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July 15, 2004, 06:23 AM

Guns Worn In Open Legal, But Alarm Va.
'Exercising Right' Called 'Unreasonable' by Some

By Tom Jackman
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, July 15, 2004; Page A01

On July 2, Fairfax County police received a 911 call from a Champps restaurant in Reston. Six men are seated at a table, the caller said. They're all armed.
Dispatchers quickly sent four officers to the scene. The officers were "extremely polite" and were hoping that some of the men were in law enforcement, said Sgt. Richard Perez, a spokesman for the police department. None was.
The men told the officers "they were just exercising their rights as citizens of the commonwealth," Perez said.
Turns out, packing a pistol in public is perfectly legal in Virginia. And three times in the last month, including at Champps on Sunset Hills Road, residents have been spotted out and about in the county, with guns strapped to their hips, exercising that right.
In the first episode, at a Starbucks, Fairfax police wrongly confiscated weapons from two college students and charged them with a misdemeanor. Police realized their mistake, returned the guns and tore up the charges the next day. Police commanders have since issued a reminder to officers that "open carry" is the law of the land in the Old Dominion.
Philip Van Cleave, president of the Virginia Citizens Defense League, an organization of thousands of Virginia gun owners, said members were involved in all three police encounters. But he said there was no coordinated campaign to start packing heat publicly.
"It was probably more of a coincidence, but not completely," Van Cleave said, noting that word of the improper confiscation spread quickly among members through e-mail. "This is a good opportunity to educate people. We have this inherent right, and not many people exercised it."
In Virginia, as in many states, carrying a concealed weapon requires a permit, issued by a local court. But no permit is required to simply wield a gun in the open, a right reinforced by a state law that took effect July 1. Not so in the District and Maryland, unless you're a police or federal officer.
Fairfax police are baffled by the sudden display of weaponry but assume it was done to make some sort of statement.
"Crime is at 20-year lows in the county," Lt. Col. Charles K. Peters pointed out, even though the population is soaring. The county's homicide rate was the lowest in the nation last year among the 30 largest jurisdictions. "Hopefully no one feels the need to carry a gun, lawfully or unlawfully," Peters said. "But there's no question it is lawful to carry a gun on the street. So we've had to ensure that all of our officers are updated on the nuances of Virginia law that allow citizens to carry firearms in public places."
Although legal, it is disconcerting to some people.
"This just shows you the extreme nature of what they're trying to do," said Bob Ricker, head of Virginians for Public Safety. "You don't want to go to Starbucks or Reston Town Center and see somebody with a firearm strapped on," he added, referring to two locations where armed patrons were found. "It's just something that I think is completely unreasonable. We all understand the concept of self-defense. . . . But when you're talking about Fairfax County, you have to look at what is reasonable."
The first incident, at a Starbucks on Leesburg Pike near Tysons Corner, might have inspired other gun owners to carry openly. It began shortly before 10 p.m. June 14, Perez said, with a complaint from a citizen. Police arrived to find a 19-year-old man carrying a .22-caliber pistol and a 21-year-old man with a 9mm pistol.
Perez said an officer spoke with the men, then took their guns and charged them with possession of a firearm in a public place. Virginia law 18.2-287.4 expressly prohibits "carrying loaded firearms in public areas."
But the second paragraph of the law defines firearms only as any semiautomatic weapon that holds more than 20 rounds or a shotgun that holds more than seven rounds -- assault rifles, mostly, Van Cleave said. Regular six-shooters or pistols with nine- or 10-shot magazines are not "firearms" under this Virginia law.
The day after the arrest, the officer consulted with a county prosecutor and determined that "he had erred," Perez said. He summoned the two men to the McLean District station, returned their weapons and dropped the charges.
Van Cleave said word of the incident, along with news of a similar incident in Richmond, spread through the defense league's e-mail alert system. "I think people were saying, 'I think I do want to open carry,' " Van Cleave said, though he added the league neither encourages nor discourages the practice.
Carrying weapons openly was not unprecedented locally, Van Cleave said. He said that the defense league has a monthly meeting in Northern Virginia with 25 to 30 members and that most go out to dinner afterward with their sidearms openly visible. "We've had 40 people open carry, in a restaurant, with no problem," he said.
Three days after the incident at Champps, a married couple were walking their dogs down Market Street, the busy thoroughfare in the heart of Reston Town Center, about 3 p.m. In addition to pistols on their hips, Perez said, both the man and woman were carrying an extra magazine of ammunition. An officer spoke with them and was informed that they were members of the defense league and were aware of the Starbucks incident. Perez said the officer took no further action, although Van Cleave said a lieutenant arrived and urged Town Center security to eject them.
Managers at the Starbucks, Champps and Town Center all declined to comment.
Van Cleave said the gun owners might have been out celebrating a law that took effect July 1. Virginia statute 15.2-915 now completely prohibits any locality from enacting any regulations on gun ownership, carrying, storage or purchase, except for rules related to the workforce. Alexandria, for example, had an ordinance prohibiting openly carrying guns. It is now invalid, Van Cleave said.
"It's like the Fourth of July," Van Cleave said. "A whole new set of freedoms came in. . . . All local gun control is completely and totally gone."
Legislators said they passed the bill to eliminate duplicative regulations, particularly in counties such as Fairfax, which imposed its own gun permit process in addition to the federally mandated background check.
Openly carrying weapons is "not a good idea," said Kristen Rand of the Violence Policy Center in Washington. "This is the gun lobby's vision of how America should be. Everybody's packing heat and ready to engage in a shootout at the slightest provocation."
Ricker said the gun owners "are probably doing their cause more harm than good by raising this issue. It raises an awareness and gives people who are more rational thinkers the opportunity to go to their legislators and make their views known."
Van Cleave said most gun owners, particularly defense league members or concealed weapon permit owners, are law-abiding. Anti-gun forces "have come to think guns themselves are evil. You've got to worry about the person, not the gun."


