“Never Speed In Virginia: Lessons From My Three Days In Jail”

This post, originally published at Jalopnik.com, was written by Patrick George.

You never really get a good night’s sleep in jail. In the middle of my second night inside, I woke up on the uncomfortable plastic mat in my cell, my neck and back aching. I looked down at my orange jail scrubs and up at the buzzing fluorescent light and thought, “I am here because I drove too fast in a Camaro ZL1.”

At that moment, the whole thing seemed pretty funny. As funny as it could have been considering I was in jail for three days, at least.

***

I knew I would be in trouble a month earlier, when I blasted the ZL1 down a rural straightaway in Virginia and then saw the state trooper’s blue-and-silver Ford Taurus peeking out from the side of the road. I slowed down when I saw him, but his lights came on right away.

The trooper pulled me over and said he had me on radar doing 93 mph in a 55 mph zone. I figured it would be a nasty ticket. It wasn’t, because I got nailed in Virginia, a state where the police and the courts take speeding more seriously than possibly anywhere else in America. A fun day in a very powerful car just got a lot less fun.

***

On Friday, July 25, my wife dropped me off at the Rappahannock Shenandoah Warren Regional Jail in Front Royal. I was escorted inside by a guard, handcuffed, booked, and had my mugshot taken. I was given a set of orange and white striped jail scrubs and a plastic mat and ushered into a big room with two stories of cells on either side. This would be home for the weekend.

I’m not trying to sound like a hardass or anything, but I wasn’t scared. I just wanted to get the three days I had been sentenced to over with.

To answer your inevitable questions right away, I didn’t get raped (that happens in prison more than jail), I didn’t get my ass kicked (that does happen in jail, but it didn’t happen to me), and I wasn’t forced to participate in “inmate fight club” for the sick pleasure of the guards.

None of those fantastical things needed to happen. My jail experience sucked just fine on its own. You might think you can just wait it out, like you’re stuck at an airport, but it’s not like that at all.

There’s nothing nice about being confined somewhere, cut off from the outside world, and totally at the mercy of some bureaucracy who may or may not lose your discharge papers at a whim.

***

When I was pulled over during a press drive earlier this summer, I had been living in Washington D.C. for about a year and a half. In that time, I had been warned repeatedly — by ex-Virginia resident Matt Hardigree, by many of our readers, and by a host of other people — that you don’t ever speed in Virginia. But I had no clue just how serious the consequences would be. Maybe “serious” isn’t the right word. After everything that happened, “ridiculous” seems a little more accurate.

It started out the same way as any other press drive: breakfast, a presentation about how swell things are at Chevrolet these days, a briefing on the prescribed route we’d be driving on, and a warning that cops were out there and that we shouldn’t break any laws. Another writer chimed in to say how many points you could get on your license if you were caught speeding in Virginia.

I remember hearing all of this, and noting it. But then I got behind the wheel of the ZL1 later in the day, and we set out on some of the fantastic backroads and rural highways in the Shenandoah Valley.

Let me tell you something about the Camaro ZL1: it is obscenely, unbelievably fast. That supercharged 6.2-liter V8 has just an endless well of power at its disposal. Thrust feels unlimited, like you just turned on a fire hose that sprays horsepower and torque instead of water. It feels like it can outrun anything. It feels like it wants pick on Lamborghinis at elementary school, stealing their lunch money and shoving their faces in the dirt. In terms of pure acceleration, the ZL1 makes the new Corvette Stingray — certainly no slouch in that department — feel like the piece of shit Honda Civic you drove in college.

“The power is intoxicating,” a GM PR man said as he rode shotgun with me. Intoxicating. That was a good way to put it. There were moments, brief but incredibly fast moments, where the power seemed to turn off the rational centers of my brain. With the road clear ahead of us and really no one around, I did a few brief high-speed runs, indulging in the immense power and the supercharger’s whine.

When we test a fast car on public roads we have to walk a fine line. We have to see what these cars can do, but aren’t supposed to drive dangerously or flagrantly break the law. If we do, we’re on the hook for the ticket or the arrest. And I was having a little too much fun in this ZL1.

***

Given what I was convicted of, I expected most of the inmates in my section to be people like me, low-level fuckups who drove too fast or didn’t pay their child support.

They weren’t. Almost everyone I met had been in prison — prison, not jail — at least once. Most were in for drugs or parole and probation violations, serving months-long sentences or awaiting trials. One guy was there because he strangled his girlfriend.

