12/12/2012

Fast Car, Reckless Arrest

I remember my first high-status car.  I thought it would get me girls, but it didn’t.

What it did get me was arrested.  I received my first moving violation and trip to the L.A. County Jail driving that car at 105 miles per hour on Interstate 5 in California in a 70 mile per hour zone on the mountain pass known as the “Grapevine” that divides Bakersfield from the Greater Los Angeles area.

“Can they really arrest you for driving too fast!?”  I asked as the cop was slapping handcuffs on me.

It was circa 1979, and I owned a bitchin’ 1979 Chevrolet Camaro.  I was very proud indeed of that car and its power.  I dreamed that I would drive to the great nightclubs and discotheques in West Hollywood and meet a beautiful girl and find romance.  One evening, I was on my way to fun and adventure in tinseltown –  Hollywood.  I found the adventure and the cops found the fun.

I didn’t realize that the California Highway Patrol used aircraft to catch speeding motorists until I was unceremoniously arrested after being pulled over for reckless driving. I was taken to the Newhall office of the California Highway Patrol where I was cited and released and told to return a couple of weeks later.

I returned to court, and like an idiot, I represented myself, so I had a fool for a client.  My lawyer advised me to plead guilty to reckless driving on the first court date and was ordered to enjoy the luxury and the services of the LA County Jail for three days.

I returned to Newhall in 1979 and was put into a holding cell where I was transported on a huge black and white Jail Bus that I believe had “Los Angeles County Sheriff” painted on it.  It was an extradition bus, which is kind of like the Greyhound of County Jail transportation, and the stops are the holding cells of all the substation holding facilities of all the LA Police Department from the Grapevine through the valley to the Downtown LA County Jail. The bologna sandwiches were terrible but resembled something I had eaten before; they reminded me of the food in the Kern County Jail.

In the LA County Main Jail, I remembered that the jail cells were several tiers (jail floors are called tiers) tall.  The jail was so big they used an escalator to transfer us from our jail cells to the chow hall where we had five minutes to eat.  When you walked down the hall to chow, you were required to keep one hand in your pocket and the opposite shoulder on the wall as you traveled down the hall, or you would catch a beating.

The jail is so big it literally took three days to book me into the jail.  They take you into a room with glass walls where you were required to be frisked and strip-searched, and you were given a cursory medical exam that included a genital exam, an x ray, a blood test, and a spray down of bug spray for lice.  One guy shook his penis at the doctor who simply told the jailers “I don’t like this guy,” so they put him in the drag-queen tank in the jail. As soon as your batch left the tank, a crew of trustees would squeegee the glass with bleach and a new batch would come in.  The booking process was endless and lasted around the clock.  You were booked, photographed, and issued a mattress and LA County designer clothing to wear during your stay. At night you could hear screaming, moaning, pleading, and fighting.  How I left that jail with my virginity I will never know, but I did.

I don’t know about you, but since then, I always tried to keep it under 80 MPH in California after my visit to LA County Jail.

If your hot car has gotten you into jail, or you're in for something a lot more serious. don't do what I did and represent yourself!  Call me at 415 495-4800 and talk to a specialist in criminal defense, and check out more information on the San Francisco Criminal Defense web site.

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