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July 15, 2004, 07:25 AM

Also looking forward to the new "national concealed carry" law for LE thats sitting on Bush's desk to be signed into law.....and add that the stupid assault rifle ban is about to end...its a good year for the NRA


"Remeber your rights are like muscles....they atrophy unless you use them"


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July 15, 2004, 09:03 AM

This is asinine. I don't care how pro gun people are, this isn't the old west. I think people should keep their shit well locked up at home unless they're transporting too/from the range. That's all I need, to be shot by some fucking whacko Dirty Harry wannabe who thinks he's stopping the crime of the century, and misses the dude with the super soaker. If you're not a cop, and have not gone through the intense training needed to make use-of-force rules and firearm aim/control second nature, then you have no reason/right to carry on the street. As if the lack of training provided to people issued concealed carry permits isn't scary enough, now people require no training/certification to carry a gun into your neighborhood legally.
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July 15, 2004, 12:44 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cripes
This is asinine. I don't care how pro gun people are, this isn't the old west. I think people should keep their sh*t well locked up at home unless they're transporting too/from the range. That's all I need, to be shot by some ------- whacko Dirty Harry wannabe who thinks he's stopping the crime of the century, and misses the dude with the super soaker. If you're not a cop, and have not gone through the intense training needed to make use-of-force rules and firearm aim/control second nature, then you have no reason/right to carry on the street. As if the lack of training provided to people issued concealed carry permits isn't scary enough, now people require no training/certification to carry a gun into your neighborhood legally.
What does the Second Amendment mean?

The language and intent of the framers of the Second Amendment were perfectly clear two centuries ago. Based on English Common Law, the Second Amendment guaranteed against federal interference with the citizen`s right to keep and bear arms for personal defense. Also, the revolutionary experience caused the Founding Fathers to address a second concern-the need for the people to maintain a citizen-militia for national and state defense without adopting a large standing army, which was viewed as the bane of liberty.

