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Old 13 March 2009, 12:16 AM
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Hello Kitty Pulled over for *not* weaving

This is a FOAF tale that I heard as a teen/young adult, at least 20 years ago, that came to mind recently as I dodged potholes on the way to pick up the Kitten at school.
A guy appears in court on a DUI charge, and his attorney is questioning the officer who pulled him over.

"Did my client run any red lights or stop signs?"
"No."
"Was my client speeding?"
"No."
"Was my client weaving?"
"No."
"Then why did you pull him over?"
"Because he wasn't weaving."
"Since when is that probable cause to pull someone over?"
"Since he was driving down (insert name of street notorious for potholes here). He hit every single hole on the street and never slowed down."

And of course once he was pulled over he was obviously impaired, failed the sobriety tests, etc. And the guy was convicted.
So, snopesters, is it plausible that someone could be pulled over for not attempting to avoid a road hazard? And has anyone else ever heard this one?

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  #2  
Old 13 March 2009, 12:21 AM
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A Turtle Named Mack A Turtle Named Mack is offline
 
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Plausible, yeah? If there are road hazards, a competent driver avoids them, whether they are potholes or people.

I never heard that one before, but I could well picture something along those lines happening.
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Old 13 March 2009, 12:55 AM
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I doubt it. I suspect the majority of cars going down a street laden with potholes wouldn't be weaving. How would they know to?

There are very specific acts that constitute probable cause. They're enumerated in case law, and don't change depending on what street a cop happens to be patrolling that day.

It certainly wouldn't happen as you've written it; not with an attorney who's marginally competent, anyway. You refer to the defendant by his name, to humanize him. You don't ever ask a question on cross that begins "Why..." And "Since when is that probable cause?" is an argumentative question that deserves an objection. Besides, by trial there would be no probable cause issue because you already raised it in a pretrial hearing and lost.

It seems much more likely that a person would use "I was dodging potholes" as a lame excuse to get out deeper inquiry after being pulled over for weaving.

[
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  #4  
Old 13 March 2009, 01:03 AM
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Hello Kitty

Quote:
Originally Posted by Amigone201 View Post
I doubt it. I suspect the majority of cars going down a street laden with potholes wouldn't be weaving. How would they know to?
Because you can see them, so you drive around them.
Quote:
It certainly wouldn't happen as you've written it; not with an attorney who's marginally competent, anyway. You refer to the defendant by his name, to humanize him. You don't ever ask a question on cross that begins "Why..." And "Since when is that probable cause?" is an argumentative question that deserves an objection. Besides, by trial there would be no probable cause issue because you already raised it in a pretrial hearing and lost.
I'm recreating a legend from a twenty year old memory. Don't go by my wording.

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Old 13 March 2009, 01:10 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Four Kitties View Post
Because you can see them, so you drive around them.
I still don't see it; drunk drivers weave because they can't drive in a straight line. I can't imagine how they'd suddenly be able to by being drunk, just because a sober driver probably wouldn't under the circumstances. I suspect a drunk driver on a pothole-laden street would either try to drive straight and weave a little or try to avoid the potholes and weave like crazy. It would be a statistical miracle if a drunk driver were attempting to avoid potholes, yet every drunken turn of the wheel somehow maneuvered the car into the exact position he needed it to in order to drive straight.

Quote:
I'm recreating a legend from a twenty year old memory. Don't go by my wording.
All right.
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  #6  
Old 13 March 2009, 01:58 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Amigone201 View Post
I still don't see it; drunk drivers weave because they can't drive in a straight line. I can't imagine how they'd suddenly be able to by being drunk, just because a sober driver probably wouldn't under the circumstances. I suspect a drunk driver on a pothole-laden street would either try to drive straight and weave a little or try to avoid the potholes and weave like crazy. It would be a statistical miracle if a drunk driver were attempting to avoid potholes, yet every drunken turn of the wheel somehow maneuvered the car into the exact position he needed it to in order to drive straight.


All right.
Amigone,
A habitual drunk can drive a known road just as well drunk as sober. A very well trained driver can also drive just as well drunk as sober. What you can't do drunk is to react to the unexpected. Case in point, Bob Bondurant several years ago - he is a very, very good driver having won Le Mans. As a test for Road and Driver or Car & Track (a deliberate mixup of 2 popular US car magazines) ran a test at a race track. Several drivers of various skills drove the course as they got more drunk. The finish line was 3 gates of which at least 2 and maybe all 3 wuld turn red as you came up to them. The object was to see how alcohol affected your time on the race course. Bondurant actually got faster as he was drinking. Of course, he was learning the course each lap also. The difference was that he could not react to the artificial gate at the finish line.
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Old 13 March 2009, 03:10 PM
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Although this instance seems to be more of a comedy sketch than a courtroom account, there have been cases of drunken drivers being stopped for driving too cautiously, in circumstances when they know the police are there and are trying to avoid committing a traffic offence which would cause them to be stopped and their intoxication discovered. Under UK law it used to be the case that you could only be stopped and breathalysed if you had committed a traffic offence, but I believe that now no reason is needed other than suspicion of DUI.
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  #8  
Old 13 March 2009, 03:30 PM
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Hello Kitty

