“Bogus Failure to Stop Tickets”

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Photo by PoPville flickr user fromcaliw/love

“Dear PoPville,

Wondering if anyone has received a bogus ticket for failure to stop in Petworth/Columbia Heights and how you resolved the issue. I drive the same route Monday through the Friday, part of which includes crossing Georgia Avenue at Park, Morton, or Lamont going eastbound. Many of you that live and drive in the neighborhood know that 1) the police substation is on Park between Sherman and Georgia; 2) the officers that cannot find parking on Park, park their cruisers on Morton; and 3) 95% of the time there is cruiser parked by the post office during morning and afternoon school hours to ensure children walking to school are given the right of way to cross in the numerous cross walks between Lamont and Park. Last many of you know that where Morton and Lamont intersects with Geogia are “blind intersections” because there are usually several cars parked along the southbound lane of Georgia.

With all the foregoing in mind along with a excellent driving record, avoiding an accident as well as hitting small school children, would anyone fail to stop at a stop sign? You guessed it….I came to a complete stop (rocking back and all) and I STILL GOT A F’IN TICKET. Note, in the 30 years I have been driving, half of which in Columbia Heights where I live, I have only received 1 moving violation and it was issued by the same officer in 2011 for the same BS offense. Obviously, I will be contesting the ticket, but I am taking it as step further…..I am filing a complaint with the MPD Ombudsman against the officer. I have taken pictures of the intersection and there is no way in hell he would have been in a position to observe my car let alone it’s wheels.

What I would like to know if any of you have been in the same position and how you handled it. Also, if any of you have had success with getting dash cam video/pics from MPD I would appreciate any advice you are willing to give. If it was $50.00 and done, I would let this sleeping dog lie, but this will be the second time my insurance will go up as a result of the same lying-ass police officer trying to pad his stats. Some neighbors have also informed me that these bogus stops have been made in hopes that the police officer may discover that the driver doesn’t have proof of insurance or car registration which carries fines in the hundreds of dollars.

Enough for now–look forward to hearing your responses.”

22 Comment

  • Oh for heaven’s sake! What did this clever officer have to say to you?

  • If you get probation before judgment which is likely given you’re driving record, you won’t get points on your license, and therefore, your insurance won’t go up.
    Always good to fight it for that very reason. Also the cop might not show, and it’ll get dismissed. Good luck!

  • I observe this stop on a daily basis and only see police pull people over when they do NOT stop while people are crossing. This is a dangerous crossing and I am happy they are enforcing it.

  • I live on Keefer and can sympathize with the blinder intersection. I’d contest the ticket with a persuasive and calm account of what happened. Filing a complaint against the office doesn’t sound productive or like a good idea.

    • Comment Artist

      So the officer is simply allowed to continue abusing his power unchecked? That does not sound like a very good idea.

    • Honestly it sounds like there might be more to the story. How would he remember the exact cop from 5 years ago?
      .
      But assuming that it’s just two bogus traffic cites, the complaint sounds like a great way to get every cop in the area targeting him for failure to stop tickets. Contest the ticket, let it go, and bitch about it to your friends at a bar.

  • I’m 99% sure that MPD officers don’t have any stats to pad, which is why they write so few tickets for moving violations. In my experience, you have to do something really egregious to get a ticket from a cop in this city.

  • DC1

    A couple of quick things from personal experience:
    – (Sadly) Filing an official complaint with the Office of Police Complaints will get you nowhere. I have filed a few back in the day with videos, pictures, etc proving inappropriate behavior, and yet the complaints were magically dismissed. I’m pretty sure their Union has a lot to do with this.
    – Under the freedom of information act, it is *fairly* easy to obtain any video or pictures taken by them. If they claim there is none, then there is no way for the cop to PROVE that you did anything wrong. foia-dc.gov/palMain.aspx
    – Invest in a cheap-o dash cam yourself (they go for around $60 on amazon). This things have been a life-saver for me sooo many times, even when contesting parking tickets.