I made friends with one inmate who was about my age. He was an artist, and had a chess set he made out of loose pieces of paper. We played a few games together. He was a heroin addict. I gave him the white thermal sweater I brought in with me when I left. In for a seven month sentence, I figured he needed it more than I did. He was a good guy, just one whose drug habit kept putting him back in jail or on the streets.

I don’t say this because I looked down on anyone I met inside. Quite the opposite. After this I feel bad for anyone who has had to experience jail, regardless of what they did. Then again, jail is supposed to suck and there are a plenty of people who deserve to be in there. That’s the entire point.

Most everyone I met inside was pretty decent to a jail newbie like me. They were just trying to do their time and get out, the same as I was. Same with the correctional officers I dealt with. Who really wants that job, anyway?

One thing that really drove me nuts is that all everyone talks about in jail is why they’re in there, how much time they have left, how their lawyer or a judge screwed them over, how they got framed by their friend, how the bitch lied to the cops and set him up. Their stories got old pretty quickly.

***

We missed a left turn off Route 211, so I decided to drive further down the road and loop around. I gunned it again, rowing through the gears, and then backed off when I saw the State Trooper’s car parked beside the road. It all happened very quickly, and I’m not joking when I say that — the trooper had me going 93 mph, something instrumented testing at Road & Tracksays happens in only about seven seconds.

I should be very clear that we were out on some rural, remote back roads. These roads weren’t anywhere near schools or towns, and have lots of curves and very little traffic. I did what a lot of us have done — I was in a powerful car in the middle of nowhere, and I opened it up when I thought it was safe and when I thought I could get away with it. Clearly, I didn’t.

During the traffic stop the trooper was polite and professional. My passenger the GM rep explained whose car it was and that we were on a media drive. The trooper told me I was going way too fast in a 55 mph zone and he had to charge me with reckless driving. (By the way, telling the cop you’re a journalist doesn’t get you out of speeding tickets. Quite the opposite, in some cases.)

The trooper also took the time to explain what that meant, legally speaking, to a transplant like me not familiar with the local laws. That was kind of him. I wasn’t arrested, I was merely given a summons to appear in court. He didn’t impound the ZL1 either, which I’m told he easily could have done.

We were released and allowed to continue the drive, but I didn’t put in much seat time after that, riding shotgun with another writer back to the hotel. I wasn’t in the mood to drive at all, fast or otherwise.

***

I told a handful of friends I would be going to jail for a weekend. All of them were floored, since I apparently don’t come off as the jail-going type, and almost every person asked if it would be like Orange Is The New Black. Apparently a softcore porn on Netflix is everyone’s sole frame of reference for prison and jail, which is kind of hilarious and sad considering the U.S. has the highest incarceration rate of any nation in the world. But I digress.

Mostly, jail is boring as sin. There were no books to read. There were no weights to lift. There were no clocks inside either, not that time matters much. They locked us in our cells for at least half the day and we spent the rest of the time milling around a common area or a walled-off half basketball court. The food is barely that, meeting only the minimum amount of state-mandated daily calories and nothing else.

I guess you’re supposed to just sit around contemplating what a burden you are to the taxpayers, which was about $104 a day in my case, if you’re curious.

My time inside wasn’t some horrible, hell-on-earth situation, but it wasn’t a pleasant experience. If your only experience with jail is what you’ve seen on TV or in movies, you don’t have a clue how much it sucks. On the plus side, the RSW Regional Jail was a new facility, one that just opened this summer and was nice as far as jails go.

This also meant it had plumbing issues and a staff who didn’t know what they were doing yet, which led to a lot of confusion among inmates about exactly when and how they were supposed to be released.

***

I should probably explain why going into Virginia to have fun in a car is a bad idea in the first place. See, they’re crazy about speeding there. Really, really crazy. Speed limits are set absurdly low, 45 mph on some highways. Radar detectors are illegal, and cops have devices to detect them. And if you get caught going over 80 mph at all, that’s automatically a reckless driving charge.

Reckless driving is not a traffic citation, it’s a criminal charge, and a Class One misdemeanor at that. That means it’s the highest level of misdemeanor you can be charged with in Virginia, right below a felony. The maximum penalty for a reckless driving conviction is a $2,500 fine, a six month driver’s license suspension, and up to a year in jail.

See what I mean when I told you it’s serious? They hand it out like it’s Halloween candy, too. You drive 20 mph over the limit, it’s reckless driving. They even charge you with it for failing to properly signal, or when you’re found to be at fault in a car wreck. I’ve heard of some cases where people get 30 days in jail if they speed over 100 mph.

