The Jig Is Up!

Handcuffed Hands Vector Illustration

Life on the lam is pretty boring. I should know. I spent a year of my life hiding from the police. In the suburbs. There were no dramatic middle of the night fleeings, no aliases, and no fabricated backstories. I was simply raising my two kids (#3, #4, and #5 weren’t born yet) and learning how to make a young marriage work. It was easy. Too easy, and I got cocky.

It all came crashing down one Spring afternoon. My family and I were sitting around the house when there was a knock at the door. It was the Fuzz.

There were two of them and they were asking for me. The husband had no choice but to let them in. They said they were going to have to take me in. I was resigned. My husband, on the other hand, was not.

My hero said in a matter-of-fact, cold as ice voice, “You know I’m not gonna let you just take her?” Lord bless him, he was going to defend me, even if all he could hope to accomplish was to get himself tazed, maybe even shot. One of the policemen took a defensive stance. In that instant, I pictured our house on the nightly news, surrounded by reporters, flood lights, the SWAT team, and some schmuck yelling into a megaphone. Luckily, my arresting officers were level-headed.

“Now, sir, there’s nothing to get upset about. We’ll take her and if you follow her and pay the bail, she won’t even have to spend time in a cell,” the upstanding officer explained. My husband, intellect outweighing instinct, stood down. That’s when the kids toddled into the living room.

To say they were excited is an understatement. Kids idolize police officers, even when they’re taking their mother into custody. If they’d been older, they might have admired them all the more for it. As it was, the police officers took pity on me, despite my criminality. While handcuffing me, they graciously offered to cover my handcuffed wrists with a towel, in an effort “not to upset the children.” Suckers.

I was handcuffed and stuffed in the back of the police cruiser. The back of a police car is amazingly small and I was less than comfortable on the long ride downtown. En route to the station, the officers kept glancing in the rear view mirror to watch me. What they were looking for, I’m not sure. My head bashing against the plexiglass partition? Kicking and screaming? Maybe. More than likely they were expecting me to cry. Once again, they grossly underestimated the criminal housewife. I was trying not to laugh. The corners of my mouth twitched and I felt a giggle bubbling dangerously to the surface. Hardened criminal that I was, I suppressed it.

We finally arrived downtown and the officers escorted me into the building. I was sorely disappointed. I was expecting a cacophony of ringing telephones, clacking typewriters, and protesting prostitutes. What I got was a perfectly respectable office space, complete with comfortable chairs and hushed voices.

I was put in a chair outside the secretary’s office to wait for the husband to deliver the money. The secretary glanced my way and leaned over to one of my police officers and said in a gossipy, stage whisper, “What did she do?”

The officer glanced my way and said in an equally loud and conspiratorial whisper, “Unpaid Speeding ticket.”

_____________________________________________________________

That’s right. I was taken from my home in handcuffs because I didn’t pay a speeding ticket I’d gotten a year before while on vacation. Why didn’t I pay it? I couldn’t afford to. Months went by and then I just forgot about it. Not very responsible of me but, at that time, the $350 fine might as well have been $8 million. We were newly married, broke, and had two kids.

The best part of the whole situation was that I told them when and where to find me. A couple of days before, I got an automated message asking when would be the best time to contact me. I pushed the appropriate button (option #2, I believe) because I hadn’t an inkling what it could be about, not being a habitual law-breaker. It was one of those “stupid criminal” moments. I wonder how many other poor schmoes they’ve caught that way.

The situation was made even more ridiculous by the fact that I’m almost 100% sure our next door neighbor sold pot. If I’d have been more savvy, maybe I could’ve cut a deal.

And I absolutely did not cry. I really did have to suppress laughter as I thought about someone I knew seeing me in the back of that police car. I’m law-abiding and straight-laced as they come. I’m pretty sure most of my friends have never been handcuffed in the back of a police car. Too bad for them. It makes for a great story.

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51 thoughts on “The Jig Is Up!

  1. OH NO! Not you too! Here is my current Facebook status:

    “Started opening my mail. First thing was a $149 fine for 7kms over the speed limit. Stopped opening the mail. :(”

    I’ll be sure to pay, after reading your tale of woe. Unbelievable! Bet you’ve paid all the ones since!

    • Are you kidding? I drive the speed limit so I’ll never get another one! BTW, did you know that in the US, we have an unwritten but universally accepted code regarding the speed limit and when policemen will take the trouble of pursuing violators?

      “Eight, you skate. Nine, you’re mine.” (This does not apply in School or Construction Zones)

      Do you have any such unwritten rules? I’ve heard it’s a purely United States phenomenon, a result of our “entitlement” or “we’re special” mentality. Isn’t that fantastic? 🙂

      • Unfortunately, Erin, most of the “newbie” cops don’t go by that rule. They are too anxious to make a name for themselves. We have had tickets come up in our Court for 6 over the posted limit. It really is at the discretion of the officer (I always say it depends on his/her mood at the time).

  2. LOL . . . I am rolling on the floor!! Was that here in Georgia? You know I work for one of the local attorneys, who prosecutes for the State Court & I have NEVER heard of an officer coming to a persons house to pick them up for an unpaid speeding ticket. Our Court just sends you a FTA (Failure to Appear) Notice & you have 30 days to make it good or the State suspends your driver’s license. WOW!

    OBTW . . . I know your “shame” . . . I too have been handcuffed & put in the back of a patrol car. (Yes, I know that I am just giving you more proof of my “outlaw” status!)

