Tuesday, February 27, 2007

This is so not my week...

What? Why are those lights flashing behind me? Oh, no...I'm being pulled over.

Oh, no, no, no! What am I being pulled over for? For once, I am not speeding...I haven't had enough time to start speeding, rather, but still, that can't be it.

"License and registration."

Nervously pulling license from wallet and handing over.
Leaning over to glove box to grab registration and hand it to him...why couldn't this be happening tomorrow night after I've taken care of the expired registration and updated the license with my new name and address?

"When is your birthday?"
"July 20th."
"When does your registration expire?"

Are you kidding me?!? One more day and this wouldn't be happening.

"July 20th, but I just got married and then moved to a new place, so I was waiting to get everything taken care of at once. I planned to go tomorrow."
"You know there are penalties for being late."
"Yes, but that isn't until next week."
"If I see you tomorrow with these expired stickers, then I'll pull you over and write a ticket for everything I can find."
"I understand. Thank you."

That happened over six and a half years ago. I haven't been pulled over since...until last night.

I pick up my boys from daycare at five o'clock. Their daily reports indicate a need for "diapers" (pull-ups in their case).

Crap! I knew I'd forgotten something at BJ's on Sunday. Good thing tonight isn't a bath night, but I guess I won't be cooking dinner tonight.

"Boys, we're going to the store! Then, we can get some dinner. What do you want for dinner?"
"Hamburger." "Chicken."

As we sit at a stoplight on the way to BJs, they declare they also want french fries. They saw an "M store" (those stupid yellow arches), which is apparently synonymous with french fries...where do they come up with this stuff?

"We can get fries, too, but not from there. And, we still need to go to the store before we get dinner."

Pull-ups are successfully purchased through whines of what we're eating...hamburgers, no, chicken, no chicken, hambugers, etc. I manage to convince them they will each get their food of choice where we're going, including fries and chocolate milk.

I decide to go to the Chili's by BJ's, no sense in driving past our house to go to our usual Chili's when there's one close by. Damn it if I didn't regret that decision a few hours later.

Dinner goes well. Service was fast and efficient. We were on our way home shortly after 6:30; this emergency trip to BJ's hasn't put much of a damper on our evening after all. I choose to avoid the interstate and just take the short cut past the mall instead. Wrong decision again...fuck!

I am going 42 mph (that's what he claims, and I'd agree). I pass a driveway of one of the shopping centers where a police car is waiting to turn onto the same road I'm on. I don't think I'm speeding, so I don't slow down.

A minute later, I hear a brief siren and see the red and blue lights waving at the back of my car.

Shit! What the fuck am I being pulled over for?!?

I sit calmly to wait for the officer to approach my car. The boys find the flashing lights immensely entertaining. Maybe if they'd continued making noise (or if I'd had Big Dog with me, too), I wouldn't be in the predicament I'm in now...who knows. He finally strolls up to my car, shining his brighter than the sun flashlight into my side mirror to blind me a little bit.

"Do you have your license and registration?"

How old is this guy? I'm pretty sure I'm older than he is. Great...I've got some skinny little rookie cop that's gonna want to prove his authority.

"I do."

Hand over license. Retrieve registration and pass that through the window back to him...because he's standing behind my window instead of beside it.

"I pulled you over because you were going 42 in a 30."
"Oh my God. I had no idea it was only 30. I'm so sorry."

Most of that sentence was probably not even heard. I don't speak very loudly, and he'd already begun his retreat to his car. I figure I'll get a warning. I've never had a ticket. Considering that one time I got pulled over was in Florida and was over six years ago and wasn't even a written warning, I didn't see how this could go differently. Clearly I'd forgotten the date, the 26th day of a 28-day month.

So, I now have a speeding ticket. I want to fight it, I really, really do, because I just don't think it was the right thing for him to do. If he'd given a written warning, then I would have accepted it without a problem, but a ticket for someone with nearly 9 years of clean driving history, not even a speck of anything on it? That just doesn't seem like the right course of action.

