By on September 16, 2015

095

Earlier in the day on Tuesday, as I drove my brilliant little Ford Fiesta ST on Route 15 through the rolling hills of Kentucky on my way to Kingsport, Tennessee, I was wondering what the topic of my Wednesday column would be.

Thankfully, later in the evening, Kingsport’s Finest solved that issue for me.

In the interest of full transparency, the drive from my home in Central Kentucky to Kingsport should take about four hours, according to MyFordTouch Navigation. I did it in about 3:15, including a stop for a large, unsweetened tea and an apple pie at a McDonald’s along the way. The Fiesta is just too fun for interstate driving, so rather than the I-75 route I could have chosen, I took the Bert T. Combs Mountain Parkway until I reached Route 15, which took me to US 23 into Virginia and then into Tennessee for the final few miles. Obviously, I didn’t adhere to the posted speed limits for the vast majority of the drive.

Naturally, I had been paying attention and keeping a close eye out for law enforcement on the entire drive, but as I got onto I-26 East for the last few miles of my drive, my attention must have lapsed. Sure enough, just minutes away from my exit — after having completed over two hundred miles of hooning on back roads — I saw the lights flashing in my rear view mirror.

I immediately looked down at my speedometer, which read 62. I was in a 55 mph zone. Seriously, dude? On an empty highway, near midnight, you’re pulling me over for seven over the limit? Fine. Whatever. Let’s just get this over with. I slowed and pulled over to a stop on the shoulder of Exit 1.

Being mindful of the current climate for LEOs, I did my best to put him at ease. I placed both hands on the wheel and waited for him to approach. He was a younger officer, probably in his late twenties.

“License and registration, please.” I dutifully handed my license to him, then alerted him that I’d be going into my glovebox to get the registration.

“You were moving right along, weren’t you?” he asked me.

“I don’t think so,” I replied. “How fast did you clock me at?”

“I had you at eighty in a fifty-five.”

I couldn’t help but snort. “No. Not even possible.”

“Oh, you weren’t, huh?” He smirked at me in his most Police Academy-approved manner.

“Nope. Not even close.” I wasn’t trying to be defiant, but he wasn’t going to get me to admit to a speed that was nothing like what I’d actually been doing.

“Well, I’ve been following you for a few miles.”

“No, you haven’t,” I said, matter-of-factly. “In fact, as you can see, I’ve been on this highway for less than a mile.” I pointed to the Exit 1 sign.

“Oh, I was following you before that.”

“Really? When I was in Virginia?” He was a Kingsport, Tennessee cop. Kingsport is right on the border of Tennessee and Virginia. I had literally passed the “Welcome to Tennessee” sign moments before he pulled me over.

He decided to stop engaging with me at that point. “I’m going to go run your license, and I’ll be right back.”

The young officer returned less than two minutes later with a citation for 70 in a 55. “I kept it at 15 so that I wouldn’t have to haul you in tonight,” he said as he handed me the ticket. “Also, I kept it in city court rather than state so that you wouldn’t have to make a physical appearance. You can just mail in the fine by the court date, which I set for two months from now.”

barkticket

Aha. Upon further review, he hadn’t “clocked” me at all. He had paced me. He kept the ticket at a reasonable cost — around $100. He also made it much easier for me to pay it than contest it, virtually ensuring that there was no way that I’d come from out of state and actually appear for my court date. My guess is that Officer Jacob sits there and waits for cars to cross the border at night, pegging them with cheap tickets that won’t ever actually appear on their driving records because they’re from out of state — that is, unless they fail to pay it. It’s a foolproof method of revenue generation for the city. They know I won’t contest it, and neither will the dozens of other drivers they pull over for similarly bogus traffic crimes.

As he walked away, Officer Jacob said, “Slow it down, okay? We’ve had three fatality accidents out here recently.” Yes, because driving at 62 in a 55 on a deserted highway is so clearly and obviously unsafe. I’m fortunate that I didn’t kill a busload of children with my reckless behavior.

I absolutely should fight this ticket. I should stand up for the little guy everywhere. I know that I wasn’t going anywhere near 70, much less the 80 he originally claimed. I’d like to pull Officer Pacecar off of his nightly shift and make him show up for my court date, too, just so I can see his dashcam. I’d like to inconvenience anyone and everyone involved in this scam.

But guess what? My time is worth more than the $108.75 this ticket will cost me, and they know that. It won’t appear on my Kentucky license, so it won’t affect my driving record, my job, or my insurance.

In other words, despite the relative injustice of it all, I’ll be mailing a check (I think I still have checks somewhere) to the Kingsport Police Records Division, just like the good little lawbreaker I am. Score one for the good guys.

Actually, in this case, there really are no good guys, are there?

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

128 Comments on “Bark’s Bites: I Won’t Fight This Ticket, But I Should...”


  • avatar
    bball40dtw

    You can use online bill pay instead of checks, says this Michigan driver who used to drive his Focus ST through the states of Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio.

  • avatar
    DeadWeight

    Ford should pay for all your fast food.

    And maybe your tickets, too.

    True story.

  • avatar
    energetik9

    Yeah, that’s crap. Is it possible he wrote you up since you challenged him? Maybe he was annoyed because you took a po-po selfie?

    In the end, it just depends on how much this bothers you. I’d probably pay it too.

    And don’t think I didn’t see your personalized plate there :)

    • 0 avatar
      everybodyhatesscott

      Yeah, that might be it. Or the cop is just an a-hole. I got one of these tickets with a holier than though “Slow, down. You’re going way too fast” No amount of “community building” will offset the goodwill destroyed by chincy tickets.

      • 0 avatar
        Luke42

        This!

        As a white guy, almost all of my contact with law enforcement has been in situations like this.