  • Even if you came to a complete stop, did you come to a complete stop behind the white line (also known as the stop bar). If you did not come to a complete stop before the stop bar then you did not actually stop (even if you made a complete stop later).

    So many drivers drive right over that which is very dangerous as runner/kids/bicyclists/pedestrians can be crossing the crosswalk and you could hit them.

    Honestly im super happy to hear about DC police giving out tickets, they need to do more of this!

    • Exactly…I got a ticket for just that in Takoma Park D.C. The line (stop bar) is before you get to the Stop Sign …I rolled over the line but stopped short of the sign…guess what…it’s failure to stop. I learned my lesson and now make sure to stop behind the line…needless to say, I chuckle a bit when I see folks get pulled over because they all have the same confused look…which i’m sure I had as well.

      It was a costly mistake but one that I won’t make again.

      • This is true – but I have also read (I think on this site) of people stopping where they are supposed to (back behind the line), then inching up to where they can see if there is traffic coming, and THEN getting a ticket for failure to come to a full stop – stating that they stopped fully back where they were supposed to wasn’t enough to not get a ticket. So, two full stops required? Three if you inch up and still can’t see around obstacles and have to inch up some more before committing to a turn? Four?

  • Police officers don’t make stops in hopes of issuing tickets for failure to have car insurance. They have no quota or stats to pad, and really no interest in whether the city collects fines. Chief Lanier has been trying for years to get the law changed because it requires MPD to request proof of insurance whenever an officer makes a stop (which is fine) and to issue TWO tickets if the driver cannot furnish proof of insurance: One for failure to show proof ($30) and a second for failing to have insurance ($500). The second can be contested at DMV and waived if the driver can prove that they had insurance in effect at the time.

    Mayor Bowser included the Chief’s proposal in the crime legislation she proposed in September 2015; Councilmember McDuffie refused to include it in his crime legislation that was passed out of his committee and the Council.

  • Good luck.

  • The poster is a nut case. It’s almost impossible to get a ticket from an actual officer in this city. Just admit you broke the law. Second stop commuting through park view. My neighborhood is not a highway.The streets you are going down are local neighborhood streets, that unless you live in park view you shouldn’t be speeding through on your commute.

    • I was wondering about the OP’s choice of route — why would anyone choose a route full of stop signs? Seems like it would make more sense to use Irving Street.

  • If in fact you truly believe that the ticket you received was unwarranted or that you could have been issued a warning instead, throw everything you can at an appeal. There are officers in MPD who have reputations for writing tickets for any and everything. They have quotas to fill or boasts to make per month. If they know the location is ripe for pickings they will get you. Google the officer’s name and MPD and see if you can find anything about the officer’s reputation. I appealed a moving violation in DC that I thought was unwarranted. The officer was known for writing every single ticket he possibly could. I sent diagrams of the circumstance and detailed explanations of how the situation unfolded. I indicated that the officer had every opportunity to warn me ( e.g., teachable moment) rather than ticket me, but chose to ticket me. You have nothing to lose by filing an appeal. There are officers out there who sit back and wait for drivers to commit a ticketable offense, no matter how minor. And yes, I have been ticketed for failing to stop because “my tires never stopped rolling.” Once you know the locations of traps you need to be careful and come to a complete – tires not rolling – and dead stop. I prevailed in my last appeal.

    • I have lived in this city for 12 years and have never even seen an officer issuing a ticket; not once. Also, they have no quotas. Given that 1 in maybe 10 cars stops fully at a stop sign in my neighborhood (near U Street), I would actually appreciate some more officers “who sit back and wait for drivers to commit a ticketable offense.”

    • Also: “Once you know the locations of traps you need to be careful and come to a complete – tires not rolling – and dead stop.”
      .
      You should be coming to a complete stop at *all* locations, not just the ones you have learned are “traps.”

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