Thinking back on it, I pit that cop.

Several years ago on Christmas Eve the family was gathered at my aunt’s house for our usual dinner and opening-of-presents in central Indiana. At that time, my cousin lived in Indianapolis. She was a single mom caring for a toddler and an infant. She drove a rusty, twenty-year-old K-car. It was snowing pretty hard, and she was driving her infant and her toddler to the Christmas Eve celebrations in the snow, in her rusty K-car.

And a cop stopped her in Anderson and ticketed her for having a tail light out.

On Christmas Eve.

In the snow.

In a crummy K-car.

With an infant and a toddler in the back.

Somehow, I never processed just how crummy that was until today.

But, dang, somewhere in Anderson, there’s a psychopathic cop. I’m sure he’s going to hell.

With an infant and a toddler in the back, one might say she should have checked her car was legitimately roadworthy before she set off, but the cop was still an arsehole for ticketing her and not just giving her a ticking off, considering the date and the circumstances.

For things such as lights being out I’ve only ever gotten a fix it ticket. Fix the light then go show the cops it’s fixed and pay a $10 fine.

That’s a bit of a jump from a tail light ticket. For the definition of “a bit of a jump” please see entry for Evel Kneivel: Snake River Canyon.

That bastard! I can’t believe he is out doing his job on Christmas Eve! :rolleyes:

What about pitting a parent driving in the snow in a rusty vehicle with a tail light out which obviously causes a visibility issue? ETA: visibility so she doesn’t get rammed by some jackass who maybe can’t see so well because of the snow.

Was the tail light actually out?
If not, then yeah, the cop was an asshole.

Let me get this straight:

So it’s snow storming pretty hard, she’s driving around in it with defective lights, endangering herself, her kids, and possibly anyone who comes up behind her, and it’s the police officer who’s the dick?:rolleyes:

And why does the day of the year matter?:dubious::confused:

Whenever I hear a story like this, I try and employ the “Maybe his boss was an asshole” defense. As in, maybe his asshole boss enforced a strict “no warnings” policy, and he’d have to answer for it.

Works great when I get annoyed at upselling.

And there’s a good chance he was out looking for drunk drivers, and used the tail light as an excuse to stop her. I can’t decide whether that makes it better or worse.

What’s a K-car?

One of Chrysler’s shittiest line of cars ever.

He probably has just found an abandoned cat frozen solid in a snow drift and it put him a righteous bad mood…

Got it, thanks. I figured it was slang and not the actual name of a car. Looks like something my parents might have been driving in the 80s.

A nice Reliant automobile.

Patrolling in the snow on Christmas eve probably didn’t help his mood much either. I’m sure he’d rather be on his way to a party instead of working.

Not an excuse. Probable cause sufficient to justify a traffic stop. The cop was doing his job. The OP’s cousin deserved the ticket she got.

Because it was nearly Xmas, you fucking misery guts! I’m sure she needed the money more than the police traffic dept did.

Frankly, respect for the law is heavily contingent on its enforcers not acting like jerks and knowing their place.

Look, Dopers, a taillout out is not a big deal. It happens. On any normal day, any normal cop will simply notify you and maybe give you a fixit ticket. And judges will do the same. This is because while they know it’s a technically a civil crime, it’s also uncontrollable, hard to notice, and easy to deal with. Heck, I thanked the cop who told me about my headlight that was out, because I couldn’t tell. And he felt no great impulse to punish me financially for it.

The law is a blunt instrument, and in the absense of properly-written laws, we need good judgement on the part of its enforcers. And that judgement usually takes the form of not bothering with trivial things form people who neither mean nor cause any harm.

Amen. Without a fancy new car that flashes dashboard lights when a bulb is out (in which case you still have to figure out which one is out, which is a two-person job), the only way to find out one’s out is… to have someone else tell you.

Neither is a fucking ticket. Look, bandit, she didn’t get arrested and shipped off to Guantanamo. She got a fucking ticket. That’s all. A cop is not a “psychopath” for writing a ticket for driving a malfunctioning vehicle in inclement weather.