17 different women, 36 crazy children, 0 babies in utero
Adventures, Advice and Questions from a group of Mormon women who met in Queens, NY and have now scattered all over the place.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

"Ma'm, that's a misdemeanor..."

I have never been pulled over, issued a citation or arrested for anything. For those of you who know me well, this will come as a surprise.

My beautifully lucky streak (truly lucky, trust me) came to an end today. With my kids in the car. Lovely.

I was at an intersection, came up to the light and made a right turn on red as there were no cars coming in the other direction. This is California - you're allowed to do that. I promptly heard sirens and saw the flashing lights of a police motorcycle right behind me. "Hmmm, who is he following?" I thought. "Hmmmmmm...I think he's following...ME. I wonder why? Hmmmm....maybe I should - yes, I should definately pull over".

He pulled in behind me and I started giggling nervously, going through my purse to find my license. "Oh my goodness, I'm being pulled over" I laughed over and over. My kids were silent - they probably thought I had lost my mind.

I rolled down my window and asked the officer with a big beaming smile, "What's wrong, officer?" I actually said officer.

"M'am, do you know what you did wrong?"

Uh oh...I don't think this is a trick question. I just smiled with big question marks in my eyes.

"M'am...you made a right turn on a RED ARROW".

You have GOT to be kidding me. I am truly the biggest moron EVER.

"Uhhhhh...OH!" I started laughing...loudly. "Well that was totally wrong!"

I'm pretty sure it's not a good idea to freely admit guilt in front of a police officer but I had clearly screwed up so what else was there to say? He smiled and asked for license, registration and proof of insurance. I handed all three over...and then my stomach fell.

I don't have a CA drivers license. I have lived here for 2 full years and have REFUSED to get one - I'm still a proud NY card carrier. Maybe he won't notice, I thought...

"M'am...why don't you have a California drivers license?"

"Ummmm....I just moved here?"


Pause. I immediately decided to lie.

"Three months ago. Yes."

"Really? I"m going to have to run this."

Oh my gosh, I am going to be hauled off to jail for lying to the police. But somehow it seemed so much better to admit to 3 months of ineptitude instead of 2 years. I know what you're all thinking but in the moment it really seemed better than admitting the FULL truth.

As the officer walked away from my car this is the exchange I had with my 3 1/2 year old son:

DS: "Mom, what did the motorcycle man want?

Me: "Well, mommy made a mistake and so the policeman is going to decide what to do with mommy".

DS: "Why did you make a mistake, mom?"

Me: "Well, sometimes - OK, no more talking. We'll talk about this later"

DS: "Mom, what was the mistake?"

Me: "Mommy went go on a red light instead of a green light."

DS: "Why did you do that? You go on green mom".

Good grief. This is just what I need.

The officer returned, handed my cards/papers over and said, "M'am, you are currently driving with an invalid license. By law, I should tow your car. This is a misdemeanor offense."

And here were my thoughts: "@!&$#&*!"

"However...you have little babies in the car and it would be tough to tow your car with them. SO you are going to the DMV and getting a license this week, got it?"


I still got a citation for the worlds stupidest traffic violation (who makes right turn on a RED arrow, I ask) but was spared the humiliation of a tow truck.

I have a babysitter coming on Friday so that I can go to the DMV and officially become a card carrying member of the California driving community.


  • Holy crap, I would have been shaking/crying/throwing up.

    Guess it's a reason to have your kids in the car with you at all times? Plus, having a clean record before this probably didn't hurt you much either.

    Good luck at the DMV.
    posted by Blogger The Wiz at 8/23/2006 06:59:00 PM  

  • I can't believe you've never even been pulled over. I mean, come on! That's crazy! Or incredibly impressive. But I have to go with CRAZY.

    And you KNEW I was going to say this - this story totally redeems me for the endless REAMS of CRAP that I gave you in May when I found out you still had your NYC license. I'm really glad that you had the kids in the car and didn't get some stinkin' ridiculous fine. And I can't wait to see the new picture. ;-)
    posted by Blogger marian at 8/23/2006 08:12:00 PM  

  • That's right, sister, never been pulled over EVER. I'd like to think it's impressive but its really just lucky.

    I know, you've been waiting to see this happen. Well today was the day!

    And I will be beautifully coiffed, tanned and smile gleaming for my drivers license photo op.
    posted by Blogger chloe at 8/23/2006 08:16:00 PM  

  • Was there a "no turn on red" sign? Did you stop before you turned? I guess WA and AK are waaaay different, because you can turn right on red. (whoops, just saw at the end that it was a red ARROW, never mind)
    I also learned that you can turn left on a solid red if you are turning onto a one way. Of course, I only learned that with two people honking behind me in downtown Seattle completely lost...I mean, it's a red light! Why would I think I could turn left?
    posted by Blogger Mo Mommy at 8/23/2006 10:33:00 PM  

  • Oh yes, there was a DO NOT TURN ON RED ARROW sign that I look at 3 times a week and for some reason it didn't register today as a valid traffic sign. You can totally right on red here...just not on red ARROWS. I was a complete moron - I accept that.
    posted by Blogger chloe at 8/24/2006 12:17:00 AM  

  • Good story chloe. I have a feeling he wouldn't have towed you even without the kids in the car...given your record and all. Sometimes I forget my wallet and realize I have been driving without a license.
    posted by Blogger Kage at 8/24/2006 05:07:00 AM  

  • But Kage, driving with your license at home is entirely different than driving without having a current license anywhere.

