Saturday, March 22, 2008

To Tow, or not to Tow... That is the Question...

Here's a hypothetical situation:

Cop stops a car with expired registration. Registration has been expired over two years. There is an expired temporary operating permit in the rear window of the vehicle, that has been expired for four months. Upon contacting the driver, you discover a suspended driver's license.

Now, there are several good reasons to tow this vehicle if you happen to be a peace officer in California. The registration is expired for more than six months, that's one towable offense. The driver is suspended, that's two. The vehicle is parked blocking a driveway, there's three.

Now, there are several children in the vehicle, all belonging to the driver. The driver has what appears to be several tons (okay, so maybe I exaggerate just a little) of clothing and other miscellaneous crap in the car.

Do you tow the car or not?

On one hand, if you tow the car, this person will be walking home with the kids and the bags o' stuff. You're taking away the method of transportation this person uses to get to work every day.

On the other hand, you don't tow the car and the unlicensed, uninsured, unregistered vehicle t-bones your wife and kids on the way home.

What would you do? After I get some responses to this one I'll tell you how I handle it...

11 comments:

Berserk said...

Suspended DL and a misuse? Unless its snowing, the kids are sick, or I'm hungry there's about a 98% chance I'm towing it.

I do hate doing inventories on cars with laundry in them, though. "All items of value removed by driver." :)

TheBronze said...

I'm going w/ Berserk on this. Unless there's a really compelling reason not to tow, it's going to car-jail.

I'm a sucker for a sob-story, but 9 out of 10 it's getting hooked.

Me said...

Someone gets called to come pick up the kids (I guarantee they can find someone to do that) and they can take as much stuff as they can get out of the car in a reasonable amount of time. Then the car gets hooked. No license, no insurance and no registration = public transportation tomorrow. Driving's a privilege, not a right.

kvegas911 said...

Call the tow-truck, and a cab or relative for the kids and people in it. I'm definitely agreeing with Berserk on "All items of value removed by driver". LOL.

Telebush said...

I would call a hook, then let them call a friend/family/cab, then start the arrest paperwork... it should all come together at the same time.

Mrs. "Smith" said...

TOW IT!!! The money for registration was probably spent on the latest hundred dollar a pair sneakers, baggy-ass pants, and hoodlum baseball caps. Or it was more important to take the kids to Discovery Kingdom if I know anything about the area we live near.
Forgive me Mom, I know you read this, but I am tired of that "I'm entitled" mentality those fuckers have. Driving is a PRIVILEGE, not a right. Pay up, bitch.
Ok, getting off my soapbox now... ;)

USAincognito said...

I would tow the vehicle and have the mother arrange for a ride so her and her children are not stuck having to walk (in the snow up here!!) home with everything. I would also wait with them until their ride arrived to ensure their safety. (heck, it is 30 degrees out and snowing with a windchill up here so no way would i leave them alone til their ride came)

Me said...

A few years back, I stopped a kid (18 or 19 years old) for driving without headlights at around 11PM. The headlights did not work--either of them--and he was driving with the 4-way flashers as his only lights. He begged and pleaded with me to just let him go, claiming that he had to drive without the lights in order to get his girlfriend home and he didn't have money to get the lights fixed because he didn't work and his parents were out of town and neither he nor his girlfriend had any money at all...blah, blah, blah...
Then he said too much. He told me that he couldn't afford another ticket as he'd just been cited by the neighboring jurisdiction the night before for the same offense and they'd made him tow the car to his house.

The car got towed and impounded this time (repair hold) at which point he began crying and screaming like a spoiled little girl. Resisting the urge to jail him just for annoying me (I mean for being disorderly) I dropped him and his girlfriend off at the nearby airport as it was the closest safe place open 24 hours. Apparently she had at least some money, because as I stood there talking to a friend at the airport PD, she went by--alone--in a cab, leaving him behind.
In response to a complaint from his parents a few days later, my Sgt. asked me later why I impounded it instead of just having it towed to his house and I told him that I was sure that if I just had it towed to his house, he'd be out driving it after dark again. Complaint dismissed.

Berserk said...

Seriously? Your sergeant would actually WANT you to tow it to his house? That's bizarre. We can call private tows for people as a courtesy (if their car is broken down or something), but if we're compelling the car to be towed then it ALWAYS goes to impound. Well, impound or an evidence bay.

Berserk said...

kvegas911: the other day, I did a tow sheet on a suspended dl/defective vehicle. The inventory narrative read "Inventory not completed due to bed bug infestation."

Kojak said...

Well, I know that doing the inventory is a pain in the rear with all that stuff. I say call a friend, TOW THAT PIECE OF JUNK, knock out some tickets and go home to Mrs. Smith, but that's just me.