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Posted: 1/16/2009 7:20:00 PM EST
I got the break of a lifetime today.  I thought I’d share as a reminder to everyone out there that it takes only a brief and seemingly minor lapse of focus to really put a crimp in your day.

Here’s what happened.

I ran a red light and got pulled over.  Strike one.

I did not have my wallet.  Strike two.

I had a pistol.  Strike three. Game, set, and match.

I do possess a valid CCW and my license, registration, and insurance are all up to date.  I have no warrants or outstanding tickets.  I am an EMT and I have been through all kinds of background checks, etc, for my schooling and employment.  Up until tonight I did not even have a point on my driver’s license.

Problem is, the officer had no way of knowing any of that, or that I was who I said I was.  Because I’m stupid.

I realized it right away when I pulled over.  I turned off the car, put on the overhead lights, and put the window down.  I sat there with my hands on the wheel until he got to my window, and I immediately told him I did not have my ID and that I was carrying.

He became agitated and cussed me out a bit, not rudely but you could tell he was peturbed.  He had me get out of the car and relieved me of my firearm after some difficulty on his part (it was in a pocket holster and he had a hard time getting it out from behind me).  He then told me to get back in the car and not move, which was exactly what I did.  I was not handcuffed or searched.  I get the feeling he got the “regular guy who forgot his wallet” vibe, rather than the “criminal trying to hide something” vibe.  The EMS stickers on my car may or may not have helped.

He was back in his car a while then he came up and told me to pop my trunk, which I did.  I thought he was searching it.  He closed it after a minute.

He came to my window and told me he had put my gun in the trunk, then he handed me a bag containing the magazine and the round that had been in the chamber.  I was instructed to drive straight home and not stop on the way, and not to venture out again without my ID and CCW.  

He wrote me three tickets. Red light, no license, and no insurance.  That’s gonna cost me.  I was “advised” not to contest the tickets.  I think I’m gonna take him up on that advice and just pay them.  

He could have towed my car, arrested me, charged me with two civil infractions for not having the paperwork, kept my gun (at least for a while and maybe forever), and perhaps gone afte r my permit.

Lucky for me I got a police officer who was not looking to put the screws to me for making an obvious mistake.  If he had been a hothead or anti-CCW, I’d be in a holding cell right now.


Segments of our society, including a whole bunch of the incoming Federal government are anti-gun and would like nothing more than to stop CCW.  Lots of local authorities (although seemingly not most street cops) feel the same.  Keep your ducks in a row when you’re carrying a firearm.   In other words, be smarter than I was tonight.
Link Posted: 1/16/2009 7:34:20 PM EST
Looks like you got a VERY cheap lesson tonite. Could have went either way. You got lucky - THIS TIME.
Link Posted: 1/16/2009 7:41:49 PM EST
I would pay the red light ticket, as that is where you were wrong.  I'd fight the rest.
Link Posted: 1/16/2009 8:35:54 PM EST
Check with the muni. court, You should be able to get the FMFR and No DL ticket dropped once you prove you had both at the time of the citation.
Link Posted: 1/17/2009 4:19:38 AM EST
Agreed i would fight the no dl and no insurance tickets. Why don't you have proof of insurance in your car?
Link Posted: 1/17/2009 9:43:18 AM EST
Quoted:
Check with the muni. court, You should be able to get the FMFR and No DL ticket dropped once you prove you had both at the time of the citation.

In Minnesota, our Permit To Carry law is structured the same way as the no insurance card law. You are required to have your DL and your Permit on you, but if you don't have it the officer can ticket you, but that ticket will be dropped if you produce your ID/permit at the police department or at the courthouse.

Our police also have the ability to determine your permit status from the field using your name and dob.
Link Posted: 1/17/2009 10:17:09 AM EST
Quoted:
Check with the muni. court, You should be able to get the FMFR and No DL ticket dropped once you prove you had both at the time of the citation.


That's what I'm thinking.

Anyway, you got very lucky!
Link Posted: 1/17/2009 1:20:28 PM EST
What state was this?

Why don't you keep proof of insurance in your glove box like everyone else?

Anyway, in most states, if you show proof of DL and insurance at the courthouse, they will drop those citations, it's basically a "fix it" ticket, like having a tail-light out.  You are required to prove that it's fixed.  Some states have added a nominal ($10-$20) fee to these type of tickets though.
Link Posted: 1/17/2009 2:17:58 PM EST
Quoted:
I would pay the red light ticket, as that is where you were wrong.  I'd fight the rest.


