10 October 2011

Great moments in Traffic Court

From the Cop side:   Over the 32 years of cop work (I retired, but the new chief asked me to come back part time and help with some stuff) I have been asked many times: “What was the scariest thing you did?”  or “What was the most exciting thing you did?”  or “how many people did you shoot?”  but my favorite was “what was the dumbest person you had to deal with?” 
In order: “I was scared so many time, I lost track”  “I loved getting in vehicle pursuits or going after armed bad guys”  “I don’t answer that question”  and last “some of the traffic tickets I wrote brought out the really dumbass in some people….I mean who wants to get a ticket for shitty driving?” 
Kind of like this:  How to do police work clicky here
 What makes some traffic tickets truly great memories is when the offender request to go to traffic court to contest the ticket.  Let me make this clear, I believe it is a great right we have in this country to be able to go to court…in traffic court like any other court; the burden of proof is with the prosecution---which in most traffic cases is the police officer who wrote the ticket.  I wasn’t even bothered when some of the drivers I cited stood up in court and flat out lied under oath. 

One of my favorites was this overly self important dipshit who was driving a little Porsche one afternoon.  In California they have a Vehicle Code section for blocking intersections during heavy traffic.  You know when the light is about to change and people keep driving into the intersection when traffic is not moving---they just cause it to jam up more because they are in a hurry. 

When I did traffic enforcement, I always tried to be very fair…I would think “what would the average person do in this situation?”  If the average person followed the rules, then so should everybody else.  I was the most generous when doing speed enforcement with radar--- and I still wrote more tickets in those days. 

So, back to the guy in the Porsche.  It was late in the afternoon, traffic was pretty heavy on a Friday and everybody just wanted to get home from work.  (in those day s more folks were working)….and there I was sitting at a red traffic signal waiting for my turn to go through a busy intersection.  If somebody blocked the intersection and it delayed the cross traffic when their signal changed for more than 20 seconds, I’d cite the offender…  well that day I had 3 drivers go ahead into the intersection and block it after their light turned yellow…then the asshole in the Porsche pulled in to.  The cross traffic had to wait for over 40 seconds, so I moved around cars and pulled the Porsche over.

I did the normal “safe” approach, asked for his driver’s license, and stuff.  He responded with: “why do you need that?”  I don’t like to argue, so I just said: “once you provide your license etc, I’ll explain the minor infraction I pulled you over for.” 

Nope…he wanted to know why I pulled him over before he’d provide me with what I asked for.  I told him it didn’t work that way, and if you would please hand me his license etc.  The little turd had to argue with everything I said…but I didn’t engage. 

I finally got his stuff, explained that he had blocked the intersection for cross traffic for over 40 seconds..and of course he asked: “Don’t you have anything better to do?”  (no we had just chased a truck full of burglars an hour before and arrested them at gun point, so we were just relaxing) 

Once I had the dumbass’s license and stuff, I went back to my patrol car and wrote the ticket…when I returned to dumbass, he was indignant that I wrote him a ticket.  He told me: “I’m not signing that ticket.” 

Which I explained was his right, but I would have to call my supervisor over and “she” would explain the same thing I was going to explain about him having to spend the weekend in jail etc.  When dumbass heard the supervisor was a “she”, he said: “the supervisor is a woman?”  He didn’t seem to like that at all. 

He finally signed he ticket…and of course told me he’d take me to court…which he did.  He even brought an attorney!  (for a $75 ticket)

When I was called up in traffic court, I explained the entire incident in great detail….I looked at my notes a few times.  All the attorney could say was: “Officer, I see you looked at your notes, but do you have any recollection of this case without looking at your notes?”
I said: “Why yes I do.”

Attorney: “Officer, how many tickets do your right each month?”

Me: “Oh anywhere from 20 to 40 depending on how much real police work we have to do.” 

Attorney: “well, if you write that many, and it’s been a few months since you wrote my client, how do you recall this incident so well?”

Me (looking at the traffic judge): “your honor, should I answer that?”  Judge dude: “Yes.”

Me: “Because your client was so obnoxious.” 

All the cops, deputies and highway patrol sitting in the back of the court room were laughing their asses off.  it was a good day in traffic court. 


Suz said...

Well he did ask. I hope he wasn't expensive. No wait. I hope he was VERY expensive.

Coffeypot said...

You were so polite to us obnoxious in stead of dip-shit.

CI-Roller Dude said...

Suz, I think that attorney was billing at about $300 an hour---

CP, I did have to "Act" professional....

TheNewMagoo said...

My husband's favourite was the "finger-jabber" as he calls him. Hubs is 6'5 and built like a brick outhouse, and i think a lot of blokes like to prove their manliness or some such... Finger Jabber got pulled over for not wearing his seat belt. Finger Jabber starts effing and blinding - waste of time, get out and catch real criminals and so forth. Hubs then does the usual vehicle and driving licence checks - turns out he was a disqualified driver, no tax, insurance, or MOT - so hubs has to sieze the car. Finger Jabber ramps it up a bit and starts poking him in the chest whilst shouting. So he arrests him for assaulting a police officer :)
None of that would have happened if he'd have just said "oh yes officer, thankyou for pointing out my folly, i shall put on my seatbelt and be on my way! Toodle-pip!"
Manners do get you everywhere in life.

CI-Roller Dude said...

NM, but if not for stupid people, the cops whould not have jobs!