February 24, 2011 – Hope God is more merciful of the unwitting sinner than Texas Law – Rolling Shoe Box
I woke up late, felt like I had a serious hangover, guess being out late yesterday was a bit more than I could handle. After getting me moving, we went to a cotton museum to learn about cotton production. There was a little there about cotton, but quite a bit about Audie Murphy the actor, and war hero. The museum was interesting, not what we expected and was pretty much about military history done in his honor. Athena and I liked the museum, but Holly thought it was lame. I guess that is why kids get in for $2.00, and Adults pay $6.00. After the museum we went to a chocolate factory, but not much there either.
The excitement if you want to call it that occurred on our way back to camp, I missed a speed reduction sign, and was on a 70 MPH highway just out side of a hole in the wall town of Loan Oak Texas in Hunt county. Athena said we should have noticed that we were coming into town as the Shanty Shacks were getting closer together. Luckily for me I detest the high speeds in Texas and was driving 55 on that little highway. Well by now, you know what happened, I was pulled over and cited by the great white witch of the south. I call her this as she was an absolute jerk while being friendly and smiling all the way. “Hi I pulled you over for speeding”, I need your license and insurance” she said, I offered her my registration, but she said that is not required in Texas. She went back to her car, and came back with a piece of paper, “Darin, I am giving you a ticket, please sign at the top to acknowledge your arraignment hearing on Monday March 10, 2011. Here is a paper that explains how you can get out of this ticket, but since you are not a Texan, it does not apply to you. There is also a way to pay your ticket before the court date.” I told her did not quite understand who I pay and what needs to be done. “Well Darin my job ends with with the ticket, do have a nice vacation here with us in Texas. I said “One more thing before you let me go, What is the speed limit here, what speed did you cite me for? I would like to know this before I get back on the road.” She said the speed here is 45, and you were doing 55.
I figured I was speeding, and hate it when others do it, so I earned the ticket fair and square. I was bothered though when I got hold of the city clerk and learned a few more facts. 1. I was being charged with a Class “C” Misdemeanor, which means my speeding was a criminal offense. Fortunately, I was able to enter a guilty plea and pay the fine. $107 fine + $68.00 court cost, + $40.00 for convenience of paying by credit card, + $2 Texas state sales tax on the convenience fee.
2. The second Item that was disturbing to me, but explained why Texan don’t seem to mind speeding, is that if you are a Texan, you have two options to get the ticket and the criminal charge removed from your record. Option 1, pay $107 for the fine, and take a $40.00 online drivers ed course, or Option 2, Pay $107 fine plus $40.00 for a probation fee. If you go 90 days without getting a another ticket, your record is cleared.
3. The third thing I learned was had I had CDL type license which some states require for operating an RV, I would have lost my license then, and there, even though I was driving my car at the time. Had I been doing 70 when the lady saw me, it would have been a class “B” misdemeanor and a trip to jail.
4. This last one, really got my goat! The clerk also told me she felt sorry for me, as I had no way of knowing the speed limit, the first speed sign that the officer sits next to, is behind a yellow caution sign and cannot be seen from the road unless you know it there, the second speed sign is just over the next hump in the road and could not be seen from my position. The clerk said that officer brings in a couple dozen citations a day from that spot. I am not the first, and will not be the last.
Two things make me angry, 1. I am always pulling off the road and letting speeders who are trying to rub the paint off my rear by bumper by, and work very hard to obey the traffic laws, and by fate I get such a crazy deal. 2. The last thing that makes me angry, is the city of Loan Oak knows they are ripping off motorist, and the speed deal is not to prevent speeding, but to generate revenue. With all the speeders in Texas, why does the city see the need to take advantage of poorly marked speed zones, there are plenty of real criminals. I also think it sucks to have earned my self a criminal record where I can proudly show off a class “C” misdemeanor. The clerk says I now have something to show for my time in the great state of Texas. She also said a truckers dream is to retire to an RV so they can annoy the hell out 4 wheelers! Enjoy your RV!
Any one know what the best radar detector is? Get me once shame on you, get me twice shame on me!