I agree, he is not your lawyer or the judge, prove you have the rest and get it removed.
Link Posted: 1/17/2009 3:15:02 PM EST
You should be able to drop the no license and no insurance once you present them to the judge. But yeah just pay the running red light ticket. I guess you learned not to leave home without your wallet.
Link Posted: 1/17/2009 4:41:30 PM EST
Post this in GD, it'll be a riot.


Link Posted: 1/17/2009 6:24:56 PM EST
In TX it would not have been illegal to have had the pistol in that situation.
Link Posted: 1/17/2009 7:01:57 PM EST
That is the type of experience I have had with all state and local LEOs in Washington and Oregon on traffic  stops.

Do not be confrontational or a suck up, just polite and "yeah I done wrong, stupid me", and every time the officer makes me pay some consequences but not nearly what he could have slapped on me if I was an ass.

Usually when I go to the courthouse to pay they cut it in half just for showing up like a decent citizen.

I thin 99% of LEOs are great guys and just glad not to have a loudmouth or violent confrontation and they're able to go home in one piece that night.  They seem mostly concerned with, "Do you realize you screwed up, that it is your responsibility, and you are paying attention so you will try not to be an idiot again?"
Link Posted: 1/17/2009 8:24:11 PM EST
Quoted:
In TX it would not have been illegal to have had the pistol in that situation.


One of several reasons I'd prefer to live there instead of here.
Link Posted: 1/17/2009 8:56:25 PM EST
You did all right. Most cops will tell you that most traffic offenders TALK THEMSELVES INTO A TICKET! By being level-headed and admitting you f=d up, you took responsibility for the incident, AND didn't insult the officer's intelligence with a bunch of BS.

I bet you can get off with just the red-light ticket.
Link Posted: 1/17/2009 9:34:36 PM EST
Quoted:
Check with the muni. court, You should be able to get the FMFR and No DL ticket dropped once you prove you had both at the time of the citation.


+1
Link Posted: 1/17/2009 10:25:53 PM EST
I agree with the posters above about the other 2 tickets.  Obviously the red light ticket is your cheap lesson learned.

Hey, we're all human.  I'm glad the officer gave you a break.  

Sinking feeling isn't it.  I think in the last 6 or 7 years, I've left WITH my pistols and WITHOUT my wallet once.  Only got a few blocks away from the house, though...........bad feeling.

And you're right, we all do need to "keep our ducks in a row".  Really, it's our responsibility as armed citizens.
Link Posted: 1/18/2009 10:29:51 AM EST
I agree with most above; bring the dl, and proof of insurance to court, and try to get those dropped.  If not, they will be on your record, and if stopped again, if you try to explain to the officer or, later on, the court, that last time you had a dl and insurance, they won't much care.
Link Posted: 1/18/2009 11:59:07 AM EST
Link Posted: 1/18/2009 12:13:18 PM EST
The officer is in no position to advise you not to contest. That is YOUR RIGHT to go to court. I would not contest the failure to stop, but I would present evidence I had proof of insurance and a valid DL at the time of offence, just forgot my wallet.
Link Posted: 1/18/2009 12:16:25 PM EST
Link Posted: 1/18/2009 12:53:06 PM EST
Quoted:
Quoted:
The officer is in no position to advise you not to contest. That is YOUR RIGHT to go to court. I would not contest the failure to stop, but I would present evidence I had proof of insurance and a valid DL at the time of offence, just forgot my wallet.


If you don't have them when the POLICE OFFICER asks you for them then you OBVIOUSLY don't have proof do you?


Obviously. But you can handle those matters administratively by presenting the documents to the court, so he ought to. He won't even need to meet the officer.
Link Posted: 1/18/2009 2:30:19 PM EST
Quoted:
Quoted:
The officer is in no position to advise you not to contest. That is YOUR RIGHT to go to court. I would not contest the failure to stop, but I would present evidence I had proof of insurance and a valid DL at the time of offence, just forgot my wallet.


If you don't have them when the POLICE OFFICER asks you for them then you OBVIOUSLY don't have proof do you?


