Driving while…

There’s a well-known term in the African-American community, DWB.  DWB means Driving While Black and it happens regularly.  The term refers to Racial Profiling the idea that certain groups of people are more likely to commit crimes than other groups.  How do I know it happens? I have been a victim of DWB.

Several years ago, my mother and I were traveling from San Antonio TX back to Florida.  Just outside of the Beaumont city limits, I noticed a marked police cruiser in traffic.  I wasn’t speeding and unlike most driver’s, I don’t have any fear of passing a cop who is not doing the speed limit.  So I passed him.

I suppose I should add that IH-10 is the major East West highway in the southern part of the U.S. running from Los Angeles, CA to Jacksonville FL and it passes through San Antonio, TX.  This is importantant because the Major North-South highway, IH 35 crosses IH 10 in San Antonio.  IH 35 runs from Laredo, TX on the Mexican border to Duluth MN where travelers can easily cross into Canada.  Cops understand the significance of this intersection of highways Drugs brought in from Mexico can easily be distributed nationwide using these highways.  But back to my experience.

When I passed the police unit, not speeding mind you; the officer immediately pulled out into the left lane behind me.  The maneuver was so abrupt, I thought perhaps he had received a call.  I was working at the time for the police department so this was my way of thinking.  As soon as I could move over to get out of his way I did so which triggered the blue lights.  Yes, I was being pulled over.

The traffic stop started with license, registration and step out of the car.  The officer’s partner immediately approached the passenger side of the vehicle where my mother was sitting while Officer number one began questioning me about where I had been, what I had done while there and where I was going.  This was prior to me becoming a member of LegalShield, which allows you 24 hour access to an attorney in these situations.

I was questioned at the rear of the vehicle for about five minutes when officer 2 came back and took over the conversation putting an end to the questioning.  Oh and he gave me a very flimsy excuse for why I had been pulled over.  It seems when I got into the right lane to allow them to pass I was ‘too close’ to the panel van in front of me, but I did immediately back off correcting the situation.  I later found out that my mother had not only informed officer two that I was a Police Department employee, but had challenged the officer to call my department and speak with my Chief.

The real reason that I was pulled over?  I was a black woman driving a nondescript car with Florida plates coming from a known drug distribution area.  The officer was so busy questioning me, he never even checked my Driver’s License and registration. I was Racially profiled.

But the Profiling does not stop with race, there are many other forms of profiling:

DWY-Driving While Young as teenagers are targeted

DANCIABN-Driving a Nice Car in a Bad Neighborhood

DABCIANN-Driving a Bad Car in a Nice Neighborhood

DWF-Driving While Female

DWE-Driving While Elderly

The list goes on and on.  Most cops are honest hardworking individuals but like any other group it does have it’s bad apples; those who  see this as a way to legally display their own prejudice, and those who have ‘good intent’ but go about it the wrong way not seeing or realizing what they are doing.

Today I am a member of  LegalShield in addition to being an associate.  I don’t have to worry about being profiled because I know any hour, day or night all I have to do is grab my cell phone and call the LegalShield hotline for help.

Do you have Sammy Hagar Syndrome?

Almost all of us suffer from Sammy Hagar Syndrome at one point or another in our lives.  What is Sammy Hagar Syndrome?  You may know it by another name like a case of Lead foot.  I can’t drive 55, or 70 or whatever the posted speed limit is; in other words speeding.

For most of us it really is not intentional, we are ‘keeping up with traffic’.  Usually we don’t go overboard with the lead foot, but every so often it happens to the best of us and we end up with a speeding ticket.

When we get the ticket the officer tells us our options.  He doesn’t explain what those options mean however and rightly so.  He’s not an attorney it’s not his job.  He’s like Monty Hall on let’s make a deal.  You can pick door number 1, 2 or 3 but he’s not going to tell you what is behind that door.

Our usual method of handling it is to pay the fine and forget about it until the next time we get carried away.   We don’t know what option is best for us because we are not attorneys.  We are like the contestant picking a door and hoping that there’s not a Zonk behind it.

But an attorney can help you understand not just what your options are but which option is in your best interest.