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 05-16-2007, 21:26 Post: 142151
crunch



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This week I hosted an international meeting. The cutest girl you ever would meet from Argentina had her car impounded by the local police. She was touring the Vanderbuilt mansion and then was stopped by the local police for some unknown reason and given a ticket for driving without a license.

The Hertz agency rented her a car and insisted she had a valid Argentinian license and called the Hyde Park police "Jerks". They paid to free her car and called the place that towed her and we got her car back (without any calls to the police to free the car up).

I spent two hours in the Police department trying to get them to kill the ticket. The police said you had to have an "international driving permit" in addition to her Argentina license to drive in NY. In fact, the first statement they gave me was that "you can't drive in the United States without a US driver's license". We showed them a NYS DMV web site that clearly stated that the "international driving permit" was nice to have but not necessary.

The police called the DMV who said you have to have the international permit, but then I called the DMV in front of them and they said you have to refer to the traffic laws of NYS. Of course the police did not check the traffic laws. I don't know if they had the books or didn't know how to read them. So then we tried to call the legal department in Albany (DMV suggestion) but the line was busy forever.

So the police called in the police lieutenant who reviewed the internet and the fact that the internet said that you don't need an international driving permit. He took us in the back room and suggested we read "between the lines". My guest could plead innocent and would probably get off but she couldn't stay for the court date. Or she could plead guilty with explanation and he would hand carry the ticket with explanation to the court and he would be reasonable certain that no fine would be assessed. And since I am here near the police department I can follow up with him if there are any problems.

My guest didn't like the idea of pleading guilty and even told me her father was prepared to take this through the embassy. She was told she could trust the police in the US. They cannot trust the police in Argentina. Now she is not so sure. In the end we signed a "guilty" plea and we are assuming the police lieutenant will follow through on his commitment. We took the path of least resistance. I feel really bad about this.






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 05-16-2007, 21:51 Post: 142152
earthwrks

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Crunch, feeling bad and feeling responsible are two different things. You're not responsible, so don't beat yourself up over it. Things like this happen all the time--more than we can imagine. The Law and law is not a perfect entity--it evolves. As far Argentina and they way do things...if it's anything like my Mexican friends tell me, she got off pretty easy--guilty or no. I have heard tales of extortion and threats of imprisonment for crossing a female cop outside Mexico City. One such incident the cop saw my buddy had Michigan plates (tags) and she decided he and his family were going to travel any further until he paid her $200. He told her had only $60. She wouldn't accept it. He told if she didn't he would shoot her in front of his family. Long story short, she took it and he escaped. According to him if it were a male cop, and he was with his buddies, and not his family, they would kidnapped the cop and shot him. That is their way of life.

And we have ours.






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 05-16-2007, 23:59 Post: 142155
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 Bad US Police Experience

She sounds like she was a real danger to the community.

Maybe some sort of anti-immigration back-lash?

If she had her name on the rental contract and was sober, that would have been enough for me. No major rental outfit would be so careless with their cars.

As much as we strive to increase the professionalism there are still places where they hire people as cops because they can't hold any other kind of job. It is sort of an institutionalized blue-collar-hate-college-dumbass-mentality.

I once heard the director of a state police agency say that the street officers where he was formerly chief had more smarts and get-up-and-go that his current lieutenants and they got denser as you went down the ranks. He was clearly frustrated by the system.

I hope your guest gets the idea that there is a bad egg now and again in any given batch.






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 05-17-2007, 03:15 Post: 142156
crunch



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EW, true enough that it would have been worse had the situation been reversed. DRankin, yes this officer has been known to over react before. I may check with my company's legal department to see if they can send a clarification to the police. We have lots of international people who come here for meetings.






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 05-17-2007, 08:38 Post: 142159
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 Bad US Police Experience

Crunch,
As much as they can really be in my opinion anti American, you may wish to talk with a newpaper there, one that does reports on the police department or the local government already. It is good you are following through. One of the biggest problems in this country is people not willing to care or do anything about it. kt






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 05-17-2007, 09:42 Post: 142161
Murf



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As usual the Rankin-meister hit the nail on the head, there's one in every crowd, more in some crowds, a LOT more.

We routinely run into the same problem when operating south of the border, which is very often.

Unfortunately some jurisdictions see 'furiners' (even if only out of staters) as merely a good source of revenue, knowing full well, as in the case of your friend (and often my fleet) that the charged person will NOT hang around, or come back for a trial.

We often plead "not guilty" and then forward the paperwork through the Canadian Embassy, a surprising number of them are withdrawn after they arrive via the States Attorney office after the US State Department. Wink yeah right

If nothing else your friend going through the 'official channels' will make it come under scrutiny at a much higher level, and will often result in a lasting impression on the officers involved.

Best of luck.






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 05-17-2007, 10:07 Post: 142165
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 Bad US Police Experience

Of course many police departments do the same as a source of revenue. Shame on us all for not contesting every ticket we feel was unwarranted. We have ourselves to blame.






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 05-17-2007, 10:27 Post: 142168
Murf



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Ann is of course quite right, I have several friends who are ex-police officers who have given up thier jobs in order to start a service fighting traffic tickets for people.

They all tell me exactly the same thing, many departments knowingly write a pile of tickets every day betting that it will have two effects, first, it will cause the "offender" to spend time & money fighting it, even if it's a guaranteed thing it will be tossed out of court, and secondly, that a large number of people charged will just plead guilty and pay the money.

Between the two they know they accomplished two things, they have created a form of penalty to those they FEEL deserve it, and they have created a source of revenue for themselves from the fines paid.

Shame on us indeed for allowing it to happen, let alone flourish.

Best of luck.






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 05-17-2007, 10:48 Post: 142171
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 Bad US Police Experience

The effort involved in contesting nuisance tickets is inversely proportional to any satisfaction being derived from the effort.

You wind up going to Municipal court where everybody is already pals and you are the outsider, then you can appeal it to the county, good luck making a career out of it Wink yeah right.

Dennis






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 05-17-2007, 13:04 Post: 142175
earthwrks

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I realize I'm in the majority on this one, but I have known many collegues who boasted how they "beat the system" but fighting tickets they know they full well deserved--like multiple drunk driving offenses, speeding, reckless driving, failure to yield/to stop. These scofflaws make law enforcing harder and frustrating for the lawmen because they nab the bad guys (IMHO you're a bda guy if you don't obey the law--end of story) and the judges let them off (however around here, the reduced fines don't get reported on your license, BUT a big percetange of the revenue i.e. "court costs" goes toward the judges' retirement account). The scofflaws don't learn from the being let off, rather they think it is rather funny and continue to do it with even more vengeance---like changing lanes without signalling AND/OR cutting someone off (me) in the process. Even the cops are doing it with impunity around here. My (old school, albeit niaevte approach to life Smile )point is if you obey the Law you don;t have to worry about being stopped by one. And yes, counter to contemporary society views, I'm the type that still beleives you get permission BEFORE you get forgiveness.






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