Other Class One misdemeanors in Virginia include animal cruelty, sexual battery, and aiming a firearm at someone. This is how the state regards people who drive over 80 mph.

Continue reading…

In the remainder of the article, among other things, the writer goes on to make statements such as the following:

But that doesn’t excuse what I did. I came into Virginia and broke their laws; I drove way too fast. This is my fault and no one else’s.”

“Oh well. Don’t break the law next time, I guess.”

I was disappointed to see that while the writer referred to the situation as “ridiculous,” rather than questioning the actions of the government employees who claimed he was in the wrong when, as he stated, “[He] didn’t hurt anyone, or kill anyone, […] or beat [his] wife, or steal,” he simply accepted the claim that he was in the wrong as fact, because his actions were “against the law.”  Clearly, the only victim in this situation was the writer.

EPN
  • Common Sense

    First

  • Common Sense

    Moral of the story, don’t speed. Got it.

  • t

    I like that he takes responsibility for his actions…..well at least he doesn’t duck what he did. He only part that worried me was that I don’t think he learned anything from it….other than it sucked that he got caught.
    He gushes about the cars power…..but ignores the danger that he put everyone else in by driving that fast.

  • Tyler

    93 in a 55. Dont complain about jail dumbass.

  • Sikko

    So, let’s see, the author of the original story owns what he did, he even seemed to understand why it was wrong, and so we decide to throw an editorial statement on to the end that removes the responsibility of the author from the equation? That makes sense there, Kate. Over and over on this site there is a continuous spew of the “conditional threat” that is inherent in a police stop, but why do we ignore the threat that non-“costumed” individuals create with their actions? Here the guy got it, emphasized in the word intoxicating, he may not have been remorseful of his actions, he may or may not have taken a lesson from the whole affair, but he accepted his INDIVIDUAL responsibility for his actions.

  • Jebat

    Over the top fines and punishments? Absolutely. But then ultimately who’s fault is that? Why I’d say that it would be the judges and elected officials. You can be pissed off all day at the cops but that will accomplish nothing. Go after the politicians. Hold THEM accountable.

  • Mike G

    So going to jail is suitable punishment for breaking arbitrary speed limits? Why do you people even come to this site? It’s obvious you defer to the authority of petty tyrants (i.e. cops and politicians), so why come here at all?

  • Sikko

    Speed limits are arbitrary? Really? I guess you are unaware of the number of studies that have been done in regards to average reaction time vs vehicle speed that have been done.

    Most come here to simply bitch about cops, some come to discuss the concept of accountability, and some come for their own amusent.

  • Tyler

    You’re an idiot. If the guy wasn’t speeding, then there wouldn’t be “over the top” fines and punishments. You can only blame the driver of the car. The judge didn’t tell him to speed, the politicians didn’t tell him to speed. Responsibility lies in the operator of the vehicle.

  • mobooz
  • JC

    You were busted for driving 93mph in a 55mph zone. At least you take responsibility for your actions. To complain that the laws are so “strict” is BS. You chose to drive that fast. You are lucky you only got 3 days in jail.

  • Paully

    you are clearly an idiot or a Judge/law maker. Neither of those would surprise me… you think speeding deserves three days in jail? You are what is wrong with this country. You probably think giving someone a seat belt ticket is justifiable as well. More of the government putting us in a box and thinking they can be our parent… shame on you!

  • Paully

    He was in an area with no people around being somewhat responsible. Cops need to use better discretion in situations like this. It’s called common sense… Cops need to use more of it…

  • Tyler

    No, I dont think either of those things. Jumping to those conclusions and grasping at strings, my friend. He spent 3 days in jail. Chances are 93 in a 55 is either a felony or he is a repeat offender. I would say repeat offender considering the type of car he owns. I dont think seatbelt tickets are justifiable and personally think it is bullshit. BUT, on the other hand, it isnt like the cops are asking me to suck their cocks so I will wear a seatbelt because I like that money in my wallet. I am all for holding police accountable, but unlike most CBers on here, I am intelligent with it. I dont put myself in hot water and I am respectful. No body forced this guy to speed except his self. It is all his fault and no one elses.

  • Tyler

    93 in a 55 is not “somewhat responsible”

  • Paully

    when no one is around it is. I used to do 150+ on my crotchrocket on the backroads. I don’t think i deserved to be in jail for 3 days and lose my license.