        The last bogus easier-to-pay-than-to-get-a-fair-hearing ticket for me was in Florida, about 9 years ago. I was rolling in the right lane behind 5 cars, but I had out of state plates and got nailed. Furthermore, the ticket was a bit over $100, but I was informed that if I showed up in court to chalretg the ticket and lost, the court costs would be around $500. Oh ‘and, if p’ui a little extra’ and did Nome additional paperwork, they’d neglect to ynfocm my insurance company and my home state. That ticket helped me realize that there is no justice in traffic citations, and that getting caught by the toll troll is just a cost of doing business. I lost a lot respect for law enforcement that day, but I’m for more pragmatic as a result.

        With revenue trolling and DWBs as their primary community outreach efforts, the police are puzzled about why they’ve lost public support…

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    Kingsport has a very comprehensive website!

  • avatar
    JasonH

    You should fight it, for everybody who has been shaken down in the same manner. At least you would get another column out of it.

    • 0 avatar

      I agree completely. Fight the damn ticket, and write about it.

      I recommend membership in the National Motorists Association for help fighting tickets.

    • 0 avatar
      MBella

      You could always hire a lawyer for a few hundred more.

    • 0 avatar
      Zekele Ibo

      It’s a bit late now to try contesting the ticket. He’s made (and published!) a written confession saying he was speeding at the time of the interception, so we’re only debating what speed will be recorded for the conviction. He also admits (again, in his written confession) that he was distracted and didn’t notice the officer’s vehicle, so maybe he wasn’t watching his speed so closely either. The officer paced the vehicle at 70 in a 55. The only defense presented in the written confession was to accuse the officer of corruption.

      I rest my case.

      #DevilsAdvocate

    • 0 avatar
      brn

      If you are 100% sure that the story depicted above is accurate, I would encourage you to fight it. If this stuff happens unchecked, it will continue. That’s why our system has checks and balances.

      If, upon reflection, you’re not so sure, you should retract this article. I hate bogus enforcement, but I hate bogus anti-cop rhetoric at least as much.

      Keep in mind that it’s very possible the officer had his dash cam running. Many modern cams tie into the vehicles system and will record the speed. It’s also very possible that if a cam was running, the officer would also have had a microphone on him to record the conversation.

      If these systems are in place, they will prove you right or wrong. Right now, all TTAC readers have is hearsay. You should be able to request a copy of the recording (different states have different laws, so you may only be able to get it if you fight the ticket). Please report back and post the video!

  • avatar
    87 Morgan

    In our current environment, I am not apt to get all excited about this interface with the local constabulary. My suspicion is that officer Jacob was doing exactly as he has been instructed to do by his superior. So, I have no gripe with him, he most likely has a family to feed and likes his job for the most part and would like to keep it. So he plays along with this BS game that is played all across small town America. The involuntary tax.

    If it is at all feasible for you to appear in court, I would do so. My issue would stand on principle that no one has the right to extort cash from you, even the local board of selectmen who need to justify their budget.

    However, as someone who perhaps could be accused of being a career criminal behind the wheel for constant unrepentant speeding, we all get tagged from time to time. So most likely, you were ‘nabbed’ while actually innocent but perhaps guilty of an infraction five minutes prior to arriving on office Jacob’s scene. Perhaps call it karma, or some outer influence that kept you from laying it down on the onramp where a herd of deer was moon bathing or something. Hence Saving your life. Yup, just pay it and have a great day!

    • 0 avatar
      JimC2

      Um, no, don’t get too emotional over poor officer Jacob’s plight. He wears a uniform, has a badge, has a weapon, has special powers, and took at OATH to do the right thing. Don’t make excuses for him that he is just “doing what the man told him to do.”

      Regardless of Bark’s motoring escapades, officer Jacob writing up B.S. tickets after he took that OATH means that Jacob’s word is garbage. Since a man’s word is his bond, officer Jacob’s value as a man is therefore garbage. Q.E.D.

      Just calling it as I see it. I hope I hurt somebody’s feelings too.

  • avatar
    an innocent man

    >The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.<

    Your time is worth more than the cost of the ticket, yes. You should start a Gofundme campaign to cover whatever you think your time would be worth to fight this. Hell, even make a little. I'd sure contribute, as I'm sure a few here would. Plus it'd be a great story.

  • avatar
    kvndoom

    It’s lose/lose… for drivers to eliminate this kind of BS behavior by cops, they will have to consent to tracking and logging devices in their cars to prove they weren’t going X speed at Y time of day. Of course it might show some other things you really didn’t want anyone to know.

    So, which evil do you live with?

  • avatar
    Jack Baruth

    I think that’s going to show up on your license; TN and KY have reciprocity don’t they?

    • 0 avatar
      Land Ark

      And it will absolutely affect your insurance. It doesn’t matter what state it happens in.

      Everyone should fight their tickets because not only is it not worth your time to fight, it costs the courts more than the fine to have the hearing. Hit the bench and take as much time as you can. If everyone did it, it might change the way they do business. Or… raise the fines… hmmm.

      • 0 avatar
        RHD

        Charging “court costs” is completely bogus. The court would have the same costs whether you were there fighting an infraction or not. Justice should not come with a price tag.
        Where I live, if you are found guilty after a trial, the fine is the same, unless evidence is presented (and found to be true) that you were going faster than what was on the ticket.
        If you set it for trial and Officer Jason does not show up, you are found not guilty, as there is no evidence presented against you.
        However, at least where I live, every officer gets three hours of overtime for just showing up to traffic court.

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      According to the Kentucky Office of Highway Safety, out of state speeding tickets don’t count as points on your Kentucky record, unless it was with a commercial vehicle. Other violations, like reckless driving, do show up with the appropriate number of points.

    • 0 avatar
      VolandoBajo

      Reciprocity would kick in only if the local court sends the information to the state MVA or DMV, as the case may be. Or if the courts’ computer systems feed directly into the state agency’s system.

      And many of them still do not…the courts have resisted for years having to open up their own computer systems to outside scrutiny, even by other judicial agencies, much less to executive branch agencies.

