It’s like a dagger to the heart the day you realize your sexiness is wearing off and you can no longer smooth talk your way out of a ticket. (I’m not talking about parking tickets because I’ve gotten plenty of those, and they don’t count.) That’s what happened to me today as I was driving to work. First I should preface this with my five warning experiences before my first ticket.
(This is a really long post, sectioned off into 6 parts. I’ve included eye-candy for your viewing pleasure. Good luck making it to the end!)
I was driving home from work with a friend after the 10pm show. We were in a heated conversation and I got a heavy foot. Just as I realized how fast I was going, I saw lights flashing in my rear-view mirror. A quick peek and I realized I was going something like 23mph OVER the speed limit.
Oh shiz. I was a Driving While Black, in Utah, and I’d heard enough stories of cops going loco to know this could be bad. Plus, 20 over, isn’t that a felony?
I had a plan if I ever got pulled over. If I was having a bad day I’d cry. If I was feeling witty, when the officer came to ask me if I knew why he had pulled me over I’d simply reply “DWB?”
When he came to my door he told me he clocked me at going 88 MPH. (That was probably generous) I tried to tell him I saw him coming behind me and was trying to move out of his way but he didn’t buy it. It was true though! I didn’t know what else to say but “I’m sorry!” He asked for my license and registration. I had no idea what my registration was, I just prayed I had it in my car. My friend helped my find it in my glove compartment (and helped me hide my parking tickets).
Officer: “Where were you going so fast?”
Me: “Home, we live in Springville and Spanish Fork.”
Officer: “What are you doing up here?”
Me: BINGO! Was my next thought. “Work, we work at ABC 4.”
Officer: “Oh, I can’t give you a ticket, you’ll give us bad press!”
“That’s right!” I tried to follow in his joking manner.
“Ok I’ll be right back,” he told me.
“Do you think he’ll give me a ticket?” I asked my friend.
“No, it doesn’t sound like it.” She apparently was a pro at getting out of tickets.
My heart wasn’t pounding like I expected. I wasn’t even really nervous. I was really enjoying the moment and excitement. I guess it hadn’t hit me yet. As I sat there, I began to wonder if my unpaid parking tickets deserved me a warrant. I guess I’d find out in a moment… ‘Tonight could be my first day in jail too,’ I thought.
The officer came back with my license and a piece of paper… Oh that was just my registration! Hallelujah!
“Now I’m not going to give you a ticket but you need to slow down, you could get hurt…” and he proceeded to give me valuable advice about crashing into the side median etc. etc.
I know I shouldn’t have done what I did next but I couldn’t help it.
“Can I have a picture with you?” I asked. “It’s my first time getting pulled over and I want to put it on my blog.”
“No way, I’m letting you go when you were going 23 mph over, I’m being nice enough. I don’t want to have my picture all over the Internet.” I understood and agreed with him.
“And you’d better give us some good press!” He jokingly added. At least I hope it was a joke cause that would be going against my journalistic ethics if he was being serious. Then my witty side came out, but I wished I could take it back right after I said it.
“Yea, thanks for not shooting me with a Taser!” (It was the hot cop story at the time)… But luckily he just laughed and told me how to get back on the freeway.
That’s when the strangest part of this whole experience happened. I stuck my hand out the window, shook his hand and said “Thank you so much, it was nice meeting you!”
That was probably my best warning encounter with an officer. My next was slightly more scary.
We were moving to Texas. My husband had driven the entire way and we only had about three hours to go. I offered to drive the last stretch, so we switched positions.
I think my husband was attempting to catch a few Zzzz’s but my “Oh Crap!” woke him up.
“Uuummm… I think I’m getting pulled over.”
“Are you serious? Why do I even let you drive?”
The officer walked up to my car, obviously noting our huge dog crate in the back, dog inside, and loads of stuff along with it.
Officer: “I pulled you over for speeding… yada yada… Where are you going?”
Me: “We’re just moving here, to Austin!” Hence the dog and moving boxes chief.
I handed him my information and waited while he ran my information. I also got a lecture from my husband who told me we were switching spots immediately.
The nice man came back and gave me a warning. We were free to go. YES!
I was driving home from work. It was late, I was tired after the evening shift, and just ready to go to bed. I turned left off the freeway onto the main street near my house as the light was yellow. Sometimes I cut it close and I have a sinking feeling in my stomach like “Oh crap I just ran a red light” but that didn’t happen in this case. So I was totally surprised when I noticed flashing lights in my rear-view mirror again.
Officer: “I pulled you over because you ran the red light back there turning onto Riverside.”
Me: “Umm, no I didn’t.”
Officer: “Yes you did, I was right there and I saw as the cars coming the other direction had to break for you.”
Me: “No they didn’t. The light was yellow.”
Officer: “It was red.”
Me: “Ok, whatever, I’m sorry.”
Officer: “Where are you coming from?”
Me: “Work, I’m an anchor at one of the stations.”
Now if there was one time I thought I was going to get a ticket it was this time. This guy obviously had nothing better to do and he was seeing things. I was ticked.
When he came back to the car he was holding a warning.
Officer: “I’m going to let you off with a warning this time…”
I thanked him and was actually really excited. This is when it all started going to my head.
Side note: I follow an officer on Twitter years later and he DMs me saying he remembers pulling me over for running a red light! Small world! I told him I still swear it was yellow.
Texas State Trooper.
I’m on the phone with one of my BFFs about to pull into my station when I realize I’m being pulled over. I tell my friend I’ve gotta go and I rack my brain trying to think if I ran the stop sign or what.
Officer: “The reason I pulled you over is because your tail light is out.”
Me: “It is? Oh no! Thank you so much for telling me!”
