On Monday night, September 30, at 11:00 p.m., I was stopped by a Police Officer in Dickinson, North Dakota for failure to come to a complete stop at a stop sign. I had waited until late at night to drive to WalMart for groceries, because I didn’t want to go to the store when it was busy and crowded. I was not in a hurry at all, I was driving less than the speed limit, and the last thing I was expecting was to be stopped by the Police.
When the Police Officer asked me for my driver’s license, registration, and proof of insurance, I told the Police Officer that I would have to look on my phone for a copy of my proof of insurance. At the moment, I could not remember whether I had taken a photograph of the insurance card off of my computer screen, or if I had had this insurance card e-mailed to me.
I bought this vehicle that I was driving, six weeks ago. Initially, what I had placed in the glove box as proof of insurance, was the price quotation that State Farm Insurance had faxed to me, the form that I had to sign and fax back to State Farm Insurance, and I had a photo on my phone of the check payment written out to State Farm Insurance with the dollar amount matching the price quote for this vehicle, the date, and in the memo section the make, model, and year of this vehicle.
The Police Officer was not believing me that I had insurance on this vehicle, even after I showed him the paperwork that I had in the glove box, and the photo of the check payment for insurance on this vehicle. I had other proof of insurance cards on my phone for other vehicles of mine, but not this one. I tried to go to and log onto my e-mail, but I couldn’t get the log in page to come up on my phone like it does on my computer.
The Police Officer mentioned to me that failure to have insurance or proof of insurance was a $140 fine, which was not that big a deal to me. As he was writing my ticket, I was able to get to my e-mail on my phone, go back to August, and luckily I found the proof of insurance card for this vehicle. I handed my phone to the Police Officer, and he looked at my proof of insurance card for this vehicle.
The Police Officer gave me a ticket for failure to stop at a stop sign, which he explained was $40 and three points on my driver’s license. I explained to the Police Officer, that I know that the Police in Dickinson are trying to stop as many people as possible in order to try to discover drug crime, but for people like me who are not criminals, this is a problem because I have been stopped three time by Law Enforcement in the past sixty days.
When I got home and I began looking on the internet to try to see how many points would go on my Idaho driver’s license, when these points would appear on my driver’s license, what online driver course I could take to get these points removed, and when I would need to take this online driver course, I found out that I nearly got nine points on my driver’s license for this traffic stop, and that the next time that I got stopped within the next twelve months, my driver’s license would automatically be suspended.
What I did not know or understand at first, was that there is no ticket for failure to have proof of insurance, there is only a ticket for failure to have insurance. If I would have paid the $140 ticket for what I thought was failure to have proof of insurance, I would have actually been admitting to not having liability insurance, which in North Dakota on the first offense carries a penalty of six points on your driver’s license, and for the second offense twelve points on your driver’s license.
I had no idea that on the way home from WalMart at 11 p.m., not coming to a complete stop at a stop sign, would result in me losing my driver’s license. But it’s worse than that, I didn’t understand what was going on, I didn’t understand how important it was to show more proof of insurance than what I had with me at the time, I didn’t know that paying the ticket for $140 would have been automatically admitting that I didn’t have liability insurance, which I did have liability insurance, I didn’t know that I would have had nine points on my license immediately, I would not have known that the next time I got stopped within the next twelve months that my driver’s license would automatically be suspended, … and I would have been driving around with a suspended driver’s license and not had any idea.
On Tuesday, I called a couple of DMV and IDT offices in Idaho to try to get some answers on how to handle the traffic ticket that I got on Monday night, to ask if and when the points would go on my Idaho driver’s license, and when and how many times could I take the online driver safety course to get the points removed from my driver’s license.
On Tuesday I called a couple of DMV and NDOT offices in North Dakota to ask questions, though the people in Bismarck were nice, they didn’t have all the answers. I called the Dickinson Police Department to try to ask to speak to a Police Officer that I already knew like Shift Sergeant Moser, Officer Kinto, or Officer Bates, but was told no. It was suggested to me that I speak to either the Police Officer who gave me the ticket, or his Shift Sergeant Jason Wallace this evening.