Maybe the officer was hinting that if he fought the lesser charges, the officer would bring up the greater charges not ticketed? I don't know if that's possible, just speculating.
Link Posted: 1/18/2009 3:21:41 PM EST
Link Posted: 1/18/2009 7:07:32 PM EST
Quoted:
Quoted:
The officer is in no position to advise you not to contest. That is YOUR RIGHT to go to court. I would not contest the failure to stop, but I would present evidence I had proof of insurance and a valid DL at the time of offence, just forgot my wallet.


If you don't have them when the POLICE OFFICER asks you for them then you OBVIOUSLY don't have proof do you?



I guess my beef with this is, if I give a legitimate name, an officer can quickly find info. about me, and know whether I have a current license, by matching up my name, and picture.  No matter what the legislature says, as long as you're current, this shouldn't be an issue but they come up with these stupid laws. This isn't the 1980's or before, where computers weren't in cars, and information was hard to come by.

The insurance thing is irritating also.  The "proof of insurance" cards issued by most major auto insurers are meaningless.  I've been hit by someone, who used a broker, to buy 6 mos. insurance, only paid one month, dropped the coverage, but had a card that said it was good for the full six months.  I think most everybody knows you can beat the insurance law, unless you get into a major accident, and get caught, by paying month to month.

It took one phone call when I got home, to find out that her insurance had lapsed, and yet the officer wouldn't even call when I asked her to, while she was originally writing up the report, (I had suspicions that the woman that hit me wasn't current).  Even when I followed up, afterwards, the officer wouldn't write her a ticket, even though myself and another person hit in the minor accident, had the proof in hand that insurance wasn't current.

Remember, the mandatory liability insurance laws, in most states, were passed because of lobbying by the insurance industry, (nice trick huh?), not because it was neccessary.  In the past, when, in most states, liability insurance wasn't neccessary, you could always opt for what was then called, "uninsured motorists coverage", which covered you if an uninsured motorist hit you to an extent.  Funny how we seemed to get along well without the requirement, at least here in IL, and the insurance companies still made profits, and my insurance was cheaper back then too.

I can just imagine what mandatory liability insurance laws have done to auto insurance company profits.
Link Posted: 1/20/2009 12:57:44 PM EST
Update:  Went in to the court to settle up.  Showed my DL/proof of insurance, fines for all of that knocked from over $300 to $25 (there's a small fine for the insurance even if you show up with it later).  Paid the red light ticket.  All in all $145.  Lesson learned.  I won't be forgetting my wallet anytime soon.
Link Posted: 1/20/2009 7:35:47 PM EST
Quoted:
Quoted:
Check with the muni. court, You should be able to get the FMFR and No DL ticket dropped once you prove you had both at the time of the citation.

In Minnesota, our Permit To Carry law is structured the same way as the no insurance card law. You are required to have your DL and your Permit on you, but if you don't have it the officer can ticket you, but that ticket will be dropped if you produce your ID/permit at the police department or at the courthouse.

Our police also have the ability to determine your permit status from the field using your name and dob.


That's what I was thinking as I read the post. I always have my wallet, with insurance card and CCW card, but if for some reason I'd forgotten it, my understanding is that in MN, it's as you say.

GL
Link Posted: 1/20/2009 9:33:16 PM EST
I don't understand the problem here. What state do you live in that won't allow you to carry in your car? I can carry (and do, every day) in Colorado without a permit and it is no problem.
Link Posted: 1/20/2009 9:44:25 PM EST
Quoted:

I can just imagine what mandatory liability insurance laws have done to auto insurance company profits.


Nothing, or else insurance companies wouldn't be buying banks to file for federal assistance money.
Link Posted: 1/22/2009 4:52:33 AM EST
Quoted:
Update:  Went in to the court to settle up.  Showed my DL/proof of insurance, fines for all of that knocked from over $300 to $25 (there's a small fine for the insurance even if you show up with it later).  Paid the red light ticket.  All in all $145.  Lesson learned.  I won't be forgetting my wallet anytime soon.



That's the way it should have worked.  You did everything right and learned a little lesson along the way.

