Yea… Well, it had to come to a decision sooner or later. And that decision was that I was “Guilty” of violating Texas Transportation Code 544.006 .
You know, when I first got this ticket, I thought, “It’ll never fly!” How could they be issuing a ticket under that statute for holding a homemade cardboard sign. That part of the law is really meant to keep people from erecting their own signs that are meant to appear as a real traffic sign. For instance, the farmer who made and installed fake speed limit signs on the road by his farm. And, this sign — another example of what the law was intended to prevent.
But, when I’m being a little defiant (okay, a lot), and the cop is being… well, a COP… You can expect that things are going to get a little hairy. Ask me a question, then interrupt me mid-sentence to demand identification… Well, That’s just rude. Be rude, and expect others to treat you accordingly.
Anyway, there’s not much to say about the outcome, except that there ARE some plain and simple facts that I would like to make known about the whole thing:
The court found me guilty of violating a Texas statute;
The judge will let the prosecutor play a video and make comments and pose questions throughout; but, he won’t let the defense replay portions of the same video during cross examination;
The slower Officer DeBrow draws a sketch, the more overtime everyone gets paid;
Witnesses can outright LIE so long as the jury doesn’t know otherwise (and it’s hard to disprove some things when the judge won’t allow you to replay part of a video);
The bailiff can take catnaps while the jury deliberates;
I need more practice at being my own lawyer;
The “Thin Blue Line” DOES exist!
So, all in all, everything’s cool now. The jury cut my fine by 65%! (Because I requested the jury determine the fine amount, not the judge.) There WERE additional costs associated with the jury trial. Overall, I paid more than if I’d just rolled over and taken it. But it was worth it. I got to participate in the system — something far too few people take advantage of. And, I learned alot along the way. The main thing being: I need to redesign my sign. I’ve got some good ideas already. Obviously, it’s gotta be something that doesn’t even come close to resembling a traffic sign. Easy enough — How about the profile of a police car, with “Speed Trap Ahead.org” all in one line down the side of the car?
I’ve always found that “You almost never get PAID for learning something; You seldom learn something for FREE; and, There is usually a cost, of some sort, associated with learning.” I don’t mind paying for my education. In fact, I consider the price I paid for the multitude of things I learned to be quite a deal!
I wonder what new things I’ll learn from my next encounter?
Be careful out there! Drive safely; and, Pay attention to your surroundings.
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