  • Tyler

    You are an idiot. I hope you are speeding at 150+ and a deer jumps out in front of you, or a leaf hits you, upsetting your balance. You would learn your lesson then.

  • JC

    Speeding is speeding. It doesn’t matter where you do it. If it’s on city, county, or interstate hwys.

  • mb81

    So I wanted to comment on this one having lived in Virginia for over a decade and being a person with a 8 page front and back driving record from Virginia. Now I don’t say that because I’m proud of it but I do want people to understand I am no saint and have had more than my fair share of speeding tickets there. They include more than several speeding tickets of which 3 were reckless driving tickets lowered to speeding in court, and roughly 2 pages can be dedicated to Virginia’s DMV screwing up on more than one occasion causing my license to be suspended and then getting tickets for that which then got reversed in court and my license reinstated (long story not related).

    To what I wanted to cover, I’ve been charged with reckless driving 3 times and never found guilty of it. In Virginia it’s not just anything over 80mph but also anything 20mph over the posted limits. He was not pulled over because he broke 80, he was pulled over because he was doing almost 40mph over the posted limit. This is where differences occur – see in my times I was charged for breaking 80 in a 70, and for going 21/23 over the posted limit so when I went in front of the judge as is required in Virginia they dropped it to speeding and nailed me with a sizable fine. What they don’t take kindly to is significantly breaking the limit but no state does.

    He calls out Virginia here yet most states this could have ended him in jail for a weekend, it’s true Virginia is probably the state that comes down the hardest but truth is reckless driving in just about any state is a class 1 misdemeanor that can get you a sizable fine and up to a year in jail.

    It should be understood that going to jail is not very common for it, generally it depends on how good your lawyer is (if you choose to get one), how your driving record looks, and the exact nature of how/why you received the charge.

    In this case the writer was going 40mph over, not 21,22,23 which they routinely drop to speeding (if the officer isn’t nice enough to do at the time) so it’s not really a surprise that they put him up for the weekend. He wrote the article as if he was done this huge injustice and to call out Virginia while playing at and hiding behind the fact that he knew he did wrong and it was his fault. Truthfully there is no story here, he just had nothing better to do.

    So it gets to me that Kate here thinks this is some kind of injustice and that the driver was the real victim here. Sure this man didn’t kill anyone, didn’t assault anyone etc – those go well beyond misdemeanors too in every state.

    It’s really easy to say he didn’t hurt anyone but you have to end that with the words “this time”. Let me tell you now why, in that same 3 years ago I totaled my 1998 Dodge Avenger, when a woman driving only 10mph over the speed limit on a rural Virginia road went wide in a turn forcing me off the road and rolling into a ditch while she ended up rolling her car twice – with so speed in the roll that she went never scratched the passenger side mirror since the car went airborne. Thankfully her two passengers and myself were all banged up but otherwise survived. Now think if she had been going 40 over instead of 10, how much worse that could have been.

    It’s very easy to say these laws are unfair, and that the consequences are not justifiable, and that this is some evil regime but the fact is that the laws exist for a reason, their consequences are high because the risks are high and those consequences are meant in part to make you consider the risks.

  • mb81

    Paully, I’ve been charged with reckless driving in Virginia 3 times, all times lowered to speeding with sizable fines – this is not just a matter of him breaking 80mph, it’s because he was doing almost 40mph over the posted limit in a 55.

    Now you may think that’s not much but on most Virginia roads like what he describes the speeds are set between 45-55mph for a few reasons – first because blind corners are extremely common, second because there are hidden driveways on many of them or attached side roads, and finally third because there are multiple kinds of wildlife including deer, turkey, raccoon that will walk out in front of you.

    I think excessive speeding to this degree does justify a weekend in the lockup, especially if it means he slows down from now on. I’m not a cop, not a judge, I am a citizen so I am technically a law maker (as we all are) but I am also a person who’s seen more than my fair share of tickets in Virginia and seen where they like to draw the line of a slap on the wrist with a fine compared to a learning experience.

    I can’t say shame on the original poster for speeding, I’ve done the same, but shame on you Paully and shame on Kate who posted this here on CopBlock – this is not a case of injustice, this is a case of a man being a little bitter at the fact that he screwed up and spent a weekend in jail for it. This is why he was convicted of reckless driving instead of it being dropped to the non-criminal offense of improper driving.

    Tyler – to your assumption it’s not a felony, that said the punishment is no different than almost every other state.

