I was just involved in a fender bender appx. 2 hours ago.
When the police officer showed up he claimed he did not have to write a police report because "California is a no fault state" and because "the accident occured on private property" (a shopping mall parking lot). I insisted that we do things by the book and that he take an accident report. I just wanted to do things the right way. He didnt want to take the report.
Things went downhill from there. He became very agitated and upset stating it was not needed etc etc. On and on, insulting me, and talking down to me personally. The the focus of his conversation quickly switched away from the accident an onto my photo-reflector license plate cover.
"You have that on there because you are trying to evade our laws and deprive CA of revenue, in effect you are a stealing money from the state and are therefore a criminal and are subject to arrest, and I will take you to jail right now."
I told him I researched the DMV regulations BEFORE I purchased the cover and was unable to find any such claim. Photo cover is a fix-it-ticket and that is the extent of it.
This really made him agitated. He continued saying he was correct and could "show me the regulation", but if he had to - I was going to jail. I thought 1) Maybe they changed the law recently? or 2) It doesnt matter because he would take me to jail anyways because he can do whatever he wants.
At that point I remembered.. I saw on TV the obsene condition of the Los Angeles "jailhouse" and the booking situation and it was scary as _____ with tranvestites, crackheads, illegal immigrants, gang members etc. They just throw everyone together with no supervision. It looked like a 3rd world jail situation. Here I am in a nice shirt and tie, just off work.
I tried to change the subject back to the accident. But the focus continued away from the accident and and over to the Photo Reflector / plate cover. He would not stop talking about it. Then he calls up other police officers to tell them about it, and kept saying the word jail jail jail over and over again.
He tells me "take that off your car or I'm taking you to jail right now"
"Are you seroius?" I asked. "You cannot take me to jail because of that. I know the regulations".
"Take it off your car or you are going to jail now"
"I'm not taking it off"
"Take that off your car or you are going to jail now (in a last chance tone)"
"Ok, ok I'll take it off"
"When do you want me to take it off... right now?"
"Ok, ok" (I take off cover and put it in front seat).
"Give me that cover. It's illegal. I'm going to confinscate it and book it as evidence"
"You cannot confiscate that. It's my personal property"
"It's the property of the state. Get it out of the car and bring it over here"
"Sir what authority do you have to confiscate it?".
At this point two other officers showed up. They all start talking. Then the other officer lectured me about the cover.
The first officer is from the little beach town over where I am always hanging out all the time. He says:
"I know what you look like and I know your car. If I ever see you driving with that license plate cover on your care I WILL ARREST YOU AND TAKE YOU TO JAIL" and "YOU HAVE MY PROMISE I SWEAR TO YOU" "DO YOU UNDERSTAND?".
He said that twice.
Guys. This really scared me. I did extensive research on this cover before I purchased it and could find not ONE REGULATION ANYWHERE saying that it was an arrestible offense. Goodness sakes, even the laser jammers are a fix it ticket here in CA.
Have the codes changed? If not then I'm going to put that cover back on my car asap. I'll just keep paying the $30 tickets. Not worth it to get an unfair $500 fine. They just want your money.
Does anyone know of any new developments on the Photo-Reflector? Can this police officer take me to jail when he sees it on there next time? It's a small town. I'm going to see him again.