    Great blog!!!

  3. This story had me to the end. The whole time reading with befuddlement thinking, What?!! my momfog is an angel…. what is she talking about.is this a fiction story? hahah you made me have suspense to the last sentence.

    I always drive 9 over. Isnt that what speed limit signs mean? heheh

    • I was on Plinky and the prompt was “What did you do to land yourself in the back of a police car?!” I thought, “No one would believe I’ve been handcuffed and in the back of a police car. Perfect!”

      BTW, there is a big difference between being a law-abiding, usually easy going person and being an angel. You should talk to my husband. He knows the truth. 😉

    • I don’t even remember. I do remember that it was a speed trap and I was one of several who were pulled over. Speeding tickets are ridiculous no matter how small the infraction.

  4. True but here they let you off if you take defensive driving. Thats what I did. Which cost about $50 If I had to pay my ticket I would have probably ended up in the crow bar motel as well. lol

  5. I want the rest of the story! How long did you have to wait for your “prince charming” to come bail you out?

    Were you placed in a cell with a bunch of “other criminals”?

    How much explaining did you have to do to your poor little innocent children? And neighbos who might have seen you escorted away; or your pastor father-in-law!

    Knowing you, as I do, it was difficult for me to believe the blog was about a true event in your life. It did, in deed, make for a really funny and entertaining story!

    • Truth is stranger than fiction! I wasn’t placed in a cell or booked or anthing. IF Chris hadn’t brought down the money (which we had to borrow) and paid off the fine before a certain time, I would have had been put in a holding cell until the next morning. Can you imagine? As it was, I just waited in the office and listened to the secretary and the cops (who were really nice) talk about how ridiculous it was. Chris got there in time and took me home. The kids were too young to think anything of it and we didn’t talk to our neighbors much. See why I stopped the story where I did? The rest of it is pretty boring stuff.

  6. I know I have mentioned the screenplay before but I keep seeing your wonderful and entertaining stories playing out so well! Still happen to think $350 is a fair whack to pay out on a ticket!

    • I can see my life as a movie. Sort of in the same vein as Steel Magnolias, Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood, etc. It’s certainly an idea to entertain….

  7. I found your blog through the ‘lets earn followers’ thread in the forum.

    I love how you told the story of this incident – it was hilarious and heart pounding at the same time as I kept trying to figure out what on earth you possibly could have done!

    Looking forward to reading more from you 🙂

  8. That is insane. I got a speeding ticket in Montana once and didn’t think they’d track me down if I didn’t pay up, but my dad insisted I pay it anyway. Glad I did after reading this story.

    • My husband has a 10-year-old unpaid speeding ticket from the state of Tennessee. They haven’t tracked him down yet, but I get nervous when we travel through Tennessee. I always remind him not to speed or do anything conspicuous. I can see him being taken to jail while me and the road-weary kids look on from our luggage-laden, snack ravaged Expedition. Not a pretty vision.

  9. This is hilarious…and also alarming that they really did worry about someone like you when there are far worse offenders out there doing a million times worse things. Stupid.

    I loved how you told this story though. Through the entire first half, you had me thoroughly convinced that you were, in fact, a hardened criminal. Ha!

    • I get a lot of mileage out of this story, I can assure you.

      The town that issued the warrant is a sleepy little town in Kentucky where not much happens. I imagine the cops spend a lot of time pulling over speeders on the interstate as they pass through on the way to somewhere else.

  10. Being married to a cop, I love this post! Nice to see someone, ummm, enjoying? their arrest? I’m sure he would have had the story to tell when he got home after shift. Hope the fine after such a long time wasn’t too bad :/

  11. I can’t believe they cuffed you! The only speeding ticket I ever got was when I was in Texas driving a car with out-of-state plates. I was following my brother, who had in-state plates and didn’t get pulled over.

    • They did apologize for having to cuff me but it’s “procedure” to cuff everyone that is taken into custody. I’m just glad they cuffed me in the front. Being in that small space in the back of the police car was uncomfortable enough. I can’t imagine it if one’s hands are behind one’s back.

  12. I was on the lam for a couple years. Stirred up a hornets nest in AZ when I discovered that at least 85% of the state’s statutes (administrative procedures) were non-enforceable under Title 5 United States Code. I made the mistake of bringing that to the state’s attention. Bad move… very bad move. In short, I was arrested for driving on a suspended driver’s license, which had not yet been suspended. After arguing with the police about the status of my license I was charged with resisting arrest. The tri-fecta… I was then charged with aggravated assault on a police officer as I refused to get out of my vehicle until a supervisor was present, even when they attempted to pull me from the vehicle. Once in court, after being told by judges that I could not speak in court, enter evidence, or have my subpoenas honored, I decided to get the hell out of dodge. Then, after having a brain fart, I went back to AZ, and was caught. As I was representing myself in court, I was not given the same considerations others were, i.e. access to my court record. After almost 50 days in jail, trying to get my court record so I could prepare for court, I decided it would be best to do a plea agreement. Screwed there too, but it’s water under the bridge… life goes on.

      • Life is a learning process. You and I now have an experience that most others will never have. Unpleasant, yes, but we have it. I’m an optomist, so I made the best of it. I’m trying to write a book about it. It sounds like you have a very good sense of humor, a good outlook on life, and came out of it quite well also. 🙂

  13. Pingback: Arrested | Home

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