Virginia’s Gone Loopy (Again)….

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Virginia’s gone nuts – again.

This state – my state – has a thing for imposing grossly disproportionate-to-the-offense punishments. Oh, not on the cretins who murder, rape or even steal. It’s usually necessary to kill, rape or steal multiple times before my state begins to get cross-eyed.

But god help you if you get caught breaking the law… the traffic law, that is.

Virginia comes down hard, then.

Maybe because the “customers” pay better… 

One of the favorite tools in Virginia’s kit is the “reckless driving” charge. On the face of it, to those unfamiliar with how things go down here, a reasonable assumption would be that you did something obviously run amok to get slapped with “reckless driving.” You know, 120 mph in a 45, waving in and out like you were playing Frogger in your Fiesta. Drunk out of your mind, rooster-tailing through a soccer field full of kids. You get the idea.

Something, well, reckless. Where others were in real peril of bodily injury as a result of your actions. Something along those lines. 

Not hardly. This is Virginia, after all. Here, you can get a “reckless driving” ticket for awful things like exceeding the posted speed limit by more than 20 mph. Back in the ’80s, when the 55 MPH max was still in force, I racked up half a dozen “reckless driving” tickets for doing 76-80 on the highway. Today – with the same highways posted 70 MPH, doing 76 or so is – at most – a very minor speeding ticket. I don’t expect to get a refund for all those years I paid double-tap insurance for having those “reckless driving” tickets on my DMV record.

But wait, there’s more.

A Republican ass clown (it’s always a Republican, isn’t it?) has brought forth a new “reckless driving” bear trap for you to get snared in. Richmond Republican Bill Janis  thinks anyone who doesn’t come to an absolute dead stop before making a right on red should be cited for – you guessed it – reckless driving. His bill (HB 1993) also tosses in fines up to $2,500 for this offense and (yes, wait for it) jail time. Up to six months in the clink.

For a California Stop.

Best part? This is one of those situations where it’s at the cop’s discretion whether to charge you with being “reckless.” It could be that the intersection was obviously clear – no cars coming for miles – and thus, your California Stop, while maybe a technical violation of the statute, in no way threatened anyone’s safety. Let alone could be reasonably described as “reckless.” But get a dickhead cop who wants to make a point and you’ll get the cite. And that means, getting a lawyer – essential when it comes to a reckless driving beef. A court apearance is mandatory; you can’t just send a fine in via the mail. And if you lose, which you will without the help of your very own Johnnie Cochran – you know, someone like Bill Janis – it’s going to be a big deal. One that will continue to be a big deal for the next three years, at least. Because that’s the length of time that six-point demerit slap and the “reckless driving” charge smeared across your record will remain active. The nanosecond your insurance company finds out, you are assured of either having your premiums doubled – or your policy cancelled. A “reckless driving” conviction is cancer. You’re screwed.

And the most egregious part? The insurance company (and the courts) don’t care that you didn’t actually do anything reckless; that maybe there should be a distinction between committing a California Stop and something that sounds like (and might as well be) vehicular manslaughter or its slightly lesser brother.

Which brings up the issue of proportionality.

Fairly serious crimes – real crimes – often don’t carry with them such severe sanctions. For example, just this week in my home county, a loathsome cretin who forcibly kidnapped a young girl from her home and, with her partner, transported said minor girl across state lines to Pennsylvania for purposes you can no doubt imagine, received her sentence: One year in the clink. Yes, she received a “ten year” sentence – but nine were suspended. So, the actual punishment for kidnapping and (likely) child rape: One year. For a California stop? Six months.

Oh yeah: The kidnapping pederasts didn’t get socked with a $2,500 fine or lose their driving privileges, either.    

The late great writer Sam Francis called this “anarcho-tyranny” – ordinary citizens facing increasingly severe and outlandish punishments over increasingly trivial/minor infractions; meanwhile, serious crime gets treated with kid gloves. Sam was onto something there.