Like other amendments in the Bill of Rights, the Second Amendment recognizes a preexisting right and protects it from being infringed. As the U.S. Supreme Court said in Cruikshank v. U.S. (1876), the right to arms "is not a right granted by the Constitution. Neither is it in any manner dependent upon that instrument for its existence. The second amendment declares that it shall not be infringed." Similarly, in U.S. v. Verdugo-Urquidez (1990), the court observed, "The Second Amendment protects `the right of the people to keep and bear Arms.`"

While lower federal courts have been divided on the meaning of the Second Amendment, in each of the few Second Amendment-related cases in which it has ruled, the U.S. Supreme Court has recognized that the right to arms is an individual right.

As an examination of law review articles makes clear, most constitutional scholars agree that the Second Amendment protects an individual right. University of Tennessee law professor Glenn Harlan Reynolds notes, the "`Standard Model` in Second Amendment theory" is that "the Second Amendment protects the same sort of individual right that other parts of the Bill of Rights provide."

It is a 100% proven fact that when citizens carry firearms...crime rate drops. Not to mention the above article it is a an individual right that shall not be infringed. Countless examples of how firearms carried by citizens have saved lives....far exceeds any accidents by "whacko Dirty Harry wannabe who thinks he's stopping the crime of the century".

In counties and states where carrying handguns are illegal...crime rates are at all time highs....Why?? because criminals do not care about the law....law abiding citizens do care about the law and follow it...which leaves criminals with firearms that are used against unarmed citizens.


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July 15, 2004, 01:16 PM



GO TATER...IT'S YOUR BIRTHDAY.

Excellently put. The one thing that you have to understand is that two centuries ago we didn't have "Bleeding Heart Liberals" that spoke without getting all of the facts or cared about the truth or government interference. Under their plan ONLY CRIMINALS WOULD HAVE GUNS!!!!.......oh yeah, and the police. With that said let me say one other thing:

The reason I posted this thread is because I thought that it was too predictable that it was Fairfax County Police that had a problem understanding the law. I moved out of Fairfax County in November because I thought that they were getting out of control. Proof positive was last Christmas when they drug people out of bars and arrested them for drunk in public, and when the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors tried to intervene they were told that it would continue as long as it is legal. I wish I could talk to my boss that way. My next door neighbor used to play his stereo too loud and we had a neighbor that liked to complain and they would send out 3 cars to respond....3. Great use of tax payer money.

So though I don't necessarily think people should walk around the streets like the wild west, it's their right.

Yes, this coming from one of those "ill trained concealed handgun permit holders" who is not in law enforcement. I guess the fact that I was a rifle & pistol expert as well as an assistant weapons instructor in the Marine Corps doesn't qualify me enough under earlier stated perameters.

So again I state "Annie get your gun"!!!!! It's legal now

Craig Out.


FOREVER #47 "Walking In The Echo...."
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July 15, 2004, 04:24 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by GUZZLER


GO TATER...IT'S YOUR BIRTHDAY.

Excellently put. The one thing that you have to understand is that two centuries ago we didn't have "Bleeding Heart Liberals" that spoke without getting all of the facts or cared about the truth or government interference. Under their plan ONLY CRIMINALS WOULD HAVE GUNS!!!!.......oh yeah, and the police. With that said let me say one other thing:

The reason I posted this thread is because I thought that it was too predictable that it was Fairfax County Police that had a problem understanding the law. I moved out of Fairfax County in November because I thought that they were getting out of control. Proof positive was last Christmas when they drug people out of bars and arrested them for drunk in public, and when the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors tried to intervene they were told that it would continue as long as it is legal. I wish I could talk to my boss that way. My next door neighbor used to play his stereo too loud and we had a neighbor that liked to complain and they would send out 3 cars to respond....3. Great use of tax payer money.

So though I don't necessarily think people should walk around the streets like the wild west, it's their right.

Yes, this coming from one of those "ill trained concealed handgun permit holders" who is not in law enforcement. I guess the fact that I was a rifle & pistol expert as well as an assistant weapons instructor in the Marine Corps doesn't qualify me enough under earlier stated perameters.

