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.
It is critical to be able to make a correct split second decision – and then carry it out effectively.
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.
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if you see the lights in the rearview its already too late. You got to see em parked on the side then maybe you have a chance.
Agree with MarkyMark. What it’d boil down to, in theory, is that the AGW(s) didn’t have a chance to IDENTIFY you. Because once they KNOW whom you are, it’s only a matter of time before you’ll be visited with retribution. In the short run, it can get the living shit beat out of you, or even KILLED, and few will questions the AGWs doing so! In the long run, assuming they give up, either due to departmental policies about hot pursuits, or that simply they were needed on a more urgent matter, they’ll still have your vehicle’s tags, and if it’s YOURS, your identity. Be assured that a FELONY warrant will be out, and the only way to avoid the inevitable ass-kicking and tasing on the curb side that likely WILL happen, as most cops, upon “running your plates”, and seeing that you’ve got a felony evasion warrant on you, will pull out their sidearms, and hopefully just get you prone on the pavement and immediately cuffed, but more likely, a beating and tasing is coming. Please remember that cops LIVE for that shit!
And…BTW…IF you cross state lines afterwards, even if not immediately after your ditching the cops, it becomes a FEDERAL rap, with even more Federal Pen time (from where there is no parole) and HUUUUGE fines. Even if your sorry ass sees the light of day, even after “guest accomodations” at “Federal, Pound ’em in the ass prison” (think of how quickly Whitey Bulger, even though I’m shedding no tears over his demise, was quickly ‘offed’ in a Federal pen), financially, you’re FUCKED for LIFE.
Almost ALL moving violations,even those that results in a “reckless” or even DUI charge, are far less onerous to deal with than the consequences of evasion. It’s not a good time to be a fox when everyone’s cheering the hound dogs to tear him to shreds and chew on his guts.
I only did it once when I had my ZRX1100, my two wheeled ROCKET SHIP. I was doing a leisurely 70 or so in a 35 or 40, depending where I was on this country road. After a while, I saw what looked like a white Crown Victoria in my rear view mirrors; up until the mid 00s, Crown Vics were the favored cop car. It was at least 1/2 a mile back, and it was only appearing intermittently because of the curves. I wondered if it was a cop, and if one of the local residents had complained about me. I mean, I was about DOUBLE the PSL, so that would have been serious points.
Then, it occurred to me that, if I let this Crown Vic get close enough to determine whether or not it was a cop, he’d be close enough to zoom in on my plate with his dash cam and nail me if he were. At that moment, while I had a huge head start, I dropped the hammer and went for it. Between the tires (Conti sport rubber) and the bike setup, I could easily double whatever advisory speed was posted on the turns. If the turn was posted for 30, I could easily take it at 60; if posted for 40, I could easily take the turn at 80, and so on. I turned up the wick to 80-90, took off, flew through some curves, and got out of dodge. I got on the main highway for a bit, turned off on a local back road I knew, then went home.
I never knew for sure whether that Crown Vic was a cop; it was too far back to be sure, and I couldn’t wait to find out. From a distance, it looked like it could be a cop car, so I took off just in case. I’m glad I didn’t stick around to find out! Had it been a cop, I’d have been in SERIOUS trouble. Double the PSL is serious trouble in most jurisdictions. Anyway, I knew beyond doubt I could get away from this Crown Vic, so there was no harm in going for it in that instance.
I once read in a British bike mag that, if you’re going to run from the cops, you’d better 100% SURE you can get away with it; if not, just pull over. The Brit bike mag said that as soon as you drop the hammer and go for it, you’ve automatically ramped up whatever punishment you’d have received had you simply stopped. Instead of the ticket and financial fleecing that goes with it, you’ll be looking at jail time, not to mention a serious beating from the AGWs giving chase. IOW, if you go for it, you’d better PULL IT OFF; you’d better be able to get away and disappear. Otherwise, you’re SERIOUSLY SCREWED…