      But on the other hand, I wouldn’t rely on the court’s representation that the ticket won’t appear either. In NJ the traffic court judges issue a disclaimer before each traffic court session saying that what they do in the courtroom has no control or effect either way regarding either driver license points or insurance points, and that the defendant should consult with counsel and/or directly with those entities to ascertain how they will handle a conviction, before deciding how to plead.

      Oftentimes in the past, it was the influence of the insurance companies on the state legislatures, who in turn had funding authority over state and local legal and administrative agencies, that was the root cause of so many BS citations, as people would pay the hundred dollars or so, and then later find out that their insurance had gone up by several hundred dollars a year for three to five years or more.

      The locals have gotten into the game as well, but I suspect more as a “me too” response, rather than being the prime cause.

      In Virginia, between Richmond and Northern Virginia, there is a small county that receives well over ninety per cent of its total government operating expense from the traffic citations that are issued on the short stretch of I-95 that runs through their county. Or at least that was true a few years ago, when it began to attract some attention in the press. Whether that changed things or not, I don’t know, as I am not privy to some of the info I used to be privy to.

      Another famous racket like that was in NC, where an interstate clipped about a three to five mile corner of one county. The speed limit dropped there from 65 to 55, and the majority of the traffic, being local, just kept plunking along at about 72 to 74 mph, confident that they wouldn’t be stopped.

      And the state troopers would be out there, picking out out of state cars from the middle of packs of cars all running in the low seventies, singling them out for tickets.

      I know. They got me. Once. After that, since I used to have to travel that way several times a year back then, I would either not care that I was slowing down almost bumper to bumper traffic, or I would make a detour to a nearby BBQ pit for lunch, on roads that kept me out of that county.

      And I crossed off all the BBQ pits in the offending county from my list of BBQ pits I wanted to try. Wouldn’t spend another dollar there. And never have.

      But they cost me about a hundred on court day, and the afore-mentioned several hundred a year auto insurance for some time after.

      I once got to know a local police officer who dared to file a complaint against a former mayor who would speed to police calls at night in his sports car, with his personal lights flashing. He was a hazard to safety but none of the other cops would do anything about it, until he did. He got busted, but was months away from a masters degree, so he felt he had nothing to lose but his integrity if he didn’t act.

      And I once asked him his personal assessment of the average officer. His reply: about one third are truly dedicated, and do all that they can to do their job the right way. About one third are just putting in the time, dodging the hard calls, and just riding it out to a pension. And about a third will do whatever they have to and say whatever they have to, to make a case they feel they are right about, whether they have any evidence or not.

      I tend to think his assessment is probably accurate for a lot of LEO’s, with some a bit worse and some a bit better.

      But it is scary when you see some of the departments where they have a percentage of officers who look like they have lived in a SoCal gym for the last decade, and who are exempt from drug testing, especially if you know anything about ‘roid rage.

      But it is what it is, whether you like it or not. And it goes a long way towards explaining a lot of recent headlines.

  • avatar
    W.Minter

    Seriously, get a dashcam with GPS, microphone, small SD card and continous recording. Something like a GS2000 from aliexpress.
    Or even better, get two. One for the front, one for the back.

  • avatar
    HillbillyInBC

    Hope you enjoyed your drive through my ancestral homeland of Letcher County, at least. I grew up just a few miles down Rockhouse Creek from KY 15.

    One minor bit of pedantry: 15 took you only as far as Whitesburg, where you had to pick up US 119 to Jenkins to reach US 23.

  • avatar
    Matt Foley

    My guess is a LEO in VA spotted Bark (but couldn’t actually clock or pace him) and radioed ahead to the LEO in Kingsport. Bummer.

    • 0 avatar
      kosmo

      I think you’ve got it, Matt. Small town LEOs keep in close touch, regardless of State lines.

      TTAC should fund your fight in this matter, Bark. We would all follow it with numerous clicks resulting!

    • 0 avatar
      05lgt

      The hearsay didn’t even have to be an LEO. Someone who saw Bark speeding by may well have placed a call to a friend who did something about the “problem”. I’ve gotten that ticket. No way the Deputy was going to admit or say anything about it, but I saw the farmers I half drove, half flew by. Pretty damn sure they’re why I got a ticket for a speed I wasn’t doing.

    • 0 avatar
      carrya1911

      I sincerely doubt that someone from another jurisdiction radioed another jurisdiction to tell them to ticket a blue Fiesta.
      Bark’s hunch is most likely right: he drove through a revenue generation zone when the fishing was slow and got nabbed.

  • avatar
    CJinSD

    This is one of those times I think about the police that have said that they can die during any routine traffic stop. Shake down rackets are dangerous for everyone.

  • avatar

    I would still hire a local attorney there and have them represent you. I am sure they can make a deal with the DA for a reduced fine and you won’t have to risk having that reported. I know TN is not part of the Drivers License Compact but they still have agreements with lots of states through other compacts to transfer certain information about violations.

  • avatar
    319583076

    The first thing I’d look into is the validity of “paced” speeding tickets in the local courts, i.e. – speak to a local attorney or three. IF the courts uphold this nonsense, well you’re not going to win and you got grifted by local law enforcement. However, if there is precedent for contesting “paced” speeding tickets and you present a credible story and the court doesn’t endorse what the LEOs are doing, it’s probably worth fighting it. If you’re successful, it will be more difficult for the LEOs to keep running their scam.

  • avatar
    Halftruth

    While I am sympathetic to the danger LEOs face everyday, I absolutely have zero patience for predatory cash grabbing. This kind of thing pisses people off. No wonder there is a huge anti-cop sentiment nowadays.

    • 0 avatar
      Dan

      Yep.

      The Mike Browns and Joe Shanks of this world have always hated cops. They always will hate cops. They’re why we have cops. But making those same cops the administrators of the driving tax is a long step towards making safe and respectable people to hate cops too.

