Sometimes the universe just wants to make sure you really get the chance to learn a particular lesson. So it was for me yesterday. I learned that no matter how unlikely it is that you will be pulled over twice in the same day after having not been pulled over for years prior, it can happen. And did happen.
Last night, my wife and I were driving home from a friend’s house. Obviously, my wife knew about my experience earlier in the day, and we were planning to get both cars in to have emissions checked and to go to the DMV to renew registrations today. I printed out our proof of insurance forms as soon as I got to work and put mine in my car as soon as I got in to go home. No incidents in my car on the way home, thankfully. Then we got to work on making dinner and managing our tiny puppy and I completely forgot to put the proof of insurance into my wife’s car. A bit later, we drove to our friends’ house, still kicking ourselves for forgetting to get the registrations updated. We had a good time talking and playing board games, and left at about 11PM. On the way home, I saw a police officer pull a u-turn and come up behind us. I just couldn’t believe that he would actually pull us over, though. That’s ridiculous. Getting pulled over twice in the same day for the same infraction in two cars?
But yes. Clearly, I hadn’t learned my lesson well enough yet. So the cops flips on the lights, we pull over, and go through the process again. Same as before (Car off, window down, keys on the dash, ID and CCW in hand, hands on the wheel) this time with the addition of turning on the dome light, since it was dark out. The officer walks up to the window, and informs me that I have a brake light out. That was news. He asks for my license and I give him the license and the CCW, and tell him “I am a concealed carry permit hold and I am currently carrying,” just like last time. He asks where, I tell him, and then he asks for the registration and proof of insurance. Jenna’s paperwork is in even more shambles than mine was, unfortunately. She had gotten a speeding ticket a few months back and had put her registration and proof of insurance somewhere other than the little folder, so the best she had was stuff from 2008. Seriously. So, we sheepishly handed that to the officer, told him that I’d also been pulled over for the same thing, and that we were taking both cars to the DMV in the morning, and that we totally did have insurance, we just forgot to put the new printout in the folder. He was cool about it, and went back to his car to run our info.
When he came back, he decided to give us just a warning, which was awesome of him. He gave us his card, and then ticked off all the things we needed to get fixed on his fingers. Brake light, registration, proof of insurance. He told us, very nicely, that he could have had our car towed with all of that, but was going to just let us go home. We thanked him profusely, and wished him a good evening. We headed home, and even though it was after 11, I changed the brake light right away, and put the proof of insurance in the car. I learned that lesson, at least.
So this morning, my wife, who is a total sweetheart and very recently a stay-at-home soon-to-be-mom, is running her car through emissions and the DMV, then coming to my office, swapping cars with me, and doing the same for mine. We learned that lesson, too.
And as painful as the whole thing was, we got off really light. I accrued a total of $90 in fines and no points, as compared to the over $1000 and 10+ points I could have gotten from all the various infractions. Both officers were incredibly nice and professional, and I think that being courteous, friendly, and informing them about my permit up front really contributed to everything going as smoothly as it did. I’m now convinced that I did the right thing in informing them of my permit, even though I’m not legally obligated to do so in CO. It worked well for me twice already, so I’m not going to abandon it now.
Thanks to everyone for reading, and also thanks to all my friends on Facebook who chimed in and gave me more info on the laws involved, as well as the officer’s perspective. You guys are great!