Keep your insurance card in the car with the registration, I can't think of a reason for it to be in your wallet.
Link Posted: 1/24/2009 4:32:59 AM EST
When I was In High school and thought I should drive fast  often, I got a lot of tickets.  One particular incident required me to show to court, so I arrived early.  I walk in and its me and the Clerk of the Court.  After good morning pleasantries, she asks my name.  I tell her and she says how do you want to handle this?? Im a kid and don't know- she says just pay it- so I do.  Damn that was easy, no asshole judge, small fine and that's it..  So I go sit in the back of court and watch the the show..  The judge reams everybody,, Including a college kid who shot his shotgun in the air while drunk... and Nobody paid the clerk like me..  I realized I had found a loophole somehow,, and got lucky.  I did that twice more,, show up real early and wait, no points on license, nothing.. I noticed that she put my tickets aside when paid and they never went in the pile handed to the "Judge",,Small town Fluke, Quite possibly!!
Link Posted: 1/24/2009 7:28:07 AM EST
Quoted:
and got lucky.  I did that twice more,, show up real early and wait, no points on license, nothing.. I noticed that she put my tickets aside when paid and they never went in the pile handed to the "Judge",,Small town Fluke, Quite possibly!!


Dude, she wanted you. Too bad you were too young to see it.
Link Posted: 1/24/2009 1:21:16 PM EST
Quoted:
Quoted:
Quoted:
The officer is in no position to advise you not to contest. That is YOUR RIGHT to go to court. I would not contest the failure to stop, but I would present evidence I had proof of insurance and a valid DL at the time of offence, just forgot my wallet.


If you don't have them when the POLICE OFFICER asks you for them then you OBVIOUSLY don't have proof do you?


Obviously. But you can handle those matters administratively by presenting the documents to the court, so he ought to. He won't even need to meet the officer.


In California, you get a ticket for No Driver License in Possession - which is different than a ticket for not having a DL.  The same for no PROOF of insurance.  When you go to court, if you have insurance, they reduce the fine.  Not sure about this case as I don't know where the OP got the ticket.

ETA:  I got a speeding ticket while I was in uniform (And I was driving a County vehicle) from the CHP.  I was new and just signed the ticket.  I was speeding and I paid the ticket.  I also got dinged by my supervisor.
Link Posted: 1/24/2009 4:29:31 PM EST
Quoted:
Quoted:
Quoted:
Quoted:
The officer is in no position to advise you not to contest. That is YOUR RIGHT to go to court. I would not contest the failure to stop, but I would present evidence I had proof of insurance and a valid DL at the time of offence, just forgot my wallet.


If you don't have them when the POLICE OFFICER asks you for them then you OBVIOUSLY don't have proof do you?


Obviously. But you can handle those matters administratively by presenting the documents to the court, so he ought to. He won't even need to meet the officer.


In California, you get a ticket for No Driver License in Possession - which is different than a ticket for not having a DL.  The same for no PROOF of insurance.  When you go to court, if you have insurance, they reduce the fine.  Not sure about this case as I don't know where the OP got the ticket.

ETA:  I got a speeding ticket while I was in uniform (And I was driving a County vehicle) from the CHP.  I was new and just signed the ticket.  I was speeding and I paid the ticket.  I also got dinged by my supervisor.


Brother, you must have been driving REAL fast!!!

Link Posted: 1/24/2009 7:34:46 PM EST
Quoted:
Quoted:
Quoted:
Quoted:
Quoted:
The officer is in no position to advise you not to contest. That is YOUR RIGHT to go to court. I would not contest the failure to stop, but I would present evidence I had proof of insurance and a valid DL at the time of offence, just forgot my wallet.


If you don't have them when the POLICE OFFICER asks you for them then you OBVIOUSLY don't have proof do you?


Obviously. But you can handle those matters administratively by presenting the documents to the court, so he ought to. He won't even need to meet the officer.


In California, you get a ticket for No Driver License in Possession - which is different than a ticket for not having a DL.  The same for no PROOF of insurance.  When you go to court, if you have insurance, they reduce the fine.  Not sure about this case as I don't know where the OP got the ticket.

ETA:  I got a speeding ticket while I was in uniform (And I was driving a County vehicle) from the CHP.  I was new and just signed the ticket.  I was speeding and I paid the ticket.  I also got dinged by my supervisor.


Brother, you must have been driving REAL fast!!!



Back then, the CHP in East County was at war with most agencies over ticket writing of Officers.  It was affectionately know as "The War" among some of the victims.  In any event, I was speeding and not going to any emergency so I guess I got what I deserved.  Believe it or not, I saved the ticket.  I was going 65 in a 55 on I-8...The ticket also shows the [E] plate number showing it was an Exempt vehicle.
Link Posted: 1/25/2009 5:14:02 PM EST
Quoted:
Quoted:
Update:  Went in to the court to settle up.  Showed my DL/proof of insurance, fines for all of that knocked from over $300 to $25 (there's a small fine for the insurance even if you show up with it later).  Paid the red light ticket.  All in all $145.  Lesson learned.  I won't be forgetting my wallet anytime soon.



