Monday, September 5, 2005

"Child I ain't passed the bar, but I know a little bit/Enough that you won't illegally search my shit"

I almost went to jail last night. Being that I had been at a concert until 1am put on by createevolve, a band some of my friends play in I'm sure you all are thinking I was stopped for something "exciting" like DUI.

I'm actuality I was stopped for rolling a stop! The light was flashing, it was 2 am, I was exhausted so I *may* have rolled the stupid stop-which I'm not sure he could even prove since he was behind me.

I'm sure he pulled me over figuring I was drinking and driving at that hour. To be fair, I had consumed a couple "sodas" at the bar but I was fine by the time I had to drive.

So I stop, give him my license and registration and he asks me where I'm heading. I tell him home, yet when he looks at my license he realizes I'm not headed in the direction that my license says is my home. When I moved into my grandparents last summer I didn't know how permanent it would be, so I just left my parents address as my permanent address...Well, apparently that is a misdeamor. The cop got all hard-assed (as cops in the town I was driving through are notorious for) he told me I'd committed a misdeamor and made me get out of the car at which point I was fairly certain I was going to jail. I explained to him that if I got a misdeamor I would never be able to take the bar-thereby ruining any chance I had at future employment. I also explained that I have a lot of points on my license right now and that were I to get an additional ticket my license would be revoked and I would not even be able to get myself to and from school. (I then realized that telling a cop your a law student isn't usually a good idea as cops tend to hate lawyers-we're always telling them they're wrong or in the alternative that they did their job wrong and didn't get us enough information).

He eventually came back handed me a ticket for rolling the stop and, attempted to search my car without probable cause...That was where I drew the line. I asked him if he thought it was fair that I was going to have my license suspended, be unable to attend class-which would become a moot point if I was taken to jail since I'm going to have enough trouble passing the character and fitness part of the bar examine anyway. I then reminded him of all the paperwork he'd have to fill out where he to take me to jail. At which point he decided to let me go and told me to call and schedule a court date to see what we could do about my ticket.

As he was walking away from my car he said "It's a good thing you're a law student-you'll need to defend yourself on these. Maybe you should spend some more time reading the vehicle code." I replied "It's actually the Michigan Compiled Laws that I'm going to need to research in for this but thanks for the tip."

I'm hoping he'll switch it to a different offense without points (and a higher fine) so I can keep my license-if not I can hopefully get one that allows me to go to work and school. I'm looking at this as a business transaction-if he switches the ticket the city gets more money so he's happy and I keep my license (and can hopefully find someone to insur me) so I'll be happy.

Considering this town just started enforcing trespassing (a $500 fine) against beachgoers (which had never been enforced before) because the family who moved in next to the beach bought them 2 brand new motorcycles I am hoping they're greedy enough to let me off-if not I don't know what I'll do.


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Anonymous said...

There is a section within MCL titled "Motor Vehicle Code," which the muncipality probably adopted by reference. Actually, they code have made their own vehicle code. So the pig was right.

Legal Assistance said...

Can you not enter a no contest plea, post an appeal bond, and appeal the ticket to a higher court, where it could be dismissed on a "technicality?" Or even file a motion to quash in the lower court (Which you'll have to do to have something to appeal anyway, if they don't deny the MTQ).

I'm in Texas, but that's how most of the firms around our area handle these. We appeal the tickets from justice of the peace or municipal courts to the County Court (which acts the same as a County Court At Law in counties without a separate County Court At Law). Then, we look at the appeal packet. Most of the time, there are lots of errors: no ticket affidavit, failure to state elements of the offense, offense fails to track the statue, judgement not signed, fine set outside limits within statute, etc. There are literally dozens of potential problems. We've devised more than 40 motions to quash we use because the same problems plague most tickets. Believe it or not, though most people think lawyers that handle traffic matters have nothing better to do (we do: clients charged with murder, thank you very much), it is something of a specialty when the lawyer does something more than just negotiate a plea the defendant probably would have gotten anyway.

Of course, ease of doing this depends on jurisdictions within the state: though the errors are clearly errors, etc., some judges are asses and won't grant the MTQs.

In my experience, if you don't know a reputible traffic attorney and need to find one, contact a reputible personal injury (mv accident) or attorney who handles DWIs. If they don't do tickets, they will know who does them because they likely have to have them done for their clients.

Also, what the hell is up with Michigan's bar rules? You can still be licensed in Texas (last time I checked) with misdemeanor convictions ranging from assault to DWI. I know people who have become licensed after such convictions, too.