himself, then strongly state, "Officer, (pause) I have NOT been drinking." Then go back to the concentrating face.

They love that kind of stuff.

Kristine Socall said...

Uh, Dave? You might have wanted to reconsider the title of your blog post considering the use of the word "sprung" in a song with words like "big butts" and how that might be construed! :-) lol

I had to do a double take when I first looked at the title, but then again, I'm just into puns of a certain nature that I might be the only one who thought such a thing!

;-)

David A. Zimmerman said...

I don't listen to Sir Mixalot. I'm a Christian. :)

I thought I avoided the double-entendre when I changed "I Get Off with a Little Help from My Friends" to "I Get Sprung," but a dirty mind knows no creative limits, I guess. Ahh, for simpler, more innocent times. I recently got an e-mail (from Web, above) about my upcoming high school reunion, and I remembered a classmate who got a ticket and passed a cup through all her classes for spare change to pay the fine. Pretty clever, I thought, but I've never had the moxie to do it myself. Anyone want to pay my insurance?

Mr Steve said...

go all Jim Garrison on them: bring in diagrams of the intersection and show how upon making the "full-stop" your body moved forward and to the left . . .forward and to the left. Then the man on the corner opened his umbrella, and two "children" talked into their sleeves and watched from the shadows.