Friday, September 26, 2008

Another first for Melanie

I spend the afternoon at our new house, unpacking our kitchen, doing laundry, and trying to keep Hattie happy while still being productive myself. Finally, I give in to her whining and decide to go home. I notice that it's 5 pm..."Perfect timing," I think to myself. So I decide to experiment. Rather than take the roads through town and to the freeway that loops around Lubbock, I decide to try Milwaukee, a road near the outskirts of town with fewer stoplights and perhaps less traffic. Maybe it'll prove a faster route between our two houses.

So I coast along, talking with my mother-in-law on the phone, and I see a policeman ahead (You should know that there are an uncanny number of policeman here in Lubbock. I hear there's one for every 100 people and that there is one living at every apartment complex. I see them everywhere). "Hum, I wonder what the speed limit is out here...probably 50." I glance down and see that I'm going about 53 and keep going (Lesson 1: Never assume you know the speed limit). Of course the lights turn on, and I laughingly tell Jessie that I have to hang up.

The cop is very nice...apparently it is a 45 zone (I'm just glad it isn't a school or construction zone). And, just my luck, I don't have my car insurance on me since we barely changed policies. So I am cited for speeding and having no insurance. My first speeding ticket ever, after almost 11 years of driving. Paul laughs at me when I get home.

So this morning I arrive at the court promptly at 8:30, hoping to miss the lines. Somehow, everyone else in Lubbock has the same idea (Lesson 2: Don't assume that the lines will be short in the morning). So after desperately trying to keep Hattie happy, I go up to pay. I bring my insurance with me to dismiss that charge and they tell me my options: I can pay $99 and take a defensive driving course and the ticket will be erased from my record, or I can pay the ticket in full, and be on driving probation for 3 months (meaning I can't get another citation) and the ticket will be erased from my record. She realizes that I have an Oregon driver's license, so it ends up that I cannot choose the defensive driving option. So, $153 later, I pay for my first traffic violation ever*.

They also tell me that I have to get a Texas driver's license, even though my Oregon one is good until 2013. I ask why. They say that then I can select the defensive driving class option the next time I get a ticket. Then they say that if I were in an accident they would more easily be able to identify me and get help. Makes sense, but it doesn't really seem to necessitate the change. I ask again, if those were the only reasons. They say that I could be cited for not having a Texas driver's license if I were pulled over again.

Now, I love Texas, but that seems a little extreme. Getting a ticket for having an out-of-state driver's license? They said that students were exempt, but not wives of students. Has anyone else ever heard of this in other states?

I must admit, I won't mind getting a new driver's license...the photo on my current one was taken on our wedding day, so my hair is formal and my smile ridiculously large.

*I did receive a ticket when I was 16 for running a stop sign, but I didn't pay for it since I went to teen court. I'll have to save that story for another day.


Laura Bernard said...

I can't believe you've never had a ticket!

As for the out of state license, I never got pulled over in Indiana, so I never had a problem. We kept our OR plates the whole time, too.

On thing to beware of--Oregon vehicle registration is SUPER cheap! So keep it as long as you can! We went from $30 a year to $350 or something outrageous. When she told me the total, I did a double take and clarified this was for one vehicle for one year! She smiled and said all was correct. Nice. Really nice.

Jenny Transtrum said...

As the only one who was in the car with Melanie when she got the FIRST ticket, I can also support her in stating that it wasn't her fault. It was the fault of the four young men in the car we were "following"-- the ones who were putting the finishing decorative touches on the trees when we pulled into her driveway that night.

Also, I would call the DMV and ask about the license thing. I called the NY DMV when we moved here, and they said it was okay if I don't have a NY license (and NY is usually really stupid about these kinds of things).

Steven and Erika said...

Texas thinks it is its own country as you will find out all too they try to gather their forces as soon as possible...hence the advice to get a TX drivers liscense asap! I was told here in DC that I could get a ticket for not having ID on me when touring downtown? huh? I think the police like to make things up to make themselves feel important. Too bad it usually never works on me...Id keep the OR liscense as long as you can too! Too bad about the ticket...that is super frustrating, but you are in a small texas...I bet half the police force is right out of highschool...oh wait...isn't that most of the police force? :)

kerri d said...

Now for a contrary opinion... You are a Texas homeowner, don't you want to vote locally? In some states you can get around this but double check that issue before you assume. Mark still has his OR license and has gotten a ticket for it and I had to argue with the woman at the county clerk's office (and pretty much lie about how recently we've returned from Brazil) to let him re-register to vote at our new address because he is about 6 years beyond the the 6 month leeway they give people (to get a license at their correct address).

As for Laura's comment, first of all a driver's license does not equal licensing your car, but I would think that if you own a home in Texas, how can you claim OR residency to license your car there? (The license/tabs have to be updated annually, right?) Secondly "we believe in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law" even if the law is ridiculously stupid and expensive, right? Otherwise I can think of a few things I wouldn't do...
Sorry if my opinion is a downer. And I am using all this arguments on Mark continually to no avail so perhaps they're not as persuasive as I think!

Snigger Fam said...

If you lived in WA, you would have been cited for talking on your cell phone while driving. That's $101 alone. Eeeek! They'll get theri $$ any way they can!!!

Erin and Spencer said...

I love this story! It gave me a good laugh. I think you need to put some pictures of your new house up! We sure miss you guys!

Borland family said...

When we moved to WA we had to get new licenses. Same reason. Then, when we moved across town, we had to put a sticker on the back with our new address. I think I've had to get a new license every time we've moved....6 times!!!

Jared and Miranda said...

love how i'm commenting on EACH of your posts? that means they're extra good ;-) or, I can just really relate to everything :) I just had to get a new driver's license for moving to ohio. ha! the picture they took is hilarious. I look like i'm 10. NO JOKE. ahhhhhh