Pulled Over at 3am
Getting pulled over by the cops at 3am after you've left a party is never fun. Its actually quite a soil-your-freaking-pants experience. I try to avoid that set of circumstances at all times. Yet there I was, sitting on the side of Northwest Radial Hwy on Friday night/Saturday morning. Nice, huh?
I'd been at a party at a buddy of mine's house, where over the course of six hours I consumed enough beer to have a sufficiently good time, but not enough to be illegally driving. And at 3, as the party was clearing out, I took off, turning down an offer to crash on the floor. With my new vehicle exactly one week old, I would not have turned down the offer if I was at all impaired for driving. Not that I would have otherwise, but you get the point -- risk-averse was I, with new $21000 wheels. And I left.
About six blocks from Gilby's house, a cop pulled up behind me. I was at the intersection of Fort and Northwest Radial, changed lanes to turn, and he did the same. After we turned, the cherries came on, and I was busted.
I pulled over immediately, confident that there was nothing I could be in trouble for. Wasn't speeding, had signaled properly, all lights were functional (as it was a new vehicle, after all!), and I wasn't drunk. As soon as the cop talked to me for a few moments, he knew that. A perfectly coherent conversation with a guy who smells of Axe but nothing else, and has eyes that are alert, led him to never question my sobriety for a second. But there was another problem.
I'd put my old plates on the car in anticipation of going down to the county treasurer on Monday to pay the sales tax and registration on the car -- the hot pink dealer plates were seriously sissifying my ride. Perusing the county website, it said that it was OK to put your old plates on a new vehicle as long as you're within 30 days of the purchase and have proper proof of ownership in case you're stopped by law enforcement.
Apparently, this is not true. But arguing with the police is a bad idea all of the time, so I said nothing.
The cop thought the vehicle was stolen, asked for proof of ownership, and I provided him with the bill of sale and documents from the dealer. Convinced the car was actually mine, he next wanted proof of insurance. Ah, yeah, see, that's a problem.
While my car was in fact insured, the new cards from State Farm had not yet arrived in my mailbox. I had the old cards from The Colorado with me, but those don't do any good. And a cop isn't exactly going to take my word for it, especially at 3am. He takes all my stuff back to his squad car.
As he leaves me sitting there for what seemed like an eternity, no doubt checking for outstanding warrants, deciding what exactly to charge me with, etc., I'm not gonna lie to you, I was a tad bit frightened. The fact that I knew I wasn't drunk was hardly comforting. All it takes is one renegade cop having a bad night to make accusations and you're defending yourself against false charges. While 99% of the time cops are good honest people who do a fantastic job enforcing the laws, I've seen enough news shows to know it happens enough that the 1% does exist.
After six minutes, he returned and asked me to exit the vehicle. I did so, following his directions to the letter. As I got to the rear of the vehicle, he did standard procedure (from years of watching COPS over my lunchhour) and frisked me for weapons, checked the vehicle for narcotics or open beverages, and finding nothing, then returned to issue the citation. Failure to provide Proof of Insurance, which could be dismissed if I could produce proof within 10 days that I was insured at the time of the citation. And fictitious plates, for having plates registered to The Colorado on my new car. The cop spelled "fictitious" wrong on the ticket, but I was not about to correct him.
He handed me the ticket, told me to "get those plates off the car", to have a nice evening, and drove off.
My court date on the fictitious plates charge is September 11, unless I can get that charge dismissed, which may or may not be possible. Its classified as a "non-moving violation" according to the Douglas County Sherriff, and is a $50 fine plus court costs ($44). Given the option, I'll be happy to pay the fine if I can avoid taking time off work to go appear in court. We'll see what happens. Either way, a trip down to the courthouse is in my plans now this week. Not exactly my idea of a fun time.
Listed below are links to blogs that reference this entry: Pulled Over at 3am.
TrackBack URL for this entry: