Originally created 02/05/06

News you can use



AROUND TOWN

This week's events include:

TODAY

Civil War re-enactment: The event will be from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on private property southeast of Rivers Bridge State Historic Site, South Carolina Highway 641, Erhardt. Admission costs $3 for adults; it's free to seniors 65 and older and children 11 and younger. Proceeds benefit historic preservation and education. For information, call (803) 652-2941

TUESDAY

Tuesday's music live: Moscow Nights and the Golden Gates, two Russian folk music groups, will perform at noon at St. Paul's Episcopal Church, 605 Reynolds St. The concert is free. Lunch costs $7, and reservations are required. Call 722-3463 for details.

AIDS awareness: A National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day event will be held from noon to 2 p.m. at the Richmond County Health Department, 950 Laney-Walker Blvd. Mayor Deke Copenhaver and Fattz and Cher, of WKSP-FM (96.3), will be present, and refreshments will be provided. The event is free. For more information, call 667-4342.

You're driving along the roadway when - rats! - you see those blasted blue lights.

Suddenly, a police officer is pulling you over, sinking your day and your stomach.

There is hope, though, according to the National Motorists Association. The group offers these tips for drivers who are stopped while cruising the streets.

As the officer finishes writing out the ticket, you should already be preparing your defense, the NMA says on its Web site.

It's also a good idea to observe and jot down the following:

- Road conditions

- Time of day

- Traffic density

- Weather

- Surrounding buildings

- Nearby signs

- Location of the officers's vehicle when he or she witnessed your alleged violation

- Location where the officer stopped you

Next, ask the officer these questions, and be sure to do so politely:

- What type of monitoring device is being used to determine speed?

- What is the serial number of the device?

- What type of ticket are you being given, and what does the citation say?

If you have a tape recorder on hand, it's often a good idea to record the conversation, and if you have a camera, to snap some photos of the area in question, according to the NMA.

Once the initial encounter is over, here are some suggested steps if you choose to take the case to court:

1. Plead not guilty. Pleading no contest or guilty with an explanation will result in the judge finding you guilty.

2. Consider hiring an attorney even though it is not required in most states.

3. Get as much information as you can, using open records, depositions, subpoenas, etc.

4. Understand the charges by researching the law you are accused of violating.

5. Ask for a continuance if you need more time. This is an extension of your court date and can be granted by the judge.

6. Prepare your defense so that you're clear on what you'll say.