That's the way it should have worked.  You did everything right and learned a little lesson along the way.

Keep your insurance card in the car with the registration, I can't think of a reason for it to be in your wallet.


I'll give you one.....It happened in Columbus recently (1 - 2 weeks ago), guys
car was burglarized, they got his registration and wallet.  He'd left his wallet in the
car for some reason.

Not to long after that the perp comes to his house, kills his wife and kidnaps his 4 year old.  I understand the bastard also molested the kid before dropping him off at a rest
stop.

Link Posted: 1/26/2009 12:53:59 PM EST
Quoted:
I'll give you one.....It happened in Columbus recently (1 - 2 weeks ago), guys
car was burglarized, they got his registration and wallet.  He'd left his wallet in the
car for some reason.
Not to long after that the perp comes to his house, kills his wife and kidnaps his 4 year old.  I understand the bastard also molested the kid before dropping him off at a rest
stop.

Can you cite that? I'm not calling BS, but that just sounds too urban legend-y
to me.
Link Posted: 1/26/2009 6:05:35 PM EST
Quoted:
Quoted:
The officer is in no position to advise you not to contest. That is YOUR RIGHT to go to court. I would not contest the failure to stop, but I would present evidence I had proof of insurance and a valid DL at the time of offence, just forgot my wallet.


If you don't have them when the POLICE OFFICER asks you for them then you OBVIOUSLY don't have proof do you?


This is why I quit asking cops for legal advice.  My old man was a cop until retirement, and he very rarely had a good legal answer for questions I had through life.  Half the cops in my home town in Michigan think my car violates bumper height laws, via air suspension.

You've got proof of driver license on your Toughbook.  Most modern systems even provide you a nice photo to match the driver.

Most states also have laws that suggest that if you can prove that you had valid insurance at the time of the stop,  the ticket can be dropped (either via a small fee, or no charge).  

Haven't you ever forgot to bring something?  

Link Posted: 1/27/2009 2:31:00 PM EST
Quoted:
Quoted:
Quoted:
The officer is in no position to advise you not to contest. That is YOUR RIGHT to go to court. I would not contest the failure to stop, but I would present evidence I had proof of insurance and a valid DL at the time of offence, just forgot my wallet.



This is why I quit asking cops for legal advice.  My old man was a cop until retirement, and he very rarely had a good legal answer for questions I had through life.  Half the cops in my home town in Michigan think my car violates bumper height laws, via air suspension.

You've got proof of driver license on your Toughbook.  Most modern systems even provide you a nice photo to match the driver.

Most states also have laws that suggest that if you can prove that you had valid insurance at the time of the stop,  the ticket can be dropped (either via a small fee, or no charge).  

Haven't you ever forgot to bring something?  



Yes, he had the right to contest the charges and the officer still had the right to file the CCW charge against him.  The statute of limitations is likely a couple of years.  Attorney's fees alone make it a no-brainer.  I can only speak for Texas, but showing a valid DL and proof of insurance and having them dismissed is not contesting the charges.  Taking a driving safety course to have the red light violation dismissed is also not contesting the charge.  In fact, you have to plead no contest to take the course.

Most states have laws requiring you to carry a valid driver license while operating a vehicle.  It doesn't matter if the officer can check it with a computer in his car.  You are required to carry it and there can be consequences to that mistake.  Most states also do not allow the capability for patrol officers to view the photo associated with a license on the street, though I'm not sure about the OP's.  Usually the information for a license can be found with the subject's name and DOB, but that doesn't prove that the person stopped is the same as the name and DOB given.  You might be surprised how often people give a friend's or relative's information to avoid being arrested for warrants or a suspended license.  That's the reason there are laws requiring the license to be carried.

I DO advise people to not just ask a single officer about a legal issue.  You can't get two attorneys to agree on something, much less two police officers.  There are thousands of laws and no one knows them all, not even attorneys or judges.  I can't count the number of times I've stopped someone for an equipment violation and they told me that their neighbor was a cop and he told them it was OK.   Press hard because you're making 4 copies.
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