So again I state "Annie get your gun"!!!!! It's legal now

Craig Out.
lifetime member of the NRA, can you tell? lol

dude, not even the cops understood that "bar raid" thing that happend in herndon....the thing is and maybe this will help understand "Fairfax" alittle more

Fairfax is attempting to become VERY proactive in law enforcement...as opposed to "recieving a call, getting there, and the crime has been comitted" which does squat for preventing crime....they are tring their best to prevent deter and make Fairfax as crime free as possible...sometimes this means someone has a "brainchild" and does one of these ill-thought plans such as the herndon bar thing. Community policing and crime prevention is a somewhat new concept in pratice and it will take a while to get it down so peoples rights arent violated or help them not feel so violated....its a work in process, and being that they are human, they will err time to time...but Fairfax does enjoy having one of the lowest crime rates in the area...so ENJOY it that is if you can afford 700,000 for a new house


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July 16, 2004, 10:16 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by GUZZLER
Proof positive was last Christmas when they drug people out of bars and arrested them for drunk in public, and when the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors tried to intervene they were told that it would continue as long as it is legal
Heh, I was with my roommate (ironically enough, at Champps in Reston) when they stormed the bar, Gestapo-style at 1:30AM... He was one of the people arrested for drunk in public. Think he ended up with no charge and some community service which he didn't do...


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July 16, 2004, 11:33 AM

dude ffx is out of control. Now the cop is basically judge and jury. If you get a ticket you are automatically guilty. I was in court on Wednesday and was witness to this. Somehow not a single person got off of any ticket the entire time. So you mean to tell me out of probably a hundred tickets not a single one was innocent or worth letting off due to it just being and accident. FFX court is out of control. It does not matter what you say when you get up to that podium. Oh and for those of you that said if you get charged with driving with out a license and you get it taken care of they will let you off. Not anymore. Nobody got off. I was charged with driving with out a license. My license was suspended because I payed a ticket late. Was never notified that it was suspended. The day after my ticket all I had to do was pay a reinstatement fee and got it back. The judge didn't even care to look at my license or proof of receipts. He asked the cop a few questions and then said I am going to give you driving without a valid license. It is a lesser charge. Uh no it isn't. IT IS STILL 3 FUCKING POINTS ON MY LICENSE. So thanks but no thanks for the favor ASSHOLE. So that is why I am now moving out of this county. Just so you all know all court costs were raised July 1st. Now court costs are like $47 just for a traffic ticket. Virginia also become the strictest state on traffic enforcement as of July 1st. So time to leave VA. Sorry for the rant I am just a little pissed about many events lately.


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July 16, 2004, 01:17 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by JUSTGO
dude ffx is out of control. Now the cop is basically judge and jury. If you get a ticket you are automatically guilty. I was in court on Wednesday and was witness to this. Somehow not a single person got off of any ticket the entire time. So you mean to tell me out of probably a hundred tickets not a single one was innocent or worth letting off due to it just being and accident. FFX court is out of control. It does not matter what you say when you get up to that podium. Oh and for those of you that said if you get charged with driving with out a license and you get it taken care of they will let you off. Not anymore. Nobody got off. I was charged with driving with out a license. My license was suspended because I payed a ticket late. Was never notified that it was suspended. The day after my ticket all I had to do was pay a reinstatement fee and got it back. The judge didn't even care to look at my license or proof of receipts. He asked the cop a few questions and then said I am going to give you driving without a valid license. It is a lesser charge. Uh no it isn't. IT IS STILL 3 FUCKING POINTS ON MY LICENSE. So thanks but no thanks for the favor ASSHOLE. So that is why I am now moving out of this county. Just so you all know all court costs were raised July 1st. Now court costs are like $47 just for a traffic ticket. Virginia also become the strictest state on traffic enforcement as of July 1st. So time to leave VA. Sorry for the rant I am just a little pissed about many events lately.
So in otherwords your saying that if someone breaks a "law" when they go to court and the facts show that the person is guilty, than the judge should let people "off"? Thats total BS. As I have said before in the past...if you do not wish to share in the fun of going to court..dont break the law....if you do, and you are caught speeding, or any type of infraction...you know if you were speeding, you know your driving with a dead inspection...so if you get poped for it...take it like a man and dont do it again...simple. Fairfax has more training, more funds, and are more safety oreinted than most agnecys in the area..even the "feds". Is this worse? Is this better? You could argue that its unfair, or unrealistic to enforce many laws, well you could say just about anything....However whats fact is, if your caught speeding, driving wrecklessly, or any of the other many traffic laws. Fairfax Takes it seriously....If they didnt, people would not "fear" the wrath of getting the ticket, going to court, paying the fine and so on. Thus keeping the streets safer for the community. Ive seen many court cases, and traffic cases...many people DO "get off" easy or with nothing..however the Judges are tired of seeing the same faces time and time again so therefore come down harder on first time offenders..which is GOOD....Keeps you from making the same mistake twice