To clarify for those people reading this blog post who don’t understand why this is such a big deal to me: My home is in Idaho 750 miles away, I am just here in Dickinson, North Dakota to work. My work location is more than sixty miles from Dickinson, out in the middle of nowhere. If I lose my driver’s license, I will lose my job. I have trucks, trailers, and equipment that I have brought to Dickinson to do self-employed work, but without a driver’s license, I couldn’t do my self-employed work either.
If I lose my driver’s license, then my job, I don’t have anyone here to help me. I don’t have any good friends here, any family members here, any church relationship here, any attorney or accountant business relationships here. Without a driver’s license, without a job, without any income, that is when I would probably want to hire an attorney to try to help me get something like a temporary restricted license to drive to work, but the attorney would want thousands of dollars, and the Dickinson Police would just cause me to lose my restricted license as soon as possible.
I would not have had any idea that I was getting a total of nine points on my driver’s license by paying the $40 ticket and the $140 ticket from this traffic stop. I would not have gotten any notification about the nine points on my driver’s license, because I have an Idaho driver’s license. Any mail from the state of Idaho would be sent to my home or my P.O. box in Idaho.
I have to keep my Idaho driver’s license and do other things like pay state income tax to Idaho, as well as North Dakota, to legally claim Idaho residency. My home in Idaho is protected from any kind of lawsuit judgement if it is my primary residence, my homestead, but not if it is classified as a second home or investment property.
Getting back to the point, I keep getting stopped so frequently by Law Enforcement in Dickinson, because they are trying to stop drug crime, that I am in danger of having my driver’s license suspended, being arrested for unwittingly driving on a suspended license, losing my job, having no way to earn a living, losing my apartment, and not even being able to drive my equipment and vehicles back to my home in Idaho.
I spent some time looking up on the internet the Police Officer who stopped me and gave me the ticket on Monday night. He graduated from Dickinson State University about one year ago, he became a Police Officer about six months ago, and he is about 25 years old.
I called the Dickinson Police Department late Tuesday night when this Police Officer was back on duty, and I said that I wanted to ask him some questions about the ticket he gave me, and that I would like to meet him somewhere if possible. The Dickinson Police Department got a hold of him, and he called me back.
I asked him if I had not found the State Farm Insurance card on my phone, would he have written me a ticket for failure to have liability insurance, he said yes. I asked him if he would have told me that this ticket for not having insurance carries a six point penalty on your driver’s license, he said yes. I explained to him, that I had no idea that paying the $140 ticket for failure to have liability insurance means that you agree that you have no liability insurance, I did have liability insurance.
I tried to explain to him again, better than I explained it to him on Monday night, that I understand that the Police are trying to detect crime, but the way that the Police are scrutinizing my driving, and the frequency at which the Police are stopping me, that I am going to lose my driver’s license. I don’t think that I can drive perfectly all the time. I am not a criminal, but the Police are turning me into a criminal, to where I am going to end up driving on a suspended license.
I briefly explained that the way that the Police are stopping me so often, that I am going to lose my driver’s license, then lose my job, then lose my home.
This Police Officer explained to me that he was just doing his job. That he has to enforce traffic laws for public safety, people can’t speed and run stop signs just because they want to. I explained to him that I don’t speed, that I drive slow, I am always being tailgated, and that I have to pull over to let people pass me all the time. I didn’t run the stop sign, I just didn’t come to a complete stop.
After I got off the phone with this Police Officer, I had the impression that he believed that he was just doing his job, though I don’t think that he understands the impact of what he is doing.
People are supposed to have the right to travel freely in the U.S. The whole point of the first communities in the U.S. creating government and Police Officers was to maintain peace and order, not for the Police to hide and sneak up on citizens to try to get them for something like the citizens are prey, enemies, or criminals.
If there is supposed to be a curfew at night in Dickinson, which I agree with, then this law should be voted on by citizens and then published as law. In effect, what the Police in Dickinson are doing, is they have created a curfew law all on their own. I see very few people driving at night in Dickinson, and I think that it is because they are scared of getting stopped by the Police and cited for something.
It has been pointed out to me by other people, which I realized was the truth, new, clean, expensive vehicles in Dickinson do not get stopped by the Police. I just about never have seen a new, clean, expensive vehicle stopped by the Police in Dickinson, its always older less expensive vehicles that get stopped by the Police.