I got pulled over by a cop today. I was on my way to work (even a little early according to my watch) and just about to drop off some dry cleaning, when all of the sudden I saw a police car tailing me. That is usually not a good sign. I knew I hadn’t run a red light, and I hadn’t been speeding. Yet, I could see that he was following pretty closely behind me. I secretly hoped that he was about to hit a high-speed chase and just needed to get me out of the way. So, I signaled to get over to the slow lane. He followed. At that point, I knew I’d been tagged. The red and blue lights flipped on, and I pulled over.
As I waited for the officer to get out of his car, I reached for the floor to retrieve my purse where my driver’s license was. It took him a while to come to the car, so I began to fumble around in the glove box for my registration. As the officer approached my car, I rolled down the window and looked up at him waiting to learn my crime.
“Ma’am…” he began, (they all begin like that don’t they?) “I pulled you over because your registration is expired.”
“It is?” I questioned surprisingly.
“Yes, it expired in December.”
Now at this point I was not trying to argue but I seriously thought I had remembered renewing it. I did it online in November and knew I had the receipt at home. Furthermore, I went to the DMV the day before my birthday to renew my driver’s license. Those two facts combined, made me think that there must have been some mistake.
“I’m sorry, but I really think I remember doing that.” I insisted. “Would you mind if I checked my records?”
The officer was kind enough to let me call my husband – who of course didn’t answer his phone—while he walked back to the squad car to pull my information in the system. I am sure he must have been thinking what a dim-wit I was.
Shortly after, I found the registration paper that was in the car and looked at the date of expiration. What do you know? It was December 2010, just like he said. I was shocked. I am always so on top of things like this! In fact, my husband often gets mad because I renew my plates 1-2 months early sometimes. I do it as soon as I get the notification. So, how had I missed this?
Then, I realized why. We had bought this new car back in August of 2010. I assumed that the registration would be good through August 2011. I was wrong. It was only valid for four months and should have been renewed on my birthday in December. But, I hadn’t been totally crazy. I had in fact, renewed our other car’s registration and I had also renewed my driver’s license. I just whiffed this. Admittedly, I have always gotten a little confused with when and what has to be renewed for a car. You have the license, then you have the license plates, then you have that little sticker and the registration. It’s too much to keep track of – but I didn’t tell him that.
When I explained my story, the officer was having no part of it. I am not a crier. It’s against my principles. I have never asked to get-off with only a warning in my life. But, this morning for the first time, I pleaded that the officer give me just a 1-hour grace period. I knew I could be at the DMV in only six minutes from where I was.
“I promise I will drive straight to the DMV and get the registration renewed right now, if you can just let me go get it taken care of,” I said. “This mistake was just out of total stupidity.”
“Unfortunately, I can’t do that Ma’am. It’s been more than 30 days already and I am more lenient than most officers would be. Some will give you a citation even if it has only been a couple of weeks.”
His eyes showed minimal empathy and I wasn’t going to kiss his ass, so I didn’t say anything more. As he scribbled his little citation and rambled on about my opportunity to contest the ticket and go to court, all I could think about was how badly I needed my Grande Skinny Cinnamon Dolce Latter from Starbucks right then. I accepted my punishment respectfully and silently. Now let me get on with my day.
As I turned on the signal and pulled back into traffic I proceeded to resume my journey to the office. I called my boss to let him know I’d be a little late.
Will someone please remind me on December 18, 2011 that I have to do this all over again?
- Over 20 million smart card-based driver’s licenses and registration certificates issued by Morpho’s Indian subsidiary Smart Chip (silicontrust.wordpress.com)
- New York A05429 NIBs : Bicycle Drivers License and Registration Fees (ppjg.wordpress.com)