He asks for my license, I reach in the back for my purse and realize my wallet isn’t in there. No license.
Officer: “Oh, did you forget it in the diaper bag?” He gestures to the car seat.
Me: “Yes! Oh no!”
He asks for my name. I tell him and then he asks where I work and I point to the sign above him.
Officer: “I thought you looked familiar!”
The other tail light. This time an Austin officer pulls me over.
Officer: “Your right tail light is out.”
Me: “Really? We just got that fixed. Oh wait, I think it was the left one. Dangit the other must have gone out”
Officer: “License, insurance…”
Lil’ J is asleep in the back and we are in my neighborhood. No way I was getting a ticket.
Cop comes back.
Officer: “Yea, usually they go out back to back, get your husband to fix that for you. Here’s your warning.”
After this, my only other random encounter with an officer was when my car broke down in a major intersection. A hot cop came and rescued me. Pushing my car into a nearby parking lot. He was seriously hot. And my hero. he may or may not be one of these guys. I loved cops. And they loved me. … Until today.
I wake up early, I’m ready to get a head start on work so I can come home early and spend the afternoon with The Hubs (who has the day off) and Lil’ J. I head out just after 7am, turn the radio off, and let my mind wander.
Hmm, I should write a schedule when I get to work.
I’ve got a shoot at 10:30, don’t forget that.
What do I think of Lil’ J’s new school?
Ooh, I’ve gotta pee, I should hurry.
No sooner than the last thought came to mind, I pressed on the gas and simultaneously noticed two motorcycle cops waiting ahead.
I slam on the breaks as one of them points straight at me, arm stretched out, following my motion past him (how rude!).
Where was Lil’ J when I needed her? This would have been the event of her lifetime. She LOVES police officers and she LOVES motorcycles. This just would have made her day. Instead, it ruined mine.
I was tired, stunned, and honestly–Feeling like there was NO WAY I’d get a ticket. Usually the officers make small talk but this one just told me I was speeding, going 13 over, asked for my license and walked away. No clever lines for me. But I hoped the little sticker on my back window which basically says “I’m one of you” would get me out of it.
Let me tell you something… If you’re going to get out of a ticket you need to plead your case before they walk back to their car. And if they’re in training, or walking back to a bike, good luck.
I kept glancing in my rear-view mirror. He sure was writing a long warning.
When he came back to my car he started explaining this long piece of paper to me.
Me: “I’m getting a ticket?”
Officer: “Blah blah blah… You gotta do this and that… blah blah blah”
Me: “My husband is going to kill me!…” (Why didn’t I pull that card out earlier?)
Officer: “We’re doing an initiative because people have been complaining about people speeding on this road… blah blah, ticket ticket..”
Me: “This is my first ticket.”
Officer: “Really? How old are you?”
Officer: “Well, you did better than I did… You can do defensive driving…Court date…”
Me: “I’m not going to remember anything you’re telling me…”
Officer: “Well, slow down, we’re gonna be out here tomorrow.”
Ok, I’ll remember that as I throw a doughnut in your direction. You know you like it.
I called my husband and told him what happened.
Hubs: “WHAT? WHY WERE YOU SPEEDING?”
Me: “I don’t know…”
Hubs: “I saw them on that road yesterday using the radars!”
Me: “Well, you coulda told me that yesterday. That would have been useful information!”
The rest of the day I was fuming. I lamented to my friends, replayed the stop over and over in my head and thought of ways I could have done better. I regretted not throwing out classic lines like “I pay your salary!” “Why you being so squirrely?” and “Killer boots man!”
Then, I thought of a hundred scenarios of how I could make myself feel better. Maybe I could bring him a box of donuts tomorrow? With a congratulations letter for breaking my ticket virginity. Maybe I’d stand a hundred yards up the road holding a sign that says “SLOW DOWN, COP AHEAD!” Or maybe I’d drive obnoxiously slow and they’d clock me going 5mph.
I went with a variation of the latter and drove about 15mph back and forth down that road, four times, flashing my lights warning the on-comers about the speed trap ahead.
My husband eventually came to his senses. He called me back and asked if I had calmed down. I wasn’t the one hanging up on people but whatever…
I cried and cried and he made me feel better, told me about his ticket while going 25mph, that I’m still sexy and my lack of makeup wasn’t the reason I got a ticket. In fact, he told me it’s really REALLY hard to get out of a motors cop ticket. Because that’s all they do, is write tickets.
Sure, there are exceptions, and I’m sure if I had played my cards right I could have been one of those. But I think this is good for me. Now I know what it’s like to feel like a normal person who gets tickets. Now I understand why it makes people so angry. And I now know how disappointing it can be when you think you’re not getting a ticket and then BAM! You do.
I can take drivers ed for $25 (class recommendations would be appreciated, I’ve heard pros and cons about the comedic one) and get the ticket dropped. But it’s not the same. I’m forever changed.
I know I had it coming. My luck was bound to run out sooner or later, I just didn’t expect it to be so soon.
Now I have to resist the urge to get pulled over again to just see if I’ve still got it.
**UPDATE I drove by the SAME motorcycle cops this morning but I went 15mph. The one who gave me a ticket looked pissed and he made a big “MOVE ALONG” motion with his arm while yelling something like “Pick it up!!”. But I kept putting along at 15mph, looking over my steering wheel like a confused grandma, while flashing my lights and slowing down everyone behind me.
I was hoping he’ d hop on his bike and pull me over again so I could talk my way out of a “driving too slow” ticket… “I didn’t know there was a minimum speed Mr. Officer, I was afraid your radar would say I was speeding again” … but he let me go. Dangit. Maybe next time.**
Have you ever talked your way out of a ticket? Or failed?