Here’s the latest reader question, along with my reply!
Mike asks: So about three months ago, I got a “reckless” driving ticket for being radar’d doing 58 in a posted 35 MPH zone. This zone had been 45 MPH and almost everyone drives close to 50 regardless so I was only driving a few MPH faster than most. I didn’t think it was a big deal when I saw the cop in my rearview and pulled over, expecting your basic ticket for “speeding” and sighed to myself about being fleeced for probably $150 or so.
As it turned out, the cop cited me for “reckless” driving – defined in my state as driving 20 MPH or more above the posted limit. He told me he could arrest me for this. He didn’t do that – but he did hand me a ticket requiring me to show up in court (no just-pay-the-fine) and told me I had better get a lawyer.
I got home and read up and found that a conviction could cost me my driving “privileges” for six months or more and would cost me six DMV “points” on my license and because of that my insurance costs would probably double and stay that way for several years. Plus whatever fine the court hit me with.
So I got a lawyer – which cost me $1,200. He “cut a deal” with the prosecutor to “let me off” with a standard (four point) “speeding” ticket. The charge was reduced to 48 in a 35 – and I went home about $1,400 poorer. Not counting whatever I’ll be dunned by the insurance company.
I’m regretting not having just split. I could have – and probably gotten away with it. Your thoughts on this?
My reply: Well, first of all, I think it’s a sad commentary on what this country has come to that avoiding/evading injustice is referred to as “getting away with it.” We have grown entirely too used to accepting the premise that we are morally obligated to obey The Law – whatever The Law happens to be.
This is dangerous idiocy, of course – for reasons which ought not to require elaboration.
Back to the subject at hand… .
My own view is that the punishments applied for trivial “violations” of The Law have grown so disproportionate, even cruel, that there is ample reason to just split.
If, that is, the odds are very good you will “get away” with it.
As disproportionate as the punishment is for driving faster than an absurdly under-posted PSL, they are even more so for attempting to “get away” . . . if you get caught. They may be permanent. As in cold and dead permanent.
If you are a really good driver – honestly evaluate your skills; they ought to be at least at the level of someone who could qualify for an SCCA road racing license, who has had some serious experience/training sufficient to safely execute high-speed evasion techniques – and you have the drop (a few seconds’ lead time) on the AGW and you are almost certain you can get out of his visual range within the next 30 seconds… and are confident you can “disappear” after that… then… maybe.
I can tell you there are few feelings more satisfying than dumping an AGW – imagining the buzzcut SOB bleeding hate and sweat as he furiously but futilely stomps around looking for a victim who has escaped his reach.
But always keep in mind that if you fail in this endeavor, it will be a life-changing and possibly life-ending event.
Got a question about cars – or anything else? Click on the “ask Eric” link and send ’em in!
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