      Raise the gas tax a penny if they need the money so badly.

      • 0 avatar
        Lou_BC

        @Dan, @HalfTruth – I do agree. Even cops look down upon traffic cops. My brother-in-law is a Sergeant. The topic of traffic tickets came up and his wife said, “better a sister in a whore house than a brother in traffic”.
        Some cops prefer traffic because it is simple. You don’t need to worry too much about making an investigation error and set free a killer. You issue tickets and you get pre-set court dates for ticket disputes and most people rather pay the fine then fight.
        Easy way to accumulate pensionable hours.

  • avatar
    -Nate

    A number of ways you can fight this B.S. shakedown ;

    First and foremost would have been to display the Cop’s information you blocked on the ticket , the other is a simple letter campaign , they’re easy to write and do get more attention than most realize .

    Agreed you admit to other infractions , that’s why I rarely ever contest my once every ten year or so tickets but always , _ALWAYS_ contest any shakedown or bullshit .

    What this bubba junior Officer did was un American at it’s core and should never be rewarded by simple compliance .

    -Nate

  • avatar
    1998redwagon

    2 keys here. one is known the other is unknown. (oh oh, i hear the rumsfeld quote coming on …. but i digress …)

    1. the fact that the officer did you a ‘favor’ and kept the ticket in the city court.

    2. as mentioned above the relationship the local courts have with the police department.

    #1 you cannot change. #2 is unknown without additional inquiry with an honest local officer, lawyer or judge.

    my guess is that the relationship in #2 is special and unlikely to change.

    perhaps you should be happy it is only the first time you have been pulled over considering the frequency of the trip and your average speed.

    when something like this happens to me i know i am pissed off to no end. when i think about it rationally i am bummed i got caught.

    “your comment is awaiting moderation.” what is this? never had to wait for ‘moderation’ before.

  • avatar
    chuckrs

    The problem with the “lets you and them fight” comments is that Mr Bark was speeding. An honest answer to the question “How fast were you going?” gets him ticket and court costs.
    After putting 100k miles on two red Porsches, I was finally stopped. First ticket in 14 years (damn Alfa was also red). RI has a wonderful law called the Good Driver Statute. If you have no tickets in the prior 3 years, show up in traffic court and request it and the stop Never Happened. Pay the nice lady on your way out. We’ll keep it between ourselves and the insurance company will be none the wiser, heh, heh.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      We have an even better law in some ways in WA. If you’ve got a clean record you can ask for the ticket to be suspended, once every 7 years. They will suspend the ticket and you pay a small court fee and if you don’t get another ticket in the next year that initial ticket does not show up anywhere on your record. If you do get a ticket in that time you are then liable for the full cost of the original ticket and of course the new ticket. I invoked that privilege several years ago.

      • 0 avatar
        chuckrs

        Scoutdude – the ticket is immediately and permanently gone, not suspended. Can do it all over again at 3 years and a day later. Just pay the state and they are happy. Only works if you are not written for more than 10 over, I think. On the road I was driving, during commute times, it is actually dangerous to drive the posted limit due to the 20-30mph differential between posted and most driver’s actual speed. The hot shoes are often 40 over.

        • 0 avatar
          Scoutdude

          That is not what I was told back when I used that option. It was suspended and I would be charged with it had I received another ticket in the next 365 days. He didn’t tell me that since you were only going X over just that it is an option should I want it and think I could go a year w/o getting another ticket. Normally a cop won’t write a ticket for less than 10 over unless you are in a school zone, work zone, residential street with a 25-30mph limit, or are just an ass when he pulls you over.

          Now that did happen a long time ago so the rules on it certainly may have changed.

      • 0 avatar
        rpn453

        Saskatchewan has you guys beat in that regard. Since they have noticed no correlation between speeding tickets and accident rates, speeding tickets have no effect on insurance costs.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    Becoming increasingly convinced dash cam with telemetry data is the way to go – it’s one thing they got right in Russia in the driving department to deal with crooked drivers and crooked cops.

    • 0 avatar
      zamoti

      I had considered that for myself, but because I tend to speed a fair amount, I would worry that it would do more harm than good if ever reviewed. Unless I was able to keep the recording window to perhaps a minute or two, there would be a lot of bad behavior in that video.

      • 0 avatar
        mazdaman007

        I have a dash cam and that was my thought as well. For example, if you attempt to introduce it as evidence to prove your innocence (more likely, just reduce your guilt a bit), can the court then demand you turn over the entire recording ? I suppose it all depends on the jurisdiction where it happened.

  • avatar
    mister steve

    “a large, unsweetened tea…”

    UNsweetened tea? That alone will get you a ticked in this parts, son.

    • 0 avatar
      nickoo

      Sweet tea is disgusting and so are you. Enjoy your obesity and ‘beetus.

      • 0 avatar
        VolandoBajo

        Your pompous self-righteousness and diet-nazism are disgusting.

        I drink several Cokes a day, and have since I was teenager, decades ago, weigh 170 and am 5’10” so not obese, and my fasting blood sugar, and all my lab tests, came back normal a couple of months ago.

        So enjoy your narrow mindedness while you can. But remember, people who have never smoked sometimes die of lung cancer, and people who don’t like sugar still get diabetes, so the Reaper may be laughing behind your back as you read this.

  • avatar
    Dan

    I always justify the tickets I’ve had that I didn’t deserve as just making up for the others that I deserved but didn’t get.

    It beats getting angry over a petty robbery like this one. Life goes on.

  • avatar
    ...m...

