I was at my girlfriend's house (although she herself wasn't at the house) in a town close toPortsmouth. I was supposed to meet her somewhere else later. A couple other girls were in the house, but they finally went out to their car. About a half hour later I left and found the girls still sitting outside. They said they needed their key. So I went back into the house to see if I could get a key for them.
I asked someone inside for the keys to the girls' car and he gave them to me. I also picked up another set of keys lying on a table which didn't belong to me and took them with me. At first I thought they were keys to my car, but when I got back outside, I realized they were part of the set to the girls' car. I thought I would also give them to the girls.
I walked out into a large parking lot which contained many other cars and boarded my 1984 Volkswagen Rabbit. I was supposed to meet my girlfriend at 1 p.m. I thought it was already 12:20 and that I would probably not make it on time. But when I got in my car I saw that it was only 11:20 and that I would probably be able to make it.
My girlfriend and I hadn't been getting along well lately and I thought our relationship was coming to an end. She had a sister and perhaps I would starting seeing her. But I was unsure.
I pulled up to a stop light on the street. Two fellows on a motorcycle pulled up near me. The one sitting on the back of the motorcycle was blowing a whistle. Another fellow standing in the street told the fellow blowing the whistle to stop blowing it. Both the fellow blowing the whistle and the man who had told him to stop looked about 30 years old and each had a long beard. The whistle-blower ignored the other fellow and continued blowing away. I thought there was going to be a fight; but finally the motorcycles pulled away.
I wanted to turn the car onto the main street. I wanted to turn left but thought I might ought to turn right, go down the street and turn around. Instead, I shot out into the street past another line of cars, but suddenly realized I had turned the wrong way on a one-way street. I immediately pulled into a driveway.
Suddenly I saw a policeman behind me and I stopped the car. I looked at the car which was rather messy inside. Some books were scattered about. One was about the cinema. I left it lying there thinking it might be a good book for the policeman to see. I threw some other things under the seat.
I wondered whether I should get out of the car or simply wait for the officer to come to me. Finally I stepped out of the car and walked back to where he was. The policeman, wearing a black police uniform, had gotten out of his car and was walking toward my car. But then he turned around, went back to his car and got in. He indicated he wanted me to also get into his car. The car had three doors on the side where I was and I asked him if he wanted me to get up front with him. He said, "Yea get up front."
One of the rear doors was open and I shut it. Then I got into the front seat. I said, "I think I know what it is that I did wrong. But I'm going to beg you not to give me a ticket."
He replied, "Well I'm probably going to give you a ticket anyway. But go ahead."
I began by telling him I was a lawyer. I said I didn't want to go to trial on this matter, but that I would if I had to. I went on to explain that when I had made the turn I didn't know I was turning onto a one-way street because I was unfamiliar with the area. But I had immediately pulled over when I had realized I was on a one-way street. I tried to emphasis that the offense hadn't been a serious one.
The policeman was probably 55-60 years old and wasn't in very good shape. He reminded me of Phil Fish (a character played by Abe Vigoda on the television series "Barney Miller"). But his face was stern.
He began driving around and we came to a traffic light. There were three lanes. The left lane was a left turn lane and the other two lanes went straight ahead. I said, "Now what would happen if a guy came up here and he was sitting in this middle lane which is not a turn lane and there was no traffic, not a car in sight, and he went ahead and turned left. Would you give him a ticket?"
He replied, "No, not necessarily."
The policeman continued driving down the street and suddenly made a U-turn right in the middle of the street. He seemed to be trying to show me that he was able to commit certain infractions of the law with impunity. Finally I said, "Yea if you give me a ticket I'll just have to take it to court and go to trial. I'll ask for a jury. If I can just convince one of them that I was in the right then I'll get off."
I figured my main reason for going to trial would be in hopes that the police officer wouldn't show up. But I figured he probably would since he seemed like the kind of cop who would go to court. But if he didn't show up in court I could get off.
I emphasized to him that I knew I had done something wrong. But I also tried to point out the slight nature of the infraction and that the cause had been my unfamiliarity with the area. Finally he agreed with me that the offense had been of slight significance even though he thought it was worse than what I suggested. He finally said, "Steve I think it was a more serious degree than that. I think you really regret it. And so I'm not going to give you a ticket."
I said, "Oh, thank you."
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