When I was a freshly minted driver at the age of 16, one of the things I was sure would get me would be something like failing to turn my lights on half-an-hour before sunfall (because, I suspected, they had cops with watches that counted down and were waiting to get unsuspecting travellers such as myself.) I also worried about the hundred thousand little things, such as a busted headlight or lapsed registration or insurance.

My father, seeking to ease my concerns, told me that while I definitely need to worry about insurance, the other things can actually be a blessing as much as a curse. Often, he told me, a police officer that pulls you over for speeding will opt to give you a non-moving violation that won’t go on your record over a speeding ticket or run stop-sign that would.

I kept that in mind earlier this year when I decided not to renew the registration on my car. I figure that I’m only going to be here for a few more months so half of the registration expense would be wasted. I could keep the registration in Estacado, of course, but cops often target out-of-state plates and I wouldn’t want to leave myself vulnerable for that. And, I reasoned, if I got pulled over it might get me out of a ticket.

Clancy and I were high-tailing it for Capitol City this weekend when I happened upon a Deseret State Trooper. I was going about 15mph over, which is more than the usual 5-10mph grace space I give myself when I flout the law in the name of trying to “make up time in the air” to get somewhere on time. Clancy, who was napping, woke up to the sound of my exclaiming, “Holy cow poop!” I slowed down of course and changed lanes, but there was little doubt as to what awoke the officer from his restful spot on the emergency crossover.

Now, for all my criticisms of Deseret, one of the things I appreciate are the cops. I’ve had to call the cops a couple times and fill out a report or two and every time they’ve been what you think cops are supposed to be when you’re little. I was pulled over several months back and the cop was as nice as could be. Though I am always polite to officers when they pull me over, I was actually apologetic to this officer (and not in the way one regrets when one does not get out of a speeding ticket as hoped).

The highway patrolman that nabbed me was no different. He asked if I was from Delosa because he recognized the “Southern Tech Alumni” bumper sticker on my car. He told me that he pulled me over for my speed and asked me if I realized that I was going 87mph (note: speed limit was 75). I told him that I didn’t (I thought I was going 91 or so) but that I realized it once I saw him. I was sincerely sheepish and I think he appreciated what he thought was my honesty (and was, to an extent, I did not realize I was going over 85 until I looked down after I saw him).

He asked for my license and registration. I gave him my license and Clancy and I hunted for the registration. As expected, he noted that it was out of date and asked me if I had renewed it. I told him that I wasn’t sure, but that I probably hadn’t.

Sure enough, Dad’s plan worked. When he got back he gave me a ticket for the registration but not the speed. I was all proud of myself for this lesson that I had just learned.

Until I shared it with Willard. Willard informed me that when he was serving his mission in California, an escort of his had a car actually impounded for a lack of registration. That’s an awfully big risk to get out of a moving violation.

Then, of course, it hit me: one doesn’t have to have one’s registration expired to get a ticket for it. All one needs is to be unable to prove that the registration is current. The cop even said that if I had re-registered my car and forgotten about it. So the verdict is that I will have one outdated registration in my car to give the cops and a current one in case the cop is an prick about it.

Category: Courthouse

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One Response to License and Registration, Please

  1. Britney says:

    website is wonderful! Very informative and very colorful!


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