    …fight it: we all have a civic duty to make these “protection” rackets cost the state more than they’re worth, as that’s our only effectual mechanism to keep them in check…yes, it will cost well more in your time and trouble, and in the end they’ll drop your case before it goes to trial, but the satisfaction of knowing that you’ve done your part to make the world a better place is worth it…

    …it’s also a worthwhile exercise in brushing up on your pro se legal skills, which are sadly a requisite part of contemporary society…speaking from personal experience, receiving a package of evidence requiring hours upon hours of clerical work from the police department in addition to a letter from the state attorney general culminating a not-inconsiderable smackdown of the municipal prosecutor felt very nice indeed, and shortly afterward the fabricated speed trap disappeared, to boot…

    …the dashcam’s there for your protection just as much as the police, so subpoena it!..likewise, if you suspect a pattern of fabricated stops, get those public records, recent histories for both the location and officers involved…

    …remember, it’s the state’s burden to prove your guilt, and in these cases reasonable doubt is typically just sitting right out there in the open: they only get away with it if we let them do so…

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Cops can be dicks, but frequently in the case organized highway extortion the orders come from above. In this state, it is technically illegal to mandate a ticket quota but guess what while it isn’t mandated its suggested in a “nudge nudge it will be good for your career” kind of way. I don’t know how things work in the South, but I know things don’t seem to work the same way down there based on my experience. If this occurred on the border of TN, I’m sure its a common ploy to catch people coming from VA. Who are the real criminals?

    • 0 avatar
      carrya1911

      There are entire localities in Virginia that seem to exist for no other purpose but to be a speed trap. Boone’s Mill, for example.

      • 0 avatar
        cdotson

        Google Hopewell million dollar mile.

        That s-hole has been mining gold on a lightly-traveled 6-lane (8 in places) divided controlled access bypass highway for years. Speed limit 70; 80mph is still reckless driving. And they lie too; a former coworker of mine was passing through with his cruise control at 77 in his beige older Camry on his way to meet me for a business trip to NC and was handed a ticket for 81mph. He had to appear in court to knock it down to 79 to keep from getting a reckless driving conviction.

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        Virginia has always been on the cutting edge of progressive politics. Their Republican party was statist when Ronald Reagan was leading the nation. The national Republicans are Democrat-lite today, but Virginia Republicans were picking who could be on their primary ballot over a decade ago. Rick Santorum is the sort of RINO that likes to strip people of their freedom of movement, just like people taking Thomas Steyer’s bribes to make the most basic freedoms elite privileges.

  • avatar
    wrxtasy

    Two years ago I was driving to Boston-area from my home to visit a then-girlfriend. Driving on a deserted highway at around 10pm in a WRB wrx (read: cop bait), doing maybe 60 in a 55, my rear view filled up with obvious charger headlights, maybe a deck of cards from my bumper. Car blows by on the right, charger R/T, aftermarket exhaust, civilian wheels, tints, etc. He proceeds to cat and mouse me for a few miles. Eventually hes tailgating me to the point where I drop two gears and change lanes, making for the next exit.

    Cue the lights and sirens. Reckless, 92 in a 65. Son of a bitch was laughing as he handed over my ticket. I now have a dash cam and a deep resent for connecticut staties. Also was rhe ticket that forced me to switch rides or face $2000+ a year in insurance plus “operator retraining”

  • avatar
    dal20402

    Interesting. I’ve had my share of racket tickets in my life, but never had a cop try to add 15 mph to my speed. At most they might have added a mph or two — little enough that I’d be unsure if it was happening.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      They always exaggerate the number and then cut it back as if they doing you a favor.

      My 90+ yo father-in-law got a ticket East of Indio, CA, and was told he was doing 88 in a 70mph stretch of I-10. At 90+ yo he never speeds. His reaction time is non-existent. If anything, he always drives under the speed limit.

      When the cop wrote the ticket he said, “I’m writing it for 10-over (80 in a 70 mph zone), as if he was doing my FIL a favor. Still cost him $367. Wrote it off as a business expense.

      My son was a CHiP for 12 years before moving up to Federal Civil Service, and “mining the highway” was routinely done while he was a cop to pad the chronically underfunded coffers of courts.

      • 0 avatar
        Scoutdude

        That, thankfully, has not been my experience. The most recent time I got pulled over I was coming back from a late meeting in E. WA and was rolling down I90 in the middle of nowhere at 80mph. There was a WSP sitting in the median and when his lights came on I double checked the speedo and it was dead on 80mph. The officer said he had me on radar at 80mph and asked for my documents. I was sitting there wondering exactly how long it had been since my last ticket for reasons you’ll see below when he came back and said have a nice night and slow it down a bit.

        The time before that was back when the WSP had recently acquired a batch of Chargers. I wasn’t yet trained to look for them and he had paced me for some distance before he turned on the lights. He quoted me what I saw on my speedo, 15 over but wrote the ticket at 10 over. That time the judged informed me of my right to pay the court costs and ask for the ticket to be suspended. Court costs were more than half of that particular ticket but as long as I didn’t get another ticket in the following year it would not go on my record. You can do that once every 7 years or at least that was the rule at the time.

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          Usually, law enforcement on the roads gets especially frisky near the end of the Fiscal year.

          They usually start running out of budgeted money ~ Aug. And they hate it when an offender decides to take it to court. Oh, it’s so much simpler and cheaper just to cash the checks or money orders

          When an offender takes it to court, it takes the cop off the highway to testify, it takes time and money to conduct the hearing/trial. Can’t make any money from the highway if the cop is tied up in court.

          So the judges usually strike a deal, like the offender pleads “no contest”, does not make an admission of guilt, but makes a donation to something like a State Charity PLUS court costs.

          It is rare for the cops to “fock with the motorists” Oct – March, unless you just blatantly blow past a cop at 20mph over the speed limit.

          • 0 avatar
            Scoutdude

            Around here the WSP does more sitting and taking radar at the end of each month, they have to meet their quotas. So on the state hwy near me where there are a couple of good places to hide 3 or 4 of them will usually be found the last 1-3 days of the month or the last weekend of the month.