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July 16, 2004, 01:17 PM

[quote="Sportbike2"]
Quote:
Does anyone else find it disturbing that FFX PD took the guns away and tried to enforce a law they knew nothing about? I would definitely file a civil suit if I were those 2 individuals.
Yes and no. There are so many laws (thanks to politicians) that I'm sure it's got to be tough to know them all and the associated details. So times you have to err on the side of caution. Now if they had thrown the two guys in jail that would definately be wrong.

It does make me wonder how many times you get a traffic ticket and what you did isn't really wrong or covered under the charge. It pays to lookup the laws.
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July 17, 2004, 08:22 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sportbike2
Quote:
Originally Posted by jsol95
Quote:
Originally Posted by JUSTGO
dude ffx is out of control. Now the cop is basically judge and jury. If you get a ticket you are automatically guilty. I was in court on Wednesday and was witness to this. Somehow not a single person got off of any ticket the entire time. So you mean to tell me out of probably a hundred tickets not a single one was innocent or worth letting off due to it just being and accident. FFX court is out of control. It does not matter what you say when you get up to that podium. Oh and for those of you that said if you get charged with driving with out a license and you get it taken care of they will let you off. Not anymore. Nobody got off. I was charged with driving with out a license. My license was suspended because I payed a ticket late. Was never notified that it was suspended. The day after my ticket all I had to do was pay a reinstatement fee and got it back. The judge didn't even care to look at my license or proof of receipts. He asked the cop a few questions and then said I am going to give you driving without a valid license. It is a lesser charge. Uh no it isn't. IT IS STILL 3 FUCKING POINTS ON MY LICENSE. So thanks but no thanks for the favor ASSHOLE. So that is why I am now moving out of this county. Just so you all know all court costs were raised July 1st. Now court costs are like $47 just for a traffic ticket. Virginia also become the strictest state on traffic enforcement as of July 1st. So time to leave VA. Sorry for the rant I am just a little pissed about many events lately.
So in otherwords your saying that if someone breaks a "law" when they go to court and the facts show that the person is guilty, than the judge should let people "off"? Thats total BS. As I have said before in the past...if you do not wish to share in the fun of going to court..dont break the law....if you do, and you are caught speeding, or any type of infraction...you know if you were speeding, you know your driving with a dead inspection...so if you get poped for it...take it like a man and dont do it again...simple. Fairfax has more training, more funds, and are more safety oreinted than most agnecys in the area..even the "feds". Is this worse? Is this better? You could argue that its unfair, or unrealistic to enforce many laws, well you could say just about anything....However whats fact is, if your caught speeding, driving wrecklessly, or any of the other many traffic laws. Fairfax Takes it seriously....If they didnt, people would not "fear" the wrath of getting the ticket, going to court, paying the fine and so on. Thus keeping the streets safer for the community. Ive seen many court cases, and traffic cases...many people DO "get off" easy or with nothing..however the Judges are tired of seeing the same faces time and time again so therefore come down harder on first time offenders..which is GOOD....Keeps you from making the same mistake twice
Your point is moot when at where I work, every LE entity says that Fairfax is a county that is money driven. The only way to have a fair hearing is by having a lawyer present. other than that you are prejudged.

