One minute Clancy and I are driving down the Interstate in Real-life Wyoming going somewhere between 70 and 75 in a 75mph zone.

Several minutes later, a local Sheriff’s Deputy is telling me that I was going 91mph in a 65mph zone.

In between time, I was driving down the Interstate in Real-life Wyoming and noticed that the car behind me wasn’t Clancy. I turned on my right blinker to let the car that was not Clancy’s pass. Instead, there were flashing red, white, and blue lights everywhere. I’d never seen a police car with so many lights.

Also in between cruising at 70mph in a 75 and being told that I was going 91mph in a 65, a Sheriff’s Deputy pulled out of the median. Clancy immediately saw him and saw that the speed limit just dropped to 65 and slowed down. The officer, who half-an-hour later told me that he was initially pulling out to give her a ticket for following me too closely, decided that I was the one to go after since I wasn’t slowing down and in a few seconds I was about to start going downhill.

I cannot say with any certainty how fast I was going when he pulled me over. It’s entirely possible that I was, in fact, going 91 miles an hour. I can say, however, that the entire 1,180 miles I had driven to that point I had a tremendous amout of difficulty getting my car to stay about 75mph. Even going downhill I could rarely go about 82 or 83. This is me with my foot pounding the accelerator to the floor.

So the odds that I was going above 80 (and therefore speeding) were relatively high. If my car could, under any circumstances, go 91mph, it did not let me in on this little secret. Of course, I didn’t specifically ask it to go 91mph, but I did ask it to go 80-85 on various occasions and was almost always denied and was even denied the opportunity to go 75 more than a few times.

That is almost all I will say about how fast I was actually going. I will state unequivocably, however, that Clancy was not following me too closely at any point in our drive. She’s very cautious about such things.

Back to the number 91. Actually, 91 isn’t so important as is 26. I was allegedly going 26mph over the speed limit. In many states, Real-life Wyoming included, this creates what can be termed (if we choose to censor the term) a Spitstorm Ticket, which means that you were not only speeding, but you were actively a danger to other drivers. I should point out that there were not many on a rural Real-life Wyoming freeway at two in the morning. The officer did dutily inform me that there could be some deer around for me to potentially hit in lieu of cars.

So apparently the law in Real-life Wyoming as it pertains to drivers allegedly going in excess of 25mph of the speed limit is that you have to appear in court. This would mean that I would need to fly back to Real-life Wyoming and go before a judge who could fine me in excess of $500 and even throw me in jail for 20 days for this alleged, atrocious danger I posed to deer at three in the morning on a rural freeway in Real-life Wyoming.

But wait! Says the officer. Here’s what I am going to do for you! I will put you down as being able to forfeit a bond rather than have to appear. He should not do this, he explains, but he wants to do me a favor seeing as how I am moving cross country and am such a nice person. Bond would be a mere $230 and would not require my return to Real-life Wyoming.

It’s an interesting turn of events wherein I am pulled over for going a speed that I was hereforto unaware my car was even capable of going that turns out to be one mile-per-hour over the spitstorm threshold that creates such potential for a world of trouble that paying a $230 seems like a great deal and raising a fuss could more than double my fine and, if the judge were feeling particularly cantankorous, land me in jail for a spell.

Fortunately, no deer were hurt in the fodder provided for this post.


Category: Courthouse

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52 Responses to A Spitstorm In Real-Life Wyoming

  1. Webmaster says:

    I have seen enough incidents like this (fortunately as a passenger) that I no longer have any respect left for small-town/rural cops/sheriffs. It’s way too easy for them to get away with falsifying your speed.

    I also have no respect for the various state legislatures, who put in ‘loopholes’ like this to encourage people to “simply pay” rather than incur the expense of trial.

    Traffic tickets are no longer about traffic safety; they’ve become a corrupt, random taxation scheme.

  2. Linus says:

    Just make sure that your next car has cruise control, and you use it. I used to get a lot of tickets, but I’ve gone over five years since the last one.

  3. Peter says:

    Is the $230 the total charge or just the basic fine? With any luck it’s the total charge, because many states tack on all sorts of fees and surcharges to traffic fines.

  4. trumwill says:

    Web,

    The system depends on officers acting in good faith. Many of which, unfortunately, don’t. Having come from a small municipality (and yeah, one with the reputation for a speed trap), I have a lot of appreciation for what they do on the whole. They don’t have to deal with Big City Crime, but they have a lot of smaller things like the drip from a fawcet that can drive someone insane and often don’t have the institutional support a large department has.

    “Random taxation” is a good word for it. It honestly wouldn’t bother me so much if it weren’t for the larger repercussions. Had I gotten a ticket for going 80-something, that would have sucked but life would have gone on. The fact that my my clean driving record was wiped out by a Spitstorm Ticket is what really stings right now.

  5. trumwill says:

    Linus,

    This is the first time in a while that I’ve driven in a car without cruise control since I switched out the car I had been driving (which had it) for the one my father had been driving (which doesn’t). One thing I don’t know is if it woudl have made a difference here since I was going downhill. I have little experience doing Interstate driving going downhill (when I lived in the mountains of Deseret, the Interstate was relatively level) so I don’t know if cruise control will actively slow you down when you’re headed downhill.

  6. trumwill says:

    Peter,

    $230 is the total fine. Actually, it’s the “forefeiture of bond”, which is sort of different. The actual fine for what I did would ordinarily be up to a judge (would be if I challenged it, anyway) and includes jail time.

    It’s not the $230 that bothers me as much as the driving record. Most insurance companies will forgive an instance of speeding, but I don’t think they do at that speed. By forfeiting bond I am granting the judge the ability to declare me guilty in abstentia, which he will certainly do. My bigger fear is that they will discover what the officer did and I will have to make a trip out to Real-life Wyoming (or worse yet, bring a toothbrush).

  7. Webmaster says:

    The system depends on officers acting in good faith. Many of which, unfortunately, don’t.

    Fodder for a future post, I assure you 😉

  8. David Alexander says:

    The system depends on officers acting in good faith. Many of which, unfortunately, don’t.

    Your situation is what makes roadgeeking a potentially dangerous hobby. While you simply had to deal with a bored county sheriff who was performing revenue enhancement, I have to deal with the added issue of wondering if the officer isn’t fond of discriminating against non-whites like myself.

    I will add that I’ve been pulled over four times for various infractions. The first officer was a Port Authority of New York and New Jersey who declined to give me a ticket for reckless driving due to high fines and points involved, especially in light of the fact that my license was barely 6 months old. The second and third incidents were by State Troopers in NYC Metro for driving at 80 and 70mph in a 55 zone. Both cops were highly professional and I had no concerns over racial bias. The last incident was for a dead taillight from a county cop here in my hometown. Unlike the other cops, he came across as a arrogant douchebag, and I suspect that my irregular parking in front of our local train station tipped him off to a potential criminal.

    Of course, I would be very leery of what the officer did, and I would consider consulting a traffic attorney in Wyoming to ensure that some degree of due process will take place. Even if it goes to trial, a lawyer may be able to secure a plea bargain that may spare your driving record, or in the least likely case, secure a victory based on a technicality.

    BTW, in the future, I suggest the purchase of a radar detector to preserve your rights as a motorist against jack-booted thugs passing themselves as law enforcement agents.

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