  • avatar
    bludragon

    My main take away is how much more expensive things are in CA. I was done for 80 in a 70, and it cost me the best part of $400 to pay the fine and for traffic school.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      What’s worse is if you get a ticket for driving too slow on the Interstate, forcing Big Rigs to pass you, thus backing up all traffic behind them.

      One year, my foreman drove a trailer load of tile, grout and thinset at 45mph on I-10 going up a slow incline near Blythe, CA. It took everything his Silverado 2500 had to get up the incline with that loaded trailer.

      Well, this caused the Big Rigs to have to pass him on the left, straining to get up the same incline, thus backing up cars, SUVs, CUVs and other light duty traffic for miles behind him.

      He got a ticket for “obstructing the free flow of traffic”. IIRC, that cost us, the business, ~$400 as well.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    As do most states, Tennessee has maximum speed limits. With a maximum limit, exceeding it is illegal even if safe.

    Unless you can create doubt about the cop’s ability to have determined your speed (and you probably can’t) or have some sort of technical or procedural argument, you don’t really have a case.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      While you may not have a case in my experience showing up at the hearing will usually get the fine cut in half. Whether that is worth it or not of course depends on where that hearing is at and whether you’ll loose money from taking time off of work or not. In my state as mentioned above you can get a ticket suspended, if your driving record is clean for the last 7 years, and avoiding the effect that a ticket would have on your insurance for several years to come is definitely worth making the appearance.

      Many years ago I got pulled over in OR and on the back of the ticket one of the boxes to check indicated something like: “I admit to committing the infraction but wish to explain the circumstances, by mail”. I had to mail in the full amount of the fine with my letter of explanation and about a month or so later I got a check for half of that amount back. So it was definitely worth spending 5 minutes writing the letter.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        It’s not unusual for courts to make it more costly to fight. It depends upon the circumstances.

        • 0 avatar
          Scoutdude

          It depends on the location possibly but they have rules to follow so they have to act equally to all parties.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            No, administrative fees and such are often imposed upon those who fight but are not assessed on those who don’t. A cynic would say that the goal is to discourage defendants from pleading not guilty.

          • 0 avatar
            Scoutdude

            I’ve never had an administrative fee added to any ticket I fought. In every single instance where the judge determined that I had committed the infraction, the fine was cut in half for taking the time to show up in court.

            In one case of defective equipment the fine was dropped completely when I showed up with the receipts for putting on the new muffler.

            The only time I paid an administrative fee was when I choose the option of having the ticket suspended. Based on the cases before mine the judge was likely to cut the fine in half which actually would have meant a few less dollars out of my pocket at that time. However the savings of not having a ticket on my record was likely to have a lower long term cost.

  • avatar
    gasser

    How is this any different than the stories of being stopped for bribes by police in Moscow??
    Be very glad you weren’t a dark skinned minority member or you might have ended up cuffed just from what you respectfully said to the officer.

    • 0 avatar
      brn

      Why do you assume he isn’t “dark skinned”? Who says the officer isn’t also?

      How did you turn this into a race thing? Oh yea, because you want it to be a race thing.

      There’s only evidence of one racist in this entire post and comment section. That’d be you.

  • avatar
    Charlie84

    “Upon further review, he hadn’t “clocked” me at all. He had paced me.”

    How well would this hold up to being challenged in court? Don’t they need harder evidence than that (i.e., a radar reading)?

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      Radar can be used to determine speed, but its use is not mandatory.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      Charlie84, the cops go by distance-markers on or near the road deck. They’re trained in that measurement technique.

      The time it takes to go from one marker to the next determines the offender’s vehicle speed.

      On the Turnpikes, they measure from when and where you entered the Turnpike to when and where you exited.

      The time traveled determines your speed.

      I always stop in at one of the median rest stops for a Dunkin’ Donuts or whatever to soak up some time, because I usually cruise at 85+mph on the Bigroads, like the Turnpikes.

      • 0 avatar
        Charlie84

        So does it come down to the cop’s word against yours? Couldn’t the officer make anything up, or must there be video evidence that a driver passed x distance markers in y time?

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          “So does it come down to the cop’s word against yours”

          It does, but the courts favor the sworn police officer’s testimony.

          That said, the cops are under an enormous amount of pressure to make their time on the highway pay; pay for the patrol car, pay for their wages, pay for the court system, pay for… well, just about anything and everything.

          There’s gold in them thar roads! Hence, “mining the highway.”

          There have been several jurisdictions across the nation where the Feds have stepped in over the decades and declared those “speed traps” illegal and unlawful. Made the news several times.

          That said, way back in 1985, I got a speeding ticket on I-10 near Wilcox in AZ (116/85) on my BMW bike, and the officer was a Babe!!!

          If I wasn’t married…..

          She must have seen the lust and admiration in my eyes, because she cut me some slack, (95/85).

          Back then it was only $65 for 10 over.

        • 0 avatar
          Pch101

          Cops were issuing speeding tickets long before there was radar and video. In a he-said/she-said, the cop will usually get the benefit of the doubt.

          • 0 avatar
            Charlie84

            That strikes me as rather “guilty until proven innocent”.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            Charlie84 – traffic tickets are not criminal i.e. not criminal code violations. That means the police do not need to prove your guilt beyond a shadow of a doubt. The burden of proof falls upon you.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            This varies by state. In some states, speeding tickets are a criminal matter. In others, they are civil. In others, photo enforcement is civil but tickets issued by police are criminal. Unless you are driving on federal land such as in a national park, state laws apply.

            Regardless of which kind you receive, you are effectively guilty unless proven innocent, no matter what the Constitution may say about it.

  • avatar
    jjster6

    FIGHT IT! FIGHT EVERY BS TICKET, EVERY TIME!!! Yes, I’m shouting.

  • avatar
    djsyndrome

    Just got tagged this morning in a small town in the PNW. I drive the route daily and know it’s heavily monitored, but it was dry out, the sun had just come up and I was hustling to the point of tire squeal. The officer was extremely polite and agreed that it’s hard to keep it at 25 on a windy downhill. Asked me to slow down and the citation would be coming in the mail as his printer was broken.