Most training? MY ASS. FFX has the worst cops I have ever seen or heard of.
Strange that you would say ffx has the worst cops....and that they dont have let me restate maybe not the MOST, but lets say some of the BEST training....perhaps there is somewhere else where they have 6 months of training......but I digress....One major reason many of local, area or fed LE hate ffx, could be from a little bit of envy...look at the better pay...yes they do recieve better training...how do I know? because every agency in the area and nationally come to the FFX academy to train. I wonder why that is? DC constantly asks FFX for help, I wonder why that is? FFX has if not the lowest...one of the lowest crime rates in the country...I wonder why that is?


lol my other question is...how many times can someone quote long ass quotes untill there isnt enough space?


btw, quit using words like "ass" now I cant view this at work


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July 18, 2004, 08:36 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sportbike2
Your point is moot when at where I work, every LE entity says that Fairfax is a county that is money driven. The only way to have a fair hearing is by having a lawyer present. other than that you are prejudged.

Most training? MY ASS. FFX has the worst cops I have ever seen or heard of.

If that is the case, then FFX is doing a poor job. Only about 0.2% of their budget comes from District Court fines. 1/5th of 1%. That is it. If their job is to generate revenue, they should be fired, they are doing a very poor job. If you only did 1/5th of 1% of your job, how long would you be employed?

If FFX has the worst cops you have ever seen, you must have had your eyes closed in NYC. Or do you consider raping someone with a plunger good police work?
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July 19, 2004, 04:49 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sportbike2
Quote:
Originally Posted by jsol95
Quote:
Originally Posted by JUSTGO
dude ffx is out of control. Now the cop is basically judge and jury. If you get a ticket you are automatically guilty. I was in court on Wednesday and was witness to this. Somehow not a single person got off of any ticket the entire time. So you mean to tell me out of probably a hundred tickets not a single one was innocent or worth letting off due to it just being and accident. FFX court is out of control. It does not matter what you say when you get up to that podium. Oh and for those of you that said if you get charged with driving with out a license and you get it taken care of they will let you off. Not anymore. Nobody got off. I was charged with driving with out a license. My license was suspended because I payed a ticket late. Was never notified that it was suspended. The day after my ticket all I had to do was pay a reinstatement fee and got it back. The judge didn't even care to look at my license or proof of receipts. He asked the cop a few questions and then said I am going to give you driving without a valid license. It is a lesser charge. Uh no it isn't. IT IS STILL 3 FUCKING POINTS ON MY LICENSE. So thanks but no thanks for the favor ASSHOLE. So that is why I am now moving out of this county. Just so you all know all court costs were raised July 1st. Now court costs are like $47 just for a traffic ticket. Virginia also become the strictest state on traffic enforcement as of July 1st. So time to leave VA. Sorry for the rant I am just a little pissed about many events lately.
So in otherwords your saying that if someone breaks a "law" when they go to court and the facts show that the person is guilty, than the judge should let people "off"? Thats total BS. As I have said before in the past...if you do not wish to share in the fun of going to court..dont break the law....if you do, and you are caught speeding, or any type of infraction...you know if you were speeding, you know your driving with a dead inspection...so if you get poped for it...take it like a man and dont do it again...simple. Fairfax has more training, more funds, and are more safety oreinted than most agnecys in the area..even the "feds". Is this worse? Is this better? You could argue that its unfair, or unrealistic to enforce many laws, well you could say just about anything....However whats fact is, if your caught speeding, driving wrecklessly, or any of the other many traffic laws. Fairfax Takes it seriously....If they didnt, people would not "fear" the wrath of getting the ticket, going to court, paying the fine and so on. Thus keeping the streets safer for the community. Ive seen many court cases, and traffic cases...many people DO "get off" easy or with nothing..however the Judges are tired of seeing the same faces time and time again so therefore come down harder on first time offenders..which is GOOD....Keeps you from making the same mistake twice
Your point is moot when at where I work, every LE entity says that Fairfax is a county that is money driven. The only way to have a fair hearing is by having a lawyer present. other than that you are prejudged.

Most training? MY ASS. FFX has the worst cops I have ever seen or heard of.



Yeah right. You should come to Page County one time and just observe whats happening there. The funny thing is it never makes the paper and it seems to be so hush hush. Imagine that.


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