Update: (05/22/08) (In case you haven’t heard about this, here’s the original post about getting my ticket)
I went to the arraignment a couple of weeks ago. The prosecutor stated that he didn’t really know what the ticket was about. But then I started explaining about SpeedTrapAhead.org… then he suddenly knew what was going on. Obviously, there had been discussion of my sign holding prior to that day.
He asked what I thought should happen. I said, “I think it should be dismissed because…” He then interrupted with, “Well, That’s not gonna happen.”
“Well, then sign me up for a jury trial“, I said. And that’s where we’re at. I have a a pre-trial hearing on June 13th.
I really don’t think that this will actually go to trial. I think this is just a delay tactic to give me a little time to “get scared” and bargain my rights away. Now, I can say, “Well, That’s not gonna happen.”
The prosecutor doesn’t want to drop it because that’ll put out the message that it was a bogus ticket and it’s okay to hold my sign. On the other hand, if it goes to trial and I win, a precedent will be set saying that it’s absolutely not against the law to hold my sign. Either way is okay, as either ruling will have basically the same effect. There is NO WAY Joe Citizen would think my sign is an official traffic control device.
Anyway, I’m just waiting, and getting my stuff together.
UPDATE: Jury Trial is set for July 11, 21008, at 1:00 p.m.
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Also, Please check out THIS video of a PLEASANT encounter with a rational LEO.
So, on Saturday, I was getting a litle bored around the house, and decided to get out for awhile. I had intended on running a few errands, doing some grocery shopping, and driving around to check out all the new construction going on.
On my way out of Lakeway, I saw one of the new “stealth” police cars that was stopped in the median of Lohmans Crossing, front and rear radar blasting away! Well, I had plenty of spare time, so I pulled over at CVS Pharmacy and got out my sign, video camera, phone, scanner, and legal excerpts book. It was the perfect spot. Right as motorist pulled onto Lohmans, there I was — and slow down they did!
Although I was there warning motorists, I could only do so from one direction. Anyone coming at the radar from the other direction had no warning. So, the cop still managed to give out tickets –FOUR that I witnessed in about 50 minutes! Actually, I think one car got ticketed for not obeying the Texas “Move Over” law.
After being there awhile, Lakeway police began getting phone calls, telling them about the sign. They didn’t even approach me at first. They just gathered in the CVS parking lot, talking to each other. You KNOW they were talking about what they could do, probably calling their supervisor, checking legal statutes, etc.
Finally, they all left, but I guess one cop (officer Adams) drew the short straw and came over to talk to me. He did a really nice job of handling the situation by talking about safety, agreeing with the idea of me “helping them out” by holding my sign, saying that it was an “interesting idea” and all about safety, etc. I think it was all kind of tongue-in-cheek for him, though — In fact, I’m certain it was. Anyway, here’s the video. Let me know what you think.
Okay, so I finally had my first SpeedTrapAhead roadside event!
I was on my way home from work Friday evening, when I saw a cop pull up in the parking lot of the old Lake Travis Elementary. Sure enough, he turned around and poised himself to radar back toward the northbound traffic.
About 1,000 feet up the road, there was a perfect spot for me to set up. So, there I stood, holding my 2′ x 2′ hand held sign, waving my other hand and pointing at the sign.
You should have seen all the brake lights lighting up after drivers saw my sign. I am pretty confident that my alert kept several drivers from getting a speeding ticket.
You might think that speeders SHOULD get a ticket. While I would agree in many cases, that’s not what SpeedTrapAhead is all about. The average Joe doesn’t really deserve an expensive ticket, and the resulting increase in insurance premiums. We’ve all been a little heavy on the foot from time to time.
Those that ARE deserving of a ticket are probably zooming past me so quickly that they don’t even SEE my sign. They’ll get a ticket anyway — deservedly.
My sign holding causes people to slow down and think about how fast they are really driving. Most of the response I got from drivers and passengers was positive. A few folks even stopped and commented on what I was doing. I got lots of ‘honks’ and ‘thumbs-ups’. The picture in this post was taken by a supportive passerby. “Just Awesome! Thank You!”, was the response in her email. Another guy who lived in “The Hills” stopped and chatted for a bit. “You guys are AWESOME”, were the first words out of his mouth. He was concerned about unwarranted or outrageously expensive tickets as a way for cities to fatten their income and supplement their budget. Most jurisdictions have laws that set restrictions on how much of the department’s budget can be derived from traffic citations; but, those laws are rarely checked or enforced.
I’ll be out again soon! Any time, any place I see a cop blasting out radar, I’ll be not too far away, blasting out my message.