“Law and order” Republicans like this Janis guy establish their macho-man credentials this way. We’re tough on crime, you see. Only, they’re not. They’re tough on us, tough on the Bill of Rights – tough on anything except defending liberty and reasonableness, the latter of which is a free society essential. Take it away and you’re left with a banana republic or something much darker than that, on the East German model.

That appears to be where we’re headed. Courtesy of guys like Bill Janis – who no doubt has an extra-large flag pin stuck on his lapel. Because he believes in freedom – and wants you to see it.

Update: Janis’ Bill has been tossed; but don’t expect this to be the end of it. To quote another Republican: He’ll be back.  

Throw it in the Woods?        

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23 COMMENTS

  1. For those who fear laser–and rightfully so, the Valentine won’t help because the laser reads you faster than you can react–fear no more!

    Laser jammers ARE LEGAL due to a nifty little loophole. They’re controlled by the FDA since they’re a laser product; if they won’t harm your eyes, they’re OK. Radar jammers on the other hand–a federal felony, very bad ju-ju.

    I’ve been using the LaserInterceptor, which last time I checked is the only one that will JTG (Jam to Gun) on every laser in use in the US.

    It’s saved me at least five times; oh, the look on their faces! Recently I approached one of those operations on a city street where there are five pigs waiting and one pig using a laser, assembly-line ticket-writing for your saaaa-fety. The LaserInterceptor warned me, informing me what type of gun they were using too. I slowed way down to enjoy, because while I’m in range they can’t get readings on me or the cars in the ajoining lanes. As I trauled on by, the cop was whacking the gun with the palm of his sweaty hand looking confused…’tis beautiful!

    You’re not supposed to abuse it quite as much as I did that day. You’re supposed to slow down then disable the jammer so he can get a reading…at the posted limit. But I sure enjoyed my moment!

    • Excellent! Post o’ the day!

      I am going to look into the LaserInterceptor…

      Right now, in VA at least, they seem to be relying mostly on radar – I suspect because radar detectors are illegal and the cops assume (rightly) that most people are Sheeple and obey the lawwww (even if the law is outrageous, silly or evil) and so don’t have radar detectors.

      Makes my life a little bit easier….

      • The great state of Minnesota has side stepped that loophole by passing a law making it illegal to interfere with “a speed measureing device”.
        K-

  2. As you may know, Virginia is the only state that bans the use and sale of radar detectors. There is no evidence that the radar detector ban increases highway safety. Our nation’s fatality rates have fallen consistently for almost two decades. Virginia’s fatality rate has also fallen, but not any more dramatically than it has nationwide. Research has even shown that radar detector owners have a lower accident rate than motorists who do not own a detector.

    Maintaining the ban is not in the best interest of Virginians or visitors to the state. I know and know of people that will not drive in Virginia due to this ban. Unjust enforcement practices are not unheard of, and radar detectors can keep safe motorists from being exploited by abusive speed traps. Likewise, the ban has a negative impact on Virginia’s business community. Electronic distributors lose business to neighboring states and Virginia misses out on valuable sales tax revenue.

