“No more speed, I’m almost there
Gotta keep cool now, gotta take care
Last car to pass, here I go
And the line of cars drove down real slow”
Radar Love ~ Golden Earring
It’s a feeling that’s nearly as horrific as fingernails on a chalkboard, or a fate as evil as seeing your computer screen suddenly go dark, taking with it your latest manuscript and every single photo you’ve ever taken, including the one of your kid graduating from kindergarten, and your entire contact list (the one with numbers and addresses you’ve not recorded anywhere else on the planet).
What is this evil I speak of, you ask? That’s right, it’s the dreaded speeding ticket.
Traffic tickets are one of life’s over-the top-evils.
They affect our lives. We can’t erase them from your thoughts. They consume us. Take over our very beings. And those cops … the buttwipes who write those things. Those murdering Nazis should be out doing their jobs instead of stopping innocent people like ME! Then, after telling us we were breaking the law they actually want us to … (wait for it) … sign the ticket! The nerve of those people. I certainly am not going to sign and YOU CAN’T MAKE ME! And NO, I’m not getting out of my car!
Drivers say the darndest things
“I didn’t see a speed limit sign.”
“Everyone else was driving that fast.”
“I was keeping up with the flow of traffic.”
“I don’t believe you. Show me the radar.”
“You put that speed on your radar machine. I was doing the speed limit.”
“I’m lucky to be alive. I just knew that racist cop was going to kill me. Shoot me dead right there.”
“I didn’t do anything wrong, so no, I’m not signing your so-called ticket.”
“I’m calling your boss to file a formal complaint. I DO NOT speed.”
“My car won’t go that fast.”
“Don’t you have some donuts to eat?”
“Why aren’t you out killing innocent people?”
“You’re a liar. All cops are liars!”
“You’re not smart enough to get a real job.”
“I have more brains in my little finger than all cops combined. Idiots.”
“Speeding is not a crime.”
When all else fails …
Unfortunately, some drivers prefer to take this route …
“You’re not man enough to make me get out my ca— OW!”
My turn to speak …
Okay, let’s clear up a few myths surrounding speeding tickets.
- Speeding is indeed a crime. Sign here and we’ll both be on our way.
- We may not be smart enough to get real jobs, but for now, sign the ticket or go to jail. And, I am smart enough to know how to apply handcuffs. Right there on that line, that’s where you sign. Please do so.
- It doesn’t matter how fast the others were driving. Each of you were traveling well above the posted limit. I’m like a lion. I pick the easiest speeder to catch, and today that was you. Please, sign the ticket.
- Our state can’t afford to place speed limit signs every couple of feet. However, we do post those signs at well-placed intervals. You passed at least 50 of them since you entered our highway. Besides, I’m fairly certain 127 mph is not a legal speed anywhere in the state. Please sign the summons.
- I’ve never, not once, heard of an officer shooting anyone for failing to sign a traffic ticket. I know I never have and never will. This should be obvious to you since my gun is still in my holster and I have a pen in my hand. Please sign here.
- I’m not out killing innocent people because today is my day to issue traffic tickets to speeders. Maybe tomorrow. Sign here, please.
- Your car may not go that fast but you certainly were. Please, sign here.
- It’s interesting to know about the brains in your little finger. If you don’t mind, please use the other fingers to hold my pen so you can sign here. Thanks.
- Actually, I do have a couple of donuts leftover from breakfast. I’ll enjoy them as soon as you’ve signed the ticket and are on your way to your destination. In the meantime, your signature here, please.
Sign the Ticket!
Speeding is indeed a crime. A traffic stop for speeding is an arrest. Signing the ticket does not mean you admit to guilt. Instead, it is your promise to either appear in court or take care of the ticket in advance. Keep in mind that paying the fine in advance is, unlike signing the ticket, an admission of guilt.
Here’s a portion of a ticket I once issued. Notice the highlighted area.
Since the stop for speeding is an arrest, officers have three available options.
- The speeder signs the ticket, promising to appear or take care of the fine in advance.
- Issue a warning.
- If the driver does not sign, promising to appear in court, the officer must arrest them and take him/her to jail where they’ll be processed and allowed to post bail/bond.
Meanwhile, at the scene of the stop, the driver’s car will most likely be towed and searched (an inventory search to list all contents). If there’s anything illegal in the car, and it’s found by the searching officers, the driver could be charged for possession of whatever the illegal item may be (drugs, weapons, etc.).
Sometimes a traffic stop for speeding nets a different result. For example, the ticket above began as a stop for speeding. However, when I reached the driver’s window it became quite clear the man was intoxicated. As a result, I arrested him for DUI. No need to sign promising to appear since he’d now deal with that issue with a magistrate or judge.
The arrest was not an easy one. The man was huge and extremely strong. He didn’t want to go to jail and really didn’t want me to handcuff him. Well, as the image below indicates, the man’s blood alcohol content was .10, well above the .08 limit. He was drunk. And, strong or not, I managed to deliver him to jail where I had him submit to a breathalyzer test. He spent the night in jail.
Fun Fact – In Virginia, all breathalyzer operators must attend a lengthy, special certification training. I was one of the four or five officers, deputies, and troopers in the entire county who was certified. This meant when other officers arrested someone for DUI they had to call in a certified operator to conduct the testing procedure. It called for a bit of overtime and middle of the night call-outs, but the experience was good. The training was extremely interesting.
After release from custody, an arrested driver would most likely need to pay a towing and possibly a storage fee to have the car released. If anything illegal is found, it’s unlikely the driver would be allowed to retrieve the vehicle until police have completed the investigation/search.
All of this takes a few hours. It’s a real pain in the rear for officers. They don’t enjoy this at all. They’d much rather be back out on the highway sitting in their patrol cars listening to Golden Earring on the radio or reading a nice mystery while they wait for the next speeder to pass by. After all, they earn the same amount of money doing either. Which would you prefer?
Just sign the ticket!!
With all this talk about speed and radar, well, click to play the video and HANG ON!
For more about police radar, go here.