Monday, March 05, 2012

My Run in with the Law

That's me in an RCMP jail cell.

I got pulled over for speeding a few weeks ago. I was on my way home from work. I wanted to eat dinner and watch the Canucks game that had already started and so for no good reason, I was driving really fast. It was dark and rainy. As I took my exit off of the highway, I saw the blue and red lights flashing in my rear view mirror and heard a brief siren so I pulled over immediately (in retrospect, I should have pulled over on a street with a prominent shoulder but oh well). I was speeding and I knew I was speeding. I presumed I was being pulled over because of that.

This was my very first encounter with the police for doing something wrong and illegal. That picture above is from September 2009 when I went on an RCMP ride-a-long and we briefly toured the police station at the end of it all. I used that experience for a CRIM 251 tutorial presentation at SFU. I really liked that class and I highly recommend it.

As I sat there with the engine off, everything was so still and quiet around me. The sound of traffic whizzing by and large, heavy rain drops bouncing off the car roof were not as quiet. I wasn't nervous, or in shock. I was slightly upset at myself for being impatient and careless, but at the same time, I was very calm and expectant of my impending, and well deserving punishment.

I fumbled around to find my license. Is my wallet in my pocket? Oh wait I'll check my bag first. No wait, I put my wallet in my jacket. There it is. Now the car registration should be in the glove compartment. More fumbling around. I can't see anything. Turning on the light. Aha here's the registration. No wait that's last year's insurance renewal. Ok, now I have everything ready in my hand. How long does it take for the police to run and check the license plates?

Minutes passed by as I stared at the raindrops rolling down the windshield.

The officer finally came over to my open window. Rain splashed onto the inside of the car door. He asked me if I knew why he pulled me over. I told him yes, I was speeding. He said I was doing 110 in an 80km/h zone (I wanted to say I was definitely going over 100 but not more than 110, but decided not to argue). He asked me if I saw his car when I blew right past him on the highway. I told him that I did not see him.

He asked for my license and registration, promptly turned away, and returned to his car while I sat and waited. I knew I was going to receive a speeding ticket. I deserved it. The only question was how much? And crap, I'm going to receive penalty points on my license now aren't I.


In those minutes that passed by however, I started to think that maybe I could just go and dispute this ticket later so that I won't have to pay the fine. If the officer doesn't show up to court, I would be free of the monetary penalty, but if he does show up, what am I supposed to argue? I was completely in the wrong, because I was speeding! There was nothing accidental about it. At most I'd plead for a lesser fine I guess.

The officer came back to the car to return me my license. He was rather young looking, perhaps in his mid to late twenties. He was very firm and professional, but stern. He told me that the ticket was going to cost me $196. My mouth dropped open, and he acknowledged my horror by nodding and saying that he was going to let me off with a warning.

He didn't explain why he was letting me off and he didn't wait for me to thank him or apologize or try to rationalize my speeding.

I rolled up my window. I think I said "Thank You Jesus!" in a weak and high pitched voice because now I was in shock. I drove the rest of the way home, very carefully. If I was the officer, I would have given me a ticket. He caught me speeding and I admitted I was speeding. Does it get simpler than that?!

In other Tim-news, one week after that incident, I was carelessly walking backwards on an open field of grass when I slipped down a very steep and muddy hill (about 10 ft or so) and the only thing that happened was that I got mud all over my clothes. No twisted ankle, sprained wrist, bruised torso or even mud on the face.

Why is God so merciful to me?

I need to learn to have patience. And I have no clue what real suffering is.
Gas was 134
¢/litre on Feb 18th, and has been about 129 before then, but recently jumped up to 140-141. Now its at 134 again.


Jill said...

Close call! Last Friday, my friend got a $250 ticket for not wearing her seatbelt in the backseat of our co-worker's car. They had just gone to pick up pizza. Ouch!

Paulman said...

I think I just got trolled by your RCMP JAIL CELL PICTURE!... grrr (I should have known better)

But wow, what a run-in with law enforcement! Good thing you didn't end up arguing and acknowledged your wrong doing. That is what gives you the best shot of being "let off the hook". Whew. Thank you Jesus indeed!

Tim said...

jill- ouch is right! stupid question but i'm assuming the car wasn't parked when this happened?

paulman - hehehe, yeah the way i put that picture up top with the caption is misleading.
and true, but i can't help but reiterate that i wasn't expecting to being let off the hook!

in that same crim class tutorial, i remember we were discussing how sometimes the way you interact with the cops is what can determine how you'll be treated.

the TA told us that one time when she was pulled over, she questioned the cop by saying "are you serious?" in a condescending way and that practically guaranteed her ticket. another girl in the class said that one time she was pulled over for speeding on the way to school (up burnaby mountain no less) and she just started crying in front of the officer, so he just let her off with a warning.

we all laughed, but police are people too (peel's law). its always their discretion.

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