While we’ve been whining and moaning about Texas officials preemptively arresting drunk drivers, Stranger provides an additional strange story from the Lone Star State. In addition to arresting people for drinking in bars, they are also pulling people over for driving on streets — those with out-of-state tags, at least.
This past Thursday I was running some errands in preparation for a weekend trip to San Marcos and Austin. As I was driving down a local road (at the speed limit, I might add), I watched in my rear-view mirror as a squad car flipped a U-turn a few blocks behind me and proceeded to speed up the road, weaving lanes, with his lights on. I moved to the right to get out of his way, but I knew he was coming for me. Sure enough… he was.
So I calmly give the guy my license and registration and wait for him to return and tell me what horrible crime I’ve committed. A few minutes later, he’s back at my window, with the explanation, “It was because I didn’t see any Texas tags on your car.” He went on to explain that he checked my registration, everything was fine, and then let me go on my merry way.
Excuse me? I got pulled over because I don’t have Texas license plates? Since when does that constitute just cause to stop someone on the road?
Don’t get me wrong, the officer was friendly and polite, and probably doing what he’s been told to do. But since when do out-of-state tags justify pulling someone over? Aren’t there laws about that? Oh yeah, wait, Texas is outside of the realm of “just cause” and other Constitutional protections!
I live in Alabama, the land of Roy “Ten Commandments” Moore, so I understand why we are the butt of many jokes about being a backwards state. We have dry counties, Democrats opposing gay rights, Republicans who try to raise taxes in the name of Jesus, and the distribution of sex toys is illegal here. I understand (have not confirmed) that the possession of more than six sex toys in Texas is considered intent to distribute, though. In Alabama, we don’t typically arrest people for being from out of state (except in certain counties — where the combination of being black and having out-of-state tags is probable cause for whatever Officer Billy Bob dreams up). Even in Alabama, the cops don’t bust people for drinking beer in a hotel bar in the counties where drinking is legal — and I’ve drank with cops in dry counties, too.
Next time you hear someone making fun of Alabama or Mississippi, you might wish to correct them and point their attention to that really big state a little bit to the west.