    He wrote me up for 40, which is only an infraction here. I was going way, /way/ over that, and I know he had the radar slip to prove it.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      Look into a court date for it. I know the last time I got a ticket in WA, though from the WSP, you could ask to have it suspended. See the details in my replies above.

  • avatar
    Stumpaster

    In the former Soviet states they call this kind of behavior “police corruption”. In Georgia they got to a point where the police were flagging people, people had matchboxes with dollars in them, they would throw the match box out of the window and continue driving.

    Did the cop’s breath smell like horse hair?

  • avatar
    jkross22

    I don’t understand why you wouldn’t at least request an appeal through the mail. This seems like a ticket worth making some noise over. Although if any of them Google your name and see this article, you’re SOL.

  • avatar
    MrFixit1599

    I live in WI, but drive all over the mid west for work. WI recently upped the Interstate speed limit from 65 to 70. The state police fought the increase. I have been driving 9 mph over for years (with the exception of Chicago where 20+ over is the norm) and never had the police blink an eye. About a month after the change I had the cruise set at 79, and got a ticket for 79. Thought about trying to fight it, but what is there to fight. I got a ticket for doing exactly what I was doing. $200.50 dollar fine. Needless to say I now drive 75 in WI.

  • avatar
    paxman356

    Here in Indianapolis, nobody that has ever contested a ticket has won. It’s that stacked against you. It’s probably best to pay the fine, unless there is a way you can make a big stink about it.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      And in most places, win or lose, the offender pays court costs.

      In NM, my son told me, it was $120 court cost in Cuba, NM, and his ticket (for insufficient securing of a race car on a towed trailer) had he not contested would have ~$100.

      The legal system in America will get your money coming, and going. Even if you win, you lose.

    • 0 avatar
      brn

      “Here in Indianapolis, nobody that has ever contested a ticket has won.”

      That’s one heck of a claim. Google disagrees with it.

  • avatar
    Carzzi

    Why’d you obliterate the Officer Friendly’s real name? To protect his innocence? It’s not like they’re protecting *your* identity: you’ll likely be receiving bucket-loads of lawyer/ defensive-driving solicitation fanmail, because they sell that info to them or it’s a semi-publicly available record.
    No, the real reason for obscuring it is because you have to protect yourself from the minuscule chance (a really, really minute chance!) of bodily harm when Officer Friendly or his buddies (the tiny minority of union-protected “bad apples”, who don’t in any way represent the majority of the finest!) read this article.

  • avatar
    John

    Unreasonable and corrupt law enforcement officers engender contempt for law enforcement officers, and the laws they enforce. I think this will eventually come back to bite them in their a==ses. What goes around, comes around.

  • avatar
    slance66

    It’s a money making racket all over. Some places are worse than others. Missouri had a racket between the lawyers in the courts pleading speeding tickets down to non moving for double the fine, plus lawyer fees. Lawyers would take 10-12 of them a day, charge $100 each and make $1000 a day before 10:00 AM. Most solo practitioners started with this as their main practice.

    I’m pretty happy with how MA handles this stuff. Most times I see a trooper, I’m doing 75 in a 65 and he’s behind me doing 80-85 and wants me to move over. Linger in the left land slowing his ride home or to Dunkin and he’ll flip those lights on.

  • avatar
    Dave M.

    I was pegged with similar bullshit a few years ago in Livingston, Texas. Claimed I crossed over the pedestrian line at a stop light. I went and fought it, and guess what? The judge sided with the LEA.

    I do try to make their jobs as easy as possible since I briefly walked in their shoes and they do have a tough job at times, no doubt. But opening salvo for speeding should be 10+ mph over.

    Coming from the vicinity of the officer murdered two weeks ago and the fatal school bus accident yesterday, I can’t find the resolve to smirk at your quip today. Perhaps tomorrow.

    Anyway, great article.

  • avatar
    skloon

    Im confused as to sweetened tea, dont you just add sugar ?

    • 0 avatar
      -Nate

      ” Im confused as to sweetened tea, dont you just add sugar ?

      It’s a Southern thing , rapidly spreading across America .

      Either you like it or not , no biggie either way , makes you fat right quick though .

      -Nate

    • 0 avatar
      brn

      Adding sugar doesn’t cut it. They add the sugar at a higher temperature and then cool it. This make it possible for them to super-saturate the tea.

      It’s a terrible thing. I prefer my ice tea with no sugar (or any sweetener) and that’s getting harder to find unless you make it yourself.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sweet_tea

  • avatar
    Charliej

    There was a town in Alabama that was famous for speed traps. The complaints got to the point that the state came in and disbanded the town. Traffic enforcement was handed over to the sheriff’s department. and everybody lived happily ever after, except the town’s former officials.

  • avatar
    rpol35

    Kingsport’s finest?! There is nothing fine about Kingsport,TN, nothing, nada, zip zilch, zero.

  • avatar
    celebrity208

    Bark, you totally have to go. Imagine how AWESOME you’ll feel if you do get the ticket dismissed. I burned vacation time and exposed my inexperience on the DC Metro fully expecting just to grandstand for 30 seconds. Instead… BOOM: Ticket dismissed.
    https://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2009/09/dc-camera-ticket-overturned-over-accuracy-doubts/
    The reward:risk ratio is too great to not go and contest the ticket. At a minimum you’ll get the satisifaction you talk about (inconveniencing the establishment). At best you’ll inconvenience them AND get the ticket dismissed.

  • avatar
    -Nate

    Charlie said ‘ There was a town in Alabama that was famous for speed traps. The complaints got to the point that the state came in and disbanded the town. Traffic enforcement was handed over to the sheriff’s department. and everybody lived happily ever after, except the town’s former officials.’ .

    I believe that was Florida and it was just a couple – three years ago ….