  • mb81

    Going 40mph over in a 55mph zone – yea it is suitable – sorry but it’s not like we’re even talking about 20mph over which is in the state of Virginia usually lowered to improper driving or speeding.

    In this case he was nearly doubling it on public roads, and while he likes to claim is a lightly unused rural road, that’s the same type of road I was nearly killed on when a driver doing only 10mph over went wide running me off the road rolling into a ditch while she rolled her car twice in the air with her two friends inside.

    If he had been doing 80/81 in a 70 (yes there are 70/65/60mph limits in VA even though he implies that 55 is the top of it), or if he had been doing 75/76 then yea I’d be surprised because they will usually just lob a hefty fine and lower it to speeding – but he was going a lot faster than that.

  • mb81

    Then don’t do that in any state – in most 150+ will get you more than 3 days because you’re going well beyond reckless driving at that point.

    Tyler has a great point – and it’s not uncommon in Virginia for a deer, possum, raccoon, turkey or any number of other animals to come running out in the roads.

    But lets take that further, Virginia a lot of those roads have hidden driveways and entrances, blind corners, etc – what if it was a person not an animal.

    You’re considering it responsible because no one was there or hurt this time. 40mph over, and in your case on the bike triple the speed limit is NEVER responsible.

    From where they were if he wanted to drive it like that then maybe they should have considered a bit of time on the track at Summitt Point Motorsport Park (20-45min away depending on traffic).

  • mb81

    The cop did use common sense, 40mph over is not a small amount over. The cop by the drivers own statements was nice and easy to deal with, which leads me to believe he’s like most Virginia cops I’ve had pull me over, and if it had been 21,22,23 over he would have likely only been given a speeding ticket but he was going a lot faster than that.

  • mb81

    sad part is from where they were, there are 2 1/8th mile tracks, and 1 road course all within 30min driving time.

  • Jebat

    Did the guy deserve to get a speeding ticket? Yes. Should the punishment have been substantial? That depends on how you define substantial. I am no fan of the high amounts that are charged for traffic tickets, minor tickets especially. Court costs? In the computer age, does it really cost 80 bucks to “process” a ticket? Are punishments comparable to the crime? If a guy steals something or hurts someone he deserves jail time. If the guy is going 150 in a Ferrari, yes he should be in jail. But in this case I think that the fine and jail was excessive. Now who should get the blame for that? The cop merely enforcing the law as he should, the lawmaker who made provisions for such a severe punishment, or the judge who interprets what the punishment should be? This is where the copblock movement fails as they cannot differentiate between the guy who merely finds the offense and the system that actually punishes the offender.

  • steve

    Yep yur rite

  • steve

    The guy shows he is accountable more than one time and t still trolls the guy.

  • steve

    After the guy held himself accountable , just as t did, you troll him.

  • steve

    Yep

  • JC

    You seem to be the only one trolling. Isn’t your mommy giving you enough attention at home?

  • Paully

    that is such a simple minded answer. the law isn’t black and white, there is a grey area. Good cops can use good discretion on crimes such as this.. oh wait there are no good cops so i guess they can’t. It shocks me you think 3 days in jail is justifiable for speeding..

  • JC

    Again, speeding is speeding. Live with it.

  • Tyler

    Hey, I never assumed a felony. I did mention it is either a felony or he is a repeat offender. It could be possible that VA is really strict. Usually where I come from, it is either double the speed limit or over 100 mph on HIGHWAYS. Never have I sped more than 15 over on windy roads.

  • Paully

    I can tell you are a Cop.. lol

  • tyler

    The guy isn’t quite 100% accountable. He posted his story to copblock to get a rise out of these people. He also complained that he didnt deserve the weekend in jail. Doesnt sound too accountable to me.

  • tyler

    So what if he is. Speed limits are there for a reason. If you cant do the time, dont do the crime.

  • MakeAllDrugsLegal

    Its only 38 MPH over. The cop didn’t have to give him a ticket, could have gave him a warning & he could have been on his way. but he was looking for a raise that month. & the judge was looking for some new golf clubs.

  • MakeAllDrugsLegal

    Just horrible to go to jail for a moving violation. The guy should have never stopped & the cop would have never caught up 2 him.

  • Paully

    That’s such an ignorant statement. The crime is way to harsh that is the problem. This government has become tyrannical and it’s people like me that realize this. If it wasn’t for us we wouldn’t even have a constitution… people like you just blindly follow the rules regardless of the harsh punishment because it’s “the law” pathetic if you ask me…

  • tyler

    I then hope he would have hit a deer or something and totaled his car. That would have taught him a lesson. He was stupid and he got caught.