Yes, I think the story is a combination of this
Quote:
Originally Posted by RichardM View Post
A habitual drunk can drive a known road just as well drunk as sober. A very well trained driver can also drive just as well drunk as sober. What you can't do drunk is to react to the unexpected.
and this
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mycroft View Post
there have been cases of drunken drivers being stopped for driving too cautiously, in circumstances when they know the police are there and are trying to avoid committing a traffic offence which would cause them to be stopped and their intoxication discovered.
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Old 13 March 2009, 08:35 PM
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If I saw someone who hit obvious potholes, I wouldn't pull them over for that, but it would sure make me suspicious that they might be impaired and thus cause me to focus a lot more attention on their driving. I would wait until they had done something that violated a traffic law before actually pulling them over.
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Old 13 March 2009, 08:45 PM
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This is a college town, so we get people driving impaired pretty often. Police are known to pull over people driving significantly under the speed limit late at night, presumedly just because too-slow driving can be a hazard to other cars, and it's possible something is wrong, like you're a small woman who doesn't want to change a low tire late at night, and are drivin slow until you can air it up. But really, they're suspicious that too-slow drivers are impaired and trying not to run lights or miss hazards.

It still could be a UL, but an acquaintance who is a cop told me that drunks are the people driving slow without blinkers on. If there's some other reason for driving slow, like car trouble, people put the blinkers on.
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Old 13 March 2009, 09:35 PM
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FWIW, I too have heard this story before, although I seem to recall it being presented as a joke...in Reader's Digest, maybe? (My family has subscribed to it since its inception, and I began reading the comedy bits when I was quite young.)
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  #12  
Old 13 March 2009, 09:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dark Blue View Post
If I saw someone who hit obvious potholes, I wouldn't pull them over for that, but it would sure make me suspicious that they might be impaired and thus cause me to focus a lot more attention on their driving. I would wait until they had done something that violated a traffic law before actually pulling them over.
Given the size of some of the potholes around the Dallas area, you could pull them over shortly for having a flat tire.
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  #13  
Old 13 March 2009, 10:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mycroft View Post
Although this instance seems to be more of a comedy sketch than a courtroom account, there have been cases of drunken drivers being stopped for driving too cautiously, in circumstances when they know the police are there and are trying to avoid committing a traffic offence which would cause them to be stopped and their intoxication discovered. Under UK law it used to be the case that you could only be stopped and breathalysed if you had committed a traffic offence, but I believe that now no reason is needed other than suspicion of DUI.
There's also this legend about dopers pulled over for driving too slowly.
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  #14  
Old 13 March 2009, 11:31 PM
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Hello Kitty

I forgot to mention one other hallmark of the UL: the reason I wrote (insert name of street notorious for potholes here) instead of the street name is because I heard it told about different streets in different cities.

On the Noth Shoh heah, there's a hierarchy of cities and towns: the further north you are (away from Boston), the higher the real estate prices, the better the schools, the better the class of people, etc. The next town south is always populated by poorer and stupider people, and their infrastructure is so much worse than ours! And of course, wretches that they are, they always drive drunk there. So someone from Andover would tell this as occurring in Reading, for instance; or someone from Gloucester would tell it as happening in Lynn. Or, as I heard it, someone from my hometown told it as happening in the town where I live now.

Either than or it happened in Boston. Teh Big Bad City, so anything can happen there, right?

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Old 14 March 2009, 01:49 AM
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Quote:
Police are known to pull over people driving significantly under the speed limit late at night, presumedly just because too-slow driving can be a hazard to other cars, and it's possible something is wrong, like you're a small woman who doesn't want to change a low tire late at night, and are drivin slow until you can air it up. But really, they're suspicious that too-slow drivers are impaired and trying not to run lights or miss hazards.
Driving too slow is a typically a valid traffic violation, whereas I can't think of how not avoiding potholes is. Now when I pull over someone for driving too slow it is usually with a high suspicion that they are impaired.
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  #16  
Old 15 March 2009, 06:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Barbara View Post
There's also this legend about dopers pulled over for driving too slowly.
I thought Super Troopers did a funny spoof of that one.

video link: http://www.truveo.com/Beyond-Hammere.../id/3189019398 (NFBSK language)
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