Thursday, September 9, 2010

Sir, I'm going to need you to step out of the car... Chup's Account of Getting Arrested

On my way to the pokey.  Kinda.

Two birds with one stone, I thought.

Get a Chicken Cheese Steak from Angels of Philly for lunch because I was very hungry AND check the layout for hanging lights for tomorrow's concert.

Easy, right?

Naturally I was surprised when, as I pulled into a space on top of the Provo Town Square Parking Garage and got out, I saw a police car (henceforth refered to as: cruiser) pull up behind me.  All aggresive-like.

I basically stood there frozen as he slowly got out of his cruiser.

"I'm stopping you for expired registration." he said.

I was honestly surprised, and I said so.

I was totally convinced that I'd reach into my glove box and find the registration with the stickers forgetfully, regretably still attached.No such luck.  When I finally unearthed the registration, it showed an expiration of  January 2010.

"You're 9 months expired.  It's a mandatory impound past 6 months."

I think the honest, mixed look of surprise and horror on my face must have swayed him a little because he just asked for my license and proof of insurance. And told me to have a seat back in the car.

He took my "documents" and turned away.  He only got about three steps before he turned around again.

"Did you know your license is expired?"  (since my birthday a week and a half ago.)

"And your insurance card?  (since five days ago.)


I groaned.

Comedy comes in threes, right?  How about tradgedy?

Who's dumb enough to have not one, but all three expired?  At the same time?

At this point I have to credit the officer with not just putting me in cuffs and hauling me away.

Oh. Wait.

As he sat in his car doing who-knows-what on his laptop, I quietly prepared for the worst.  Reprimands...fines...or both.  Heaven knows  I deserved it.

As he walked back to my car, I gave it my best "sorry I'm a total moron but I'm a pretty nice guy and this will certainly NEVER happen again" look.

And then he said:

"Sir, I'm going to need you to step out of the car..."

 I didn't even know how to respond to that. 

He said: "Were you aware that you have an outstanding warrant for your arrest?  From 2001."

It seemed a little absurd.  Three...scratch that...four strikes, and all that.

I could NOT remember any ticket in 2001, so he proceeded to give me as much detail as he could:  2001.  Citation for exceeding gross vehicle weight  (what??)  Wasatch County....

And then I vaguely remembered.  Around that time I was doing some driving, pulling Hair and Makeup trailers back East for a Church production.  The whole caravan was pulled over at an impromptu weigh station in Provo Canyon...

BUT I had ZERO recollection of any ticket.

"You were issued a citation, and it was never resolved.  That's why there's a warrant." 
Then things started happening kind of fast.

"We're going to go take care of this warrant right now,"  he said and started to talk into his shoulder mic. He spoke with a smile, but the imperative was unmistakable. 

"Am I....going with you?" I stood there asking.

Still talking into his mic, he gave a slight nod.

I wasn't quite sure about the details until he asked if I had anything in my pockets (bad boys bad boys whatcha gonna do...) 

", yeah, yeah"

"Without reaching in your pockets, tell me what you have."

"My wallet, my phone, keys, a five dollar bill and.....a lighter."  (a lighter?  seriously??)

"Ok, go ahead and take everything out and place it on the trunk of my car."

I did.

"Now I need you to turn around, face the car and put your hands behind your back with the palms facing spread your feet a little I'm going to need to pat you down."


Then I heard the clickety-ratchet of hand-cuffs, and look at this: I'M GETTING ARRESTED!

"No one is going to believe this, can I take some pictures?  Can you take some with my phone?"

At this point two (TWO) more cruisers had shown up and the officers approached to stand close enough to be....a presence.

Original officer had produced a second set of cuffs to link together to make me a little more comfortable.

"Nothing against you," he said, "It's just that anyone who rides in the back of my car has to wear hand-cuffs."

"No, I get it, standard operating procedure and all that.  You have to call backup too?" 

"Yeah, anytime we make an arrest...that too tight?"

I shook my head.

"Ok.  You have two options:  One, I take you over to the Courthouse, and you post bail.  $165 cash.  Or two, if you don't have or can't get the money, I'll take you to be booked into County Jail.  You probably won't actually be put in jail, but we'll do fingerprints and everything.  Your picture will be on the website.  You can pay by credit card there."

As much as I would love to have my picture on the website, any website, I asked if he could take me to an ATM.

He agreed.I highly doubt cash runs for the criminally delinquent are SOP.

Luckily Central Bank is in the same block as the Parking garage, so he:
- loaded me up (in cuffs, remember) into the back of his cruiser
- drove me down the ramps of the parking garage and around the corner to the ATM
- let me out
- undid the cuffs
- gave me my wallet
- I withdrew $181.50 (stoopid ATM fees)
- he put the cuffs back on
- and put me back into the cruiser.

Then we drove to the station.  During the short ride I couldn't believe how uncomfortable I was.  The cuffs bit into my wrists, and my arms instantly started to go numb.

And good-grief was I glad that I hadn't robbed a bank or something.

He let me out when we arrived and I walked into the station with this goofy grin on my face.

Looka ME!  Ima bad guy!

When we exited the station to walk to the courthouse he offered to take the cuffs off.  And you know what? As uncomfortable as they were, I was a little disappointed.  I kept hoping to run into someone I knew, just for the excitement.

From there all that was left was to give the Court my money and set a date to appear before a judge. 

And tweet about the whole thing.

We walked back to his cruiser (to give me a ride back to my car) and he seemed a little reticent to give me my ticket.  For the expired registration, remember? I was a little bummed, but then he reminded me that he could have issued for the expired license as well.  And then there was the whole not impounding my car thing too.

Then we drove back to my car, and talked about my wife's blog, discovered we wear different versions of the same watch and I invited him to the concert.

He dropped me off at my car, and you better bet I went in and had my Chicken Cheese Steak.

Being arrested makes you extra hungry.Now I know.

My ride in the Crown Vic.  Would you send that face to the Big House??      

I'd like to thank my arresting officer (name withheld just in case I said something dumb that could get him in trouble) for being cool.  Seriously.  I've had several of Provo's finest over the years and his level of...civility? read: patience/kindness was remarkable.  I hope his wife reads this and they come to the concert and we laugh about it.  Like Valjean and Javert.  Or whatever.