  • tyler

    This is the second time you try to tell me what I am about. Second time you failed. If the government tries to knock on my door to take my weapons, well that just wont happen. Speed limits are a reasonable law for every ones safety. I, unlike what you seem, can recognize the difference between laws and tyranny. Speed limits are reasonable laws. Going against stuff like the second amendment and such are tyranny.

  • Paully

    See you are trying to act like i dont believe in speeding laws at all. Of course i do. i never said i didnt.. but thats all you want to hear to help your argument. I simply said the “punishment” for speeding was to harsh. 3 days in jail for speeding is a bit much. but you want to focus on speeding laws in general like i am against them all together. come on now… speeding laws are necessary but this punishment was ridiculous.

  • tyler

    Its only 38 MPH over. Youre right. Thats not the case. He was going 93. Imagine if he rounded a corner and a kid was trying to ride his bike or maybe some pregnant woman was broke down on the side of a road. Yeah, its only 38 over, but he was going 93. The breaking distance at that speed is too great.

  • tyler

    Not when he is going 93 miles per hour. And, though we dont know this, he was probably a repeat offender or maybe there was other charges. For you to read the story and not sit and actually think about it is ignorant (not an insult, there is a difference between ignorance and stupidity).

  • Paully

    i agree there is a difference with ignorance and stupidity. but with this punishment we are going to have to agree to disagree. lucky for you, this country favors taking away our liberties little by little. like seat belt tickets, helmet laws(even for bicycles..) the government likes to play our parent.. i see laws being more and more harsh just like this 3 days in jail for going 93 in a 55. so you win and i lose.. tyranny 1 liberties 0…

  • Tyler

    First off, how the fuck would I win in that situation? Really, explain that to me. I do believe the government is tyrannical. I dont believe shit like speed limits and such are tyrannical laws. There is a much bigger issue that these little laws. Like the huge laws. Obama care and shit. The government loves the sheep like yourself that are so caught up in these little laws to ignore the much bigger shit. Tyranny wins because people like you.

  • RaymondbyEllis

    Some cops hurrying to work should take notice too, you know that Florida incident don’t you? All the local cops were just excoriating that State cop. I’m not saying this of you in particular, but it does seems there’s a big double standard that a Mack truck could be driven through. BTW, it wasn’t any different on PoliceOne except for a very few good cops.

  • RaymondbyEllis

    Well, in some states he probably wouldn’t have gotten the three days in jail. Accountability doesn’t mean accepting the punishment without complaint, in fact accountability doesn’t mean the punishment is deserved. Let’s take it to the extreme, the punishment for 38 mph over is beheading. You’d complain if your head was on the block. Let’s take it to the other extreme, just a small fine. Likely no one would complain. In between is another matter…

    I read OZ and NZ papers everyday, everyday. OZ has a population roughly that of the LA-San Diego metro area and NZ that of Phoenix Metro. Their crime rate is substantially lower, and their punishments are substantially lower. Yet anyone in OZ and NZ can claim they have acknowledged their responsibility and have embraced accountability. You can sue police in NZ for compensation when they act unlawfully, and I only write that because their national board of police oversight forced a cop to make a public apology for his use of a taser. Oh, fears of liability.

  • RaymondbyEllis

    I could imagine that if he was going 15 mph over. Or going the speed limit. The overall stopping distance at 40 mph is 120 feet (http://www.driveandstayalive.com/info%20section/stopping-distances.htm) so that kid just around the corner is dead, so is that pregnant woman. I guess you could claim they are more dead because he was going faster.. At 50 mph it’s another 50 feet, so they’d be more dead than at 40 but less dead than at 93.

    I’m I agreeing with going 93 mph in a 45? Not one iota, I don’t think someone should spend time in jail if no one was actually hurt, I do think the license should be suspended and the car booted. However long, a month, good enough? Not everything needs a criminal charge and time in jail. If the spouse needs that car for work, a whole lot of other punishment will go on for that month.

    Why do you guys always think jail?

  • RaymondbyEllis

    JC, there are other possibilities other than jail except to those that think the only possibility is jail. Boot the damn car after it’s towed to his driveway. Charge him the tow and rental on the boots. Force him to take the bus, worse force his partner.

    Why is it always jail with you guys? Stuck in a rut, or is it just a fetish about caging people? From an economic stand point, unless your jail is paid by head (that would be a jailor’s self-interest wouldn’t it), booting the car is more productive for society.