    -Nate

    • 0 avatar
      Charliej

      This was Wilmer, Alabama. Just outside Mobile, over toward the Mississippi line. I used to live out in the county close to Wilmer. It lived on traffic fines. I have heard of the one in Florida too. There must be a lot of towns living on traffic fines.

    • 0 avatar
      brn

      I remember the on in FL, but I suspect there have been others.

      Hazard County comes to mind. :)

    • 0 avatar
      rudiger

      The most notorious speed trap (thanks mainly to numerous mentions in Car and Driver over the years) was the tiny village of Linndale, Ohio (near Parma) that ‘owned’ a thin sliver (422 yards or slightly less than a quarter mile’s worth) of I-71, took it upon themselves to lower the speed limit of just that small section, and raked in 80% of the town’s budget through heavy enforcement for decades (maybe as long as a half century). Governor (and current presidential hopeful) Kasich finally managed to shut it down in 2013 and Linndale responded by installing a speed camera on their most heavily traveled city street. I have no idea if it has generated enough revenue to keep its large (for a tiny village) police force.

      But the point is, look how long it took for someone to successfully deal with an obvious and nationally known speedtrap that had been operating for a very long time.

      • 0 avatar
        VCplayer

        New Rome, Ohio was another fun speed trap. Something like a dozen police officers for 60ish residents that just sat on the highway all day. The state ended up dissolving the town on the basis that it didn’t actually provide any public services.

        There was a bunch of corruption and political drama too. Probably a fun read to look up.

  • avatar
    Domestic Hearse

    Writing with first-hand knowledge of police practices when it comes to “revenue” issued tickets, like the one you received (no radar, claimed pacing — which would have been out-of-jurisdiction based on your route, conveniently written at the threshold of maximum revenue for the town vs minimum effort to pay on your part), rest assured, if you arrive to contest, the cop will not show up in court.

    He knows what he did and why it won’t stick.

    His boss knows what he did and why it won’t stick.

    The judge knows what he did and why he can’t let it stick.

    So to keep this from becoming a mess, and pulling a cop off duty (he works nights, so he sleeps days when court is in session), they’ll just let this end with as little exposure as possible. You’ll go in, contest, the cop will call the officer, he won’t be there — bang — dismissed.

    However, there is the matter of your time and expense to go back there to actually stand in front of the judge in an empty court room.

    Find a client you “need to visit” in the area on the court date in question. Two birds, one stone, and a business deduction for good measure.

  • avatar
    EAF

    For me it would be a strictly economic decision! Forfeit the day’s income versus potentially save $108 and make a point? No brainer, I’m paying the fine, someone who earns less can be the hero.

    Now had you been driving the Mustang…. you may have gotten away with it on cool points. Ha!

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      I can’t speak for everywhere but I was told the local muni here is only allowed to keep 10% (rest going to county/state) and that it costs munis here around $60/hour to keep the police car on the road (fuel, insurance, depreciation, officer pay). In other words it costs some munis more than they actually take in to steal from you.

  • avatar
    SoCalMikester

    i was popped doing 89 in a 75 outside barstow. cop wrote it for 80. about $300 in fees and online traffic school so it wouldnt go on my insurance.

    id just pay the $100 and consider it a “hoon tax”, unless i had other points on my license.

  • avatar
    zip89105

    There’s always payback. One of these days you’ll be sitting on a jury trial when one of these extortionists is lying on the stand. Remember to waste their time the same way they wasted yours and vote not guilty.

  • avatar
    -Nate

    Interesting that so many are calling this a ‘ karma ‘ ticket when it cannot possibly be so because the COP LIED .

    Agreed , when you’re breaking the law and get pinched later on , that’s part and parcel of the over all deal but B.S. tickets ARE WRONG .

    Period .

    If you cannot grasp this simple concept , maybe you’re not smart enough to share our Public Roads .

    -Nate

  • avatar
    wstansfi

    It may not show up as points on your license, but I’d be very surprised if your insurance company doesn’t pick it up within a year. Once you factor in the adjustment in premiums for your insurance, which can last for several years, I think you’ll realize that paying the ticket is the absolute last choice. Pay $400 for a local lawyer to make it go away and understand that you have potentially just saved yourself hundreds to thousands of dollars over the next few years. Spend the next $400 on a V1 or similar to help avoid this stuff, and consider that a bargain too :)

  • avatar
    rpn453

    Pay the toll to the Kingsport troll.

  • avatar
    -Nate

    I keep forgetting to ask how you found a right hand drive Fiesta ? .

    -Nate

  • avatar
    sctknox

    I linked your article to the counties that this bug- shit- on- gods- windshield town sprawls across.The locals will find the article interesting.BTW never ever come through Knoxville on a ballgame weekend .The local BIG ORALGENE fans get tanked up and go driving if they have a car .The others go rent a car, get tanked and go driving.

  • avatar
    SirRaoulDuke

    And this is why I do not speed in little piss-ant towns.

  • avatar
    sctknox

    I linked your story to the local counties web page on Facebook pages with lead of “must need more revenue around here”. Embarrassing assholes in public inflicts psychological grievous wounds that last a long time.

Read all comments

Recent Comments

  • EBFlex: “This. Until there is some next-level battery chemistry breakthrough (like LIon was) these electric...
  • EBFlex: This is laughably bad. Far more money and weight and it only has an 80 mile range? And after that you are...
  • Astigmatism: So, in your view, Biden nixing a single in-process pipeline is more responsible for raising oil prices...
  • el scotto: @TimK Depends on the engine. Turbos have changed from the 80’s when you had to let them run for a...
  • el scotto: Since 2016? The sharks, I mean class-action lawsuit lawyers are in a frenzy. Most manufacturers just say...

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Who We Are

  • Adam Tonge
  • Bozi Tatarevic
  • Corey Lewis
  • Jo Borras
  • Mark Baruth
  • Ronnie Schreiber