My case against this would be something like this:

-I don't usually travel on that specific stretch of road. I live in another town and work in another city, which is where I do most of my shopping and conduct most of my personal business. The only reason I venture over to this other area is to go to BJ's, just as I had last night. Usually when I go to BJ's, my return trip is via the interstate back to the road I live off of, which has a speed limit of 55 mph and is the road directly parallel to this 30 mph road. I just remembered there was a back road that connected the two and thought that'd be an easy enough way to go.
-Most similar roads in this area (no residences, no bends or curves, no hidden driveways, two lanes in either direction, stop lights at major intersections that also included left turn lanes, no stop signs), the ones I am more familiar with, are 45 mph, and that is what I assumed this one was, not having seen a sign. (I still want to go back to see if there is a sign posted where I was driving because that would be my strongest case against the ticket if there isn't, but I doubt I'll be that lucky.)
-This was not a high-traffic time, not a weekend, not a holiday, not rush hour. This was Monday night, a little past 6:30.
-There were no cars in the other lane or in front of me. I wasn't passing people on the road, nothing to indicate my speed was too fast.

I'm so upset that this happened because had I made either one of two different choices as to where to eat or which way to go home, I wouldn't have been stopped because I wouldn't have been speeding on those roads, being that they are not 30 mph. I am also quite angry that it seems there may be truth to the rumor that there are monthly quotas to strive for and meet whereas being pulled over at the end of a month is more likely to get you a ticket instead of a warning. I am utterly pissed that it seems this baby-faced cop intended to write me a ticket the moment he decided to pull me over because he didn't even care to hear what I had to say about the reason he'd pulled me over nor did he comment on my spotless record. I want to show up for my court date and plead my case, but I don't want to end up regretting that, too, so right now, I don't know what I'm going to do. I've got until April 3rd to figure it out, though. April 3rd...I wonder if it was even possible to get a later date than that.


Jomama said...

That sucks. I feel your pain. And I believe that end of the month quota thing. They are lined up on 64 at the end of every month. I'm leaving work now and you've got me paranoid. I hope they throw the ticket out. It all depends on the judge.

Chebbles' Mama said...

It's definitely worth it to see if the signage isn't good. I had a parking ticket dismissed in Boston that way. Good luck!

Celebrate Woo-Woo said...

jomama - I forgot about how they always pop up in mass quantities at the end of the month on 64, so now I believe it even more.

chebbles' mama - I really hope there wasn't a sign from where I turned to where I got stopped, but I have a feeling there probably was; I just missed it because I have two kids in the backseat wanting me to pick up the crayons they dropped on the floor;>

Garrett said...

Are you really this shallow?

Celebrate Woo-Woo said...

garrett - I'm not sure how much you've read of my blog, but I realize that many of my more recent posts may come across as shallow and 'woe is me' (wanting the perfect ring, hair issues, a speeding ticket), but I have a lot of angles to my personality, and they will all come across in this blog at some point or another. I read your post at your blog, and believe me, I am not ungrateful for what I am blessed to have (I have some of those more grateful posts here, too), and I am lucky enough to not have had any of my less wise choices in life cause any irreparable damage, but I also know that in everything we experience and suffer through, we can learn from it. I hope you'll be happy again soon. Thanks for stopping by.

general said...

Getting a ticket sucks!

But, as an ex-cop, I can tell you this...give a shot to fighting it...maybe you'll get lucky and the cop won't show. But, the explanation that you've outlined here, will fall under the "ignorance is no excuse" category. Especially if there was a speed limit sign on the road.

But, it couldn't hurt to try?

Celebrate Woo-Woo said...

general - Thank you for the advice to take my chances to fight it. I completely understand that my explanation is pointless if there was a sign posted, which is why I was hesitant to fight it...don't you have to pay the ticket plus court costs if you lose?

fringes said...

Dang. I feel like I jinxed you! Sorry!

Celebrate Woo-Woo said...

fringes - I was pretty sure I was jinxing myself as I typed my comment that day. Too bad those psychic abilities don't work more regularly;>

k8 said...

don't let the man git ya down.

Celebrate Woo-Woo said...

k8 - Haha;> I've got shopping plans for today, so I am definitely no longer feeling down.

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