  • RaymondbyEllis

    Actually, with all the hidden driveways, exits, blind corners, etc., why is the speed limit 55? That’s a stopping distance of about 55 feet over 45 mph. Responsible Virginia citizens should be arguing for a lowering of that speed limit to 45 if not 35-40.

    Now, mb81, I agree with you over it not being responsible, I do. I’m just irked by the arguments that support him being jailed without a hint of any other way to deal with it.

    I will write one other thing, I seriously doubt that even one person here has never exceeded a speed limit by 20 mph (when passing a car you may not exceed the speed limit in many states), there may be one that has never grossly exceeded the speed limit as this guy did. It’s not an excuse for him, just a reminder for the rest of you.

  • RaymondbyEllis

    Actually, a deer at 55 mph on a motorcycle can be life ending. Tyler, just to help you, the motorcycles built today that can go 150+ (I may be showing my age but the Hayabusa was 190+ last I looked) won’t be shaken by a leaf, or a squirrel or a small dog. Too much suspension movement. Old bikes with 3.5 to 5 inches of travel might go down if the motorcyclist doesn’t raise his butt off the seat. Glad you wish harm on others so you can feel self-righteous.

    You have never gone over the speed limit, ever, I assume.

  • RaymondbyEllis

    Yeah, the cop was in his bounds of discrestion. Although the speeds of over 20 mph pretty much will give you a reckless driving charge in Arizona. Not always, but you’re really shooting for one.

  • RaymondbyEllis

    Keep that in mind the next time you do. Remember, it doesn’t matter whether you’re caught or not, you still did the crime.

  • RaymondbyEllis

    Keep that in mind the next time you do. Remember, it doesn’t matter whether you’re caught or not, you still did the crime. You did the crime.

  • RaymondbyEllis

    So, tyler, I expect you follow the speed limits at all times and every time. Otherwise you’ve done the crime. If you have done the crime, why did you choose to be a criminal?

  • RaymondbyEllis

    Speed limits are reasonable laws. It’s a shame that everyone has broken them at least once.

  • RaymondbyEllis

    Now, you’re making distinctions I like. But supposing that someone raising a question against the little laws doesn’t raise a question about the bigger laws doesn’t really follow does it? Sometimes the little laws, like sitting at the back on a bus, are about the bigger laws.

    In this case, no, speed limits are reasonable in order to maintain safe highways. If only every last person hasn’t broken them…

  • RaymondbyEllis

    Sikko, I’m not sure that it is ignored. Not every story here gets a thumbs up by all (I’m neglecting the usual suspects) or most.

    However, this site is about what cops do wrong, even when the other guy does things wrong. In this case, there was nothing the cop did wrong, and what the guy did had nothing to do with the interaction between cop and citizen (or sheeple using police jargon from PoliceOne). Most of the postings here are about interaction.

    If you want a site that does just the opposite, go to PoliceOne. There you’ll get to see people ignoring the threat posed by the cop (by lack of training, by enforcing personal beliefs, by ego, by impatience, or wrong headed P&Ps) and almost exclusively about the citizen’s behavior. Make allowance that when a cop really goes off the rails they, but not all, don’t make excuses for that cop, but otherwise they do.

    To answer your question “Over and over on this site there is a continuous spew of the “conditional threat” that is inherent in a police stop, but why do we ignore the threat that non-“costumed” individuals create with their actions?” because that isn’t what this site is about, it’s about what police do wrong and not through the police view of what is right, which is often just procedural. In this circumstance the threat was high speed, if he had been beaten by the cops once he was stopped, his actions before have no bearing.

    I’ve written this before, if you believe in responsibility, accountability, and agency you have to look at the actions of all the players each step of the way. I saw the entire Rodney King video, at a point it changed from King wrong to cops wrong. (And please don’t bring up the Simi Valley verdict as absolution.)

  • RaymondbyEllis

    Do you really have it or is it just that you’ve never been caught? If you have exceeded the speed limit by 10+ miles, why did you act criminally? In fact, why didn’t you turn yourself in at the first opportuniy?

  • Sikko

    Go back and read the end of this posting, the editorial addition by Kate. That statement, just like the bulk of commentary that agrees with the assessment of “the only victim” being the author flat out ignore the fact that the author was driving recklessly, and was punished for driving recklessly.

