My sister-in-law Lisa is an amazing woman. The kind of person parents want
their daughters to be when they grow up. She graduated top of her Class
from the University of Rhode Island with a degree in Landscape Architecture,
got an MBA and designs landscapes and site plans for the mega rich.. The
kind of person who would never, ever, ever get arrested.
Lisa was recently arrested. Her case shows why people need
criminal defense lawyers. It also shows why people hate cops and courts and the government. Here it is:
About a year ago Lisa got a traffic ticket on the New York Thruway. It
was in one of those towns that lives off the speeding ticket income and
has about 250 residents. They have court about once a month and gross
1.5 million in revenue from guilty pleas on speeding tickets. I represented
her and we got a nice reduction by mail. Lisa mailed in the fine and all
was good in the world.
Fast forward to Midnight on Sunday December 30, 2013. Lisa makes the seven
hour drive home from Rochester. About a mile from her house she is stopped
by police for going 60 in a posted 50 zone (wow- bet that cop never goes
10 over). So be it - holiday season, long drive, pretty woman, local resident
who needs to be at work in less than 8 hours - sounds like "slow
down ma'am and get home safe" to me. Wrong.
Instead, Mr. Patrolman, starts flashing his flashlight around the car.
He is conviced he sees a bottle of drugs in the back seat so he calls
for backup. They pressure for consent to search the car. Turns out it
was antibiotics prescribed by her doctor. Seems like he could have just asked.
Not to be deterred Mr. Patrolman starts searching Lisa's records on
his cop car computer. Bingo. Now he has her. She has a suspension for
an unpaid ticket in New York. She must pay. Out of the car, into hadcuffs
...which are "checked for tightness" - what a gentleman. He
arrests her, takes her to booking, tows her car and gives her one phone
call.This is ridiculous. There is precisely zero need to handcuff this
person or book them immediately on this charge. This is exactly why appearance
tickets were created.
Here is where it gets interesting - there was no suspension. Her prior
lawyer (me) got proof of ticket being paid and proof of compliance with
the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles. Either Rhode Island Department
of Motor Vehicles or Mr. Patrolman screwed up. Which was good news for
Lisa. However, she had to wait 10 days to go to court. Without a license
getting to work 30 minutes away was really tough. She missed time, plus
a vacation because she had to make up time. Imagine how much fun it is
to tell the boss "I won't be at work because I got arrested....but
it's a mistake....really."
So she goes to court with proof that the cop messed up. The charges are
dismissed on the spot. Does that undo the humiliation of being handcuffeed
at midnight, searched or missing work. No. Then to top it off the Cops
won't release her car from the impound without the $150 fee being
paid. They say it was DMV's fault, get them to pay the fee.
People think that everyone that gets arrested is guilty. They think cops
are always good. I know better - now Lisa does too.