    Radar detector bans do not work. Research and experience show that radar detector bans do not result in lower accident rates, improved speed-limit compliance or reduce auto insurance expenditures.
    • The Virginia radar detector ban is difficult and expensive to enforce. The Virginia ban diverts precious law enforcement resources from more important duties and this ban may be ILLEGAL.
    • Radar detectors are legal in the rest of the nation, in all 49 other states. In fact, the first state to test a radar detector ban, Connecticut, repealed the law – it ruled the law was ineffective and unfair. It is time for our Virginia to join the rest of the nation.
    • It has never been shown that radar detectors cause accidents or even encourage motorists to drive faster than they would otherwise. The Yankelovich – Clancy – Shulman Radar Detector Study conducted in 1987, showed that radar detector users drove an average of 34% further between accidents (233,933 miles versus 174,554 miles) than non radar detector users. The study also showed that they have much higher seat belt use compliance. If drivers with radar detectors have fewer accidents, it follows that they have reduced insurance costs – it is counterproductive to ban radar detectors.
    • In a similar study performed in Great Britain by MORI in 2001 the summary reports that “Users (of radar detectors) appear to travel 50% further between accidents than non-users. In this survey the users interviewed traveling on average 217,353 miles between accidents compared to 143,401 miles between accidents of those non-users randomly drawn from the general public.” The MORI study also reported “Three quarters agree, perhaps unsurprisingly, that since purchasing a radar detector they have become more conscious about keeping to the speed limit…” and “Three in five detector users claim to have become a safer driver since purchasing a detector.”
    • Modern radar detectors play a significant role in preventing accidents and laying the technology foundation for the Safety Warning System® (SWS). Radar detectors with SWS alert motorists to oncoming emergency vehicles, potential road hazards, and unusual traffic conditions. There are more than 10 million radar detectors with SWS in use nationwide. The federal government has earmarked $2.1 million for further study of the SWS over a three-year period of time. The U.S. Department of Transportation is administering grants to state and local governments to purchase the SWS system and study its effectiveness (for example, in the form of SWS transmitters for school buses and emergency vehicles). The drivers of Virginia deserve the right to the important safety benefits that SWS delivers.

    Please sign this petition and help to repeal this ban and give drivers in Virginia the freedom to know if they are under surveillance and to use their property legally:

    http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/repeal-the-virginia-radar-detector-ban

    Tell Friends and Family about this.

    • There’s one upside to the VA ban on radar detectors: If you’re not a “law abiding” sheep and ignore the ban, your detector will be more useful to you than in states where they are legal because cops assume most people obey the law and so the cops are lazier in terms of using their radar, setting up speed traps and using Instant On radar, etc.

      I’ve been using my V1 with great success – and impunity – for going on three years now. The main thing – in terms of avoiding detection – is to keep the unit mounted low-profile (I use duct tape to stick it to the dash; this is better than Velco because once you snatch it off the dash, there’s no telltale Velcro pad for the pig to see) and be vigilant. If the unit goes off, be ready to snatch it off the dash and stash it. Scan around you to be sure there are no cops close enough to notice the unit. Etc.

    • Of course radar detector users have fewer collisions, they spend less time looking for cops!

      There are three reasons I don’t have a radar detector… they seem to false A LOT. perhaps an expensive one like the V1 would be acceptable. There’s no way I’m getting that thing off the dash if I am pulled over. Cops here are often paranoid. Any sort of move may set them off. Given that a good portion of the times I’ve been pulled over have been for non-speed&non-moving violation “reasons” the detector won’t do me much good. And lastly, it seems most departments have switched to laser. But keeping an eye out for cops (doing the speed limit does not relieve this obligation) takes effort away from the driving task, especially at night.

      • If you’re going to get a radar detector, get the best – the Valentine 1. It has an excellent filter (adjustable, too) and it differentiates (and displays) all current in-use speed detection radar (K and Ka especially) as well as laser, tracks multiple sources at once and gives you the direction of the source.

        You also get a proximity warning in the form of LEDs that increase as the source gets closer. Usually, I have ample time to remove the unit from sight before I get within visual sight of the cop. It is virtually impossible to visually ID a detector (a small black box about the size of a pack of cigarettes) sitting on the dash from farther than about 20 yards away. The detector will tell you a cop is near long before that, giving you time to pull it and stash it.

        Worth every cent I paid – many times over!

      • Ah the Valentine One (V1)! Eric convinced me into getting this unit. I’ve had it about six months or so. It has saved me more times than I can count. I DO NOT DRIVE WITHOUT IT! I can’t. Seriously! I can’t drive my vehicles without it now. I feel blind/naked without it. It is the best automotive investment I’ve ever made hands down! Oh shoot almost forgot. Today I was at a light (in the 4Runner) and the thing was going crazy. I happened to turn it off and a pig pulled up right next to me on the passenger side. I had the V1 high on the windshield (driver’s side). I sat there and played with my smart phone acting like a regular solider ant. I know he could fucking see it too. I think he was just cool. Got lucky boys!