    The author readily admits to being intoxicated by the power of the car, which led to his driving with excessive speed, which is reckless behavior, and a threat to those he may have encountered on the roads. At the speeds he was traveling his braking distance is greatly increased, the amount of time he had to react to anything in the road is greatly reduced, and the potential to lose control of his vehicle due to his speed and minimal reaction time are greatly increased. In short, that excessive speed, brought on by the intoxicating power of the car, was reckless, and posed a threat.

    This site is about “what cops do wrong?” Well, what did the cop do wrong in this story? According to Kate, the cop did wrong by stopping the guy and issuing him a ticket for his reckless driving, since there was no victim but the author, this despite the fact that the cop didn’t set the punishment.

  • JC

    I don’t make the laws and I don’t make the punishments for breaking those laws. Obviously the speeding in that state is to a point that jail time is the next option. The state would have to pay for thousands of boots. Jail time is a good deterrent. The bottom line is, Don’t speed and you won’t have to worry about it.

  • tyler

    Chances are, he was a repeat offender or maybe on probation. Of course, that wouldnt be told because most of us will say “dumbass”

  • Tyler

    Oh, I go over the speed limit. I dont go 93 in a 55 though.

  • Jenny R.

    OT; is it just me or does the author seem to be more playing at a thinly veiled car advertisement ‘guised as a legal gruff?

  • defiant103

    Uh. I’m with you for some of what you wrote, but tell me the truth… Did you actually read it? Because it was a press drive, not his own personal car…… XD

    Virginia has a lot to learn about speed limits. They are most definitely too low, and are most definitely used as a revenue stream. Compare them to national averages, or other similarly developed areas (Germany is as rural as it gets, for comparison), and it becomes really obvious.

    But he was warned, he knew the risk, did it anyway. That part is on him for sure. The rest about 20 over defaults, agonizingly low speeds on freeways (not the article location), and the law being used mostly as a revenue stream, is right – need to hold the politicians responsible for that silliness.

  • Sikko

    What makes you say that Virginia’s speed limits are too low? National averages is not a good comparison at all, mountainous states are going to have lower speed limits than states that are mostly flat, and for good reason. Virginia’s speed limits are comparable to neighboring and nearby states.

  • kneelie

    I am shocked that so many are supporting jail time and condemning him. Speed limits are often arbitrary and vary widely depending on the state, county, or city. Rarely are they set for saftey. Studies show speed limits should be set at the 85th percentile of drivers speed if there where no speed limits, but if they even reference this it is usually based on current speed limits so the 85th percentile ends up being 5 over curent. Many locations the speed limits are set arbitrarily low to generate revenue. In many states it is best to hire a lawyer and fight the ticket.

  • RaymondbyEllis

    Like I wrote, charge ’em rent on the boot. Quick return on investment.

    Given that I doubt anyone here hasn’t broken a speed limit, including at least 10 over the limit, “don’t speed” just seems quite funny.

  • RaymondbyEllis

    Don’t disagree that may have been left out for the very reason you gave, but we’ll never know either way.

  • Common Senz

    Virginia and far too many Virginians are control freak religious
    assholes. Do ministers who rob widows of their retirement and relatives
    of their inheritance by promising salvation and avoiding hell go to jail
    there? No. What do you expect from a state of antipleasure
    fundamentalist christians that has produced such famous multimillionaire
    liars as Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell?

  • Joe

    I know Im late to this convo but I wanted to add something. I got pulled for 95/55 on the interstate in VA. 4 lanes each direction, no traffic, clear day, I put my 2015 Z06 Vette in second gear, hit it for about 3 seconds, and instantly slowed back down to under the speed limit (never saw the officer). Unbeknownst to me, cop going other direction managed to clock me. As I was just cruising at the speed limit, I see a cop *flying* well in he triple digits and up behind me and finally pull me over. I get the ticket, grab a lawyer, go to court, and get a jail sentence. So I’m in a vehicle that was designed to go that speed, no-one around, have done numerous HPDEs, and only sped for the briefest of time, and thats a menace to society, morally reprehensible to the equivalent of sexual battery. Mean while, johnny law is in a four door sedan, loaded with massive extra weight of gear and equipment, is somehow not as dangerous because of flashy lights. So is it about the physics of the situation or the flashy lights you have? What other profession would it be to say “I had to commit sexual battery to catch him comitting sexual battery!” I dont have a perfect record but its not bad. (2 small <10 over tickets from the last 6 years). This charge could cost me job, let alone all the out of pocket costs. . .

    Just keep this in perspective…