    Welcome to California, Chloe, now that you're really here.
    posted by Anonymous raising California at 8/24/2006 07:50:00 AM  

  • I had never been pulled over either until two weeks ago. 50 in a 35 and the cop showed no mercy. I has always planned to cry when in this situation to try to gain sympathy, but I just couldn't do it. I was just annoyed because I needed to get home to the babysitter.

    At least mine wasn't a misdemeanor!

    Oh, and I got my CA drivers license a couple weeks after moving here because my NY one expired. I was happy when they didn't make me turn in my old NY license (when I moved to UT for college, I had to give them my CA license when I got my new UT one. That was a sad day.)
    posted by Blogger TftCarrie at 8/24/2006 08:23:00 AM  

  • um...I'm going to the DMV THIS MINUTE, to get a Virginia license (we moved 6 months ago). I honestly didn't know it mattered what state the license was from as long as it wasn't expired.
    posted by Blogger Jen at 8/24/2006 08:48:00 AM  

  • Chloe - we had a similar thing happen when we moved to Cali. DH and I were pulled over at LAX and the officer showed no mercy about still having the NY license. Needless to say we had to get our CA ones ASAP. But I've always kept my NYC cell phone number, so that at least makes me feel more connected to my city roots.

    Sorry your perfect record is now tainted.
    posted by Blogger Beth at 8/24/2006 09:14:00 AM  

  • Beth, I'm glad I'm not the only one who wasn't willing to part with my city roots :). I'm not handing over my license either - DH didn't have to!

    Jen, get thee to the DMV - learn from my mistake!
    posted by Blogger chloe at 8/24/2006 11:45:00 AM  

  • Uh, I guess I should head to the DMV as well. I sort of like having a NY license though. Maybe I will just tell the cop when I am pulled over that I am here "temporarily." I might even be able to say it with a straight face, so long as Carrie is not in the car.
    posted by Blogger Todd L. at 8/24/2006 07:55:00 PM  

  • You know, luck works two ways. Either you don't get pulled over (when you really should be) or, if your like me, your pulled over 8 times before you get your first ticket.

    You know, at least in Oregon and Washington, you don't have to have your license with you in the car. If you get pulled over the cop will just ask for your name and address and look you up in his computer (where he will have your picture, so don't lie), or you can just memorize the number.

    I've actually been pulled over for going 50 in a 35, didn't have my license, registration, or proof of insurance, and the cop still let me off. (Actually I'm pretty sure I had my registration and proof of insurance in the car but this was the first time I'd been pulled over and I didn't know what it looked like, so I pulled the envelope out from the glove box, and asked the officer if he could help me find it. He kind of laughed and went to check to make sure I had a licence.)
    posted by Blogger Trivial Mom at 8/25/2006 09:33:00 AM  

  • Todd, I know how you feel - I like having my NY license - you can take the girl out of NY but you can't take NY out of the girl.

    I am now a proud member of the CA driving community. I went to the DMV this morning, passed my written test and was given a temp license. And you know what? I OK with carrying a CA license. I've lived here 2 years now so I've adjusted :)
    posted by Blogger chloe at 8/25/2006 02:18:00 PM  

  • I had a similar issue when I got a speeding ticket in Salt Lake several months ago--for the first time ever, I might add. I had lived in Utah for almost 5 years and still had my CA license, also because I really didn't know I had to switch. (And because I hate the DMV.) Fortunately the cop was nice enough to let me out of that one . . . but I still never went and changed it.

    Almost a year later, now I'm living in Washington, DC and I still haven't changed from my CA license! Which, BTW, also boasts my maiden name, although I changed my Social Security card to my married name 3 years ago. I guess I'm just tempting fate.

    I've been reading this blog for months now and only just now felt the urge to comment! Funny. Anyway, great blog, I've lurked regularly since I found out I was pregnant with my 1st (due Jan 2).
    posted by Blogger Eliza at 8/25/2006 02:26:00 PM  

  • Eliza, we are so happy to have you here - keep visiting and commenting. Congrats on your first.

    But Eliza, GO to the DMV. Learn from my mistake. I made an appointment online and was in and out in 30 minutes. It's worth it. Today when I was speeding (only slightly, I might add) and saw a police cruiser up ahead, I felt a great sense of relief because now at least when I am hauled off to jail I will have a valid license!
    posted by Blogger chloe at 8/25/2006 07:52:00 PM  

  • Okay, so this is a little behind, but I had to post.

    I am way ahead of you all... I have not, will not and don't care about the consequences, changed my CA. license to a NY one. Nor do I have NY insurance or registration. I have been in NY for almost 4 years. He He. And beat this, my CA. license has my NY address on it. It is so cool!

    As for being pulled over, I have seen you drive Chloe, and I am not surprised at all that you have never been. Not only do you comply with all safety rules and regulations, but you don't go much over the speed limit if at all. You are a perfect example of a law abiding citizen... grams.


    My sisters DH was a CHP officer and he is the fastest and craziest driver I know... go figure!
    posted by Blogger Zinone at 8/28/2006 05:22:00 PM  

  • Ah Z, it's a good thing that I know you love me :)

    And I will admit this to all of you now, but there was one time Z actually told me to scoot over, she was going to drive instead. He he he. And she did a better job than I did - she's actually a good driver :)

    I don't know how you have gotten away with your NY/CA license thing but hats off to you!
    posted by Blogger chloe at 8/28/2006 09:47:00 PM  

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