        • Something similar happened to me once!

          I had a new Mustang GT and was cruising around the back roads near our place; not running fast at all, just trundling along. So I was off-guard because I wasn’t “speeding.” I roll around a corner just before this stop sign and there’s a local deputy dawg sitting there. I’m in a brand-new (and loud colored) Mustang GT with out of state plates in a one stoplight county out in the boonies. He’s gonna notice me. No time to pull the unit off the dash without him seeing me do that, which I figured would be the trigger that caused him to light me up and pull me over. So I just stayed cool, like you did – and he didn’t do anything. It could have been that he was not a dick – or (more likely) he just didn’t realize what I had.

          Ten years ago, if you had something on the dash or a power cord visible and the cop saw – you were gonna get pulled because he knew it was a detector. But today? So many people have GPS units or aftermarket Sirius some other similar thing that a radar detector unit doesn’t stick out like a sore thumb.

          Main thing is to be situationally aware in addition to paying attention to the V1 itself!

  3. Illinois as of the start of the year has made 30 over a misdemeanor which is punishable with jail time and of course a big fine… except here’s the rub, Illinois hasn’t changed speed limits from the NMSL days. So, that means anywhere from 75mph on up depending on what interstate segment one is driving can put a person in jail. 85mph in a 55mph is nothing spectacular and before the great recession used to be commonplace on some interstates. A simple merge or lane change can still cause one to exceed 30 over because traffic is moving at 20 over. Just one big racket.

    • It is. And it’s even worse than in outright/open Turd World countries- where all they want is your money. Here, you also get lectured about safety. Then, you get financially raped again by the shyster insurance company – also on the basis of safety. And of course, with insurance now being compulsory, you can no longer refuse to to buy their “product.”

      I think about stuff like this while humming that tune, “I’m proud to be an Ahhhhhhmerikkkun where at least I know I’m freeeeee!”

  4. This is true “And correct me if I’m wrong, but Virginia is the only state that bans radar detectors too isn’t it???? ”

    Screw them, I use one anyway!

  5. The problem is that speeding isn’t dangerous. The NIHS has already determined no causal link when they looked at the real cause of accidents versus what the cop put in the report.

    Dangerous driving should require the same litmus test for attempted murder or any other attempted crime. Clear and imminent harm to others.

    As for speeding et. al. it’s racketeering and should be taken to the supreme court. (it’s also not enforced according to constitutional rules either)

    And correct me if I’m wrong, but Virginia is the only state that bans radar detectors too isn’t it????

    On one hand they’re blocking Obamacare (yeh!) and in the next they’re stealing rights. I just don’t get it.

  6. Thanks for the article, Eric – sick stuff. I seriously recommend visiting http://marcstevens.net/ to check out his “Beating civil traffic tickets” videos, show archives, etc, and learning all you can. It’s the education of a lifetime. Peace.

    • If he is, then this guy should be brought up on conflict of interest charges and impeached. If conflict of interest was enforced and you had to recuse yourself for any personal interest or interest of those that donated to you, government would function a lot better.

      • Yup. The event that motivated me to buy a V1 was being issued a “speeding” ticket by a twerpy little VA State Cop for 63 in a 55. The azzhole picked me out of a line of cars descending a steep grade – because I was last in line and thus easiest to pull over. That did it. I ordered the V1 a few days later and have not been victimized once since I started using it. The thing has saved me from getting probably a dozen tickets over the past three years… including what surely would have been several “reckless driving” cites. In Va, it is statutory “reckless driving” to exceed the posted maximum by more than 20 MPH. Thus, 76 MPH can land you with a major bust – mandatory court appearance, possible loss of license, six “points” on your DMV rap sheet and a guaranteed ass-raping by your insurance co.

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