How to Go From Citizen to Criminal in Under 10 Minutes


This is the chapter of my life titled: “Getting Arrested.”

“Being an Idiot”, “A Valuable Lesson,” and “The State Makes No Sense” would all work too.

While driving to work on Independence Day, I was pulled over by a Tuscaloosa cop for having expired tags. I had gotten a ticket for my expired license plate previously – and hadn’t taken care of it for the same reason my tags were expired: I’m a student waitress who barely gets by as it is.

The cop informed me there is a warrant out for my arrest (…”what?”), and without asking a single question, he handcuffed me and rummaged through my car.

I was three weeks late paying my prior ticket, and that is all it took to be given the total criminal treatment. He “helps” me into the back of the cop car, and this is when time stopped existing – stopped mattering at all.

I was taken to the police station, printed and photographed, then taken to jail to repeat the process. I asked so many questions, inquired (relatively) politely as to why some of the steps being taken were necessary, and I was told to “shut up” or just completely ignored at every turn.

As soon as I arrived at the police station, before I could make it through the metal detectors, I was pushed against a wall and made to stand there until a female officer could take the time to inappropriately touch – I mean frisk – me. As the woman ran her hands down my body and between my legs, three male officers stood behind me, watching the show.

From there, I was processed, which included stripping down in front of a female officer. While I stood before her naked, I asked the cop why it was necessary for me to be strip searched; she responded by calling me an asshole and deciding I needed to take a shower to, I suppose, wash the filth out of my mouth. I didn’t even get a towel to dry off with. She handed me a large, burlap-like orange set of scrubs, bedding, and a mattress. I was escorted down to population, made to walk along gray tape on the ground (it really pissed them off if you deviated from the “inmate line”), and then put in a holding cell that had more women than beds, two metal picnic tables, and an old fuzzy TV set.

I was in jail for a little over eight hours. For the last three, my family sat waiting for them to release me, wondering why it takes so long to process a bond. When they finally freed me, I thought to myself, “thank god this is over.”

Not even close.

The next couple days were brutal – my car was in impound until the following Monday (…holiday weekends….), and since I was fired from my job for not showing up, there was nothing to distract me. In the time it takes to get pulled over, I had gone from an ambitious almost-graduate preparing for her first job to a loser degenerate trying to figure out how to financially get out from under the heel of the state. This feeling, this change in my sense of identity, lingered on past getting a new job, past my court date, past the realization that this is not a defining moment of my life.

I recognize my culpability, I respect all the people who made my horrible experience possible were only doing their jobs. But the punishment doesn’t fit the crime, and the resounding impact of my consequences doesn’t seem fitting – I didn’t hurt, threaten, or violate another person’s rights.

So while my story is not unique or shocking, I want it to bother you. Arrest rates have grown in this country, over 30 percent of Americans are arrested before the age of 23; which is to say about a third of our citizens are criminals according to “the law.” That doesn’t sound like justice to me.

  • I had something similar happen for driving under a license that I didn’t even know was suspended. Prison workers are rude and a joke. #FightThePower.

    • George Edward Purdy

      Look at how many television shows are crime dramas today. People are being indoctrinated in this crap. They buy into this “us vs. them” mentality, so the cops are the goodguys and everyone else is the badguys. The cops get all pumped up just waiting for their opportunity to go after a “criminal” and they put everyone arrested into the same category. God forbid someone should file a false charge against you. If that happens in defiance of all evidence (or lack thereof) you’re in deep and it feels like there’s nothing you can do to escape the grip of the state.

  • md

    white girl discovers something that happens to young black men in alarming rates: being arrested for something improbably minor and being treated with indignity.

    • I’m pretty sure that was her point if you click on the link for the arrest rates.

    • Ammyth

      Hey look, someone brought up race for no reason whatsoever.

    • BrooklynBrett

      Not to mention, libertarians are extremely critical of the impact of law enforcement on minorities.

      • libertarianbull

        Some of them. All too many self-proclaimed libertarians parade around in laughable patriot-garb, accuse Obama of being a Muslim demon and are more concerned about ‘invasive health care reform’ and playing idiot shills for big corporate pharma/insurance firms.

        • Eric Johnston

          those arent libertarians though. Those are what i liek to call rand paul libertarians. Right wing republicans just trying to get votes. A real Libertarian respects everyone. Once you hear muslim demon or anyhting along those lines you instantly should know they are not a libertarian.

          • Pieter B

            Are those bagpipes I hear?

          • Eric Johnston

            nope just a moronic reply from a moronic person.

    • Black Man

      You’re a fuckin’ moron

      • fred flintstone

        Yes FUCK YOU NIGGER. Whites are looked at no differently; fucking (not black) but real niggers cause their own problems.
        I was arrest in an all white town (i’mwhite) on a3rd degree felony.
        I spent thousands for bond and in the end was goddamed NO BILLED you pitiful “black negro”. Shit on the mouths of a ll
        NEGROS not all blacks for the men leaving their families.
        So called big dick…..STD RIDDEN SCUM. Eat your.pudding you have sewn . Skull here

      • fred flintstone

        Pardon me Black Man. I mis posted to you.
        Look above @ MD where i repied to him. sorry.

    • fred flintstone

      GO TO fredflinstone below @ black man i think i posted to the wrong comment instead of you.
      Are you saying this white lady is getting what she deserves….
      getting her due like so many pooooooo lil blacks?
      Like fuck you. Be a somewhat reasonable human…..don’t JIVE
      ……FUCK YOUR WOMEN.AND LEAVE. ….STOP KILLING YOUR OWN RAC @ 8000 per yr. (U.S. stats. Sick of this subject and
      WETBACKS also take heed. You shit nigger.

  • Great read.

  • Andrew Millard

    Been there Crissy. I know exactly what you went through. It sucks and it eventually cost me a lot to get out of the hole I dug for myself (I didn’t learn well.) I’m a good citizen now. I comply. And it didn’t define me. But it does bother me. Cops are “revenue enforcement officers” and the system is very broken.

    • ben_b

      Good slave, you do what master says from now on.

  • EV

    I agree that the police officers and jailers acted unprofessionally in your case. But maybe I misunderstood the point of your article but it seems you are also calling into question your arrest itself for failure on your part to take care if the original violation. What’s the alternative to arrest? Another citation?

    • JordanAmbra

      Yes. Doesn’t an arrest for an expired registration seem like a really heavy handed punishment to you? It sure does to me.

      • EV

        She wasn’t really arrested for the registration, she was arrested for failure to take care of the original citation. Wouldn’t it be pointless to continue writing citations to a person who doesn’t take care of the previous citation?

        • JordanAmbra

          It’s inconceivable to me that someone would go to jail for any length of time for anything related to automobile paperwork.

          Why arrest somebody because they haven’t registered their car and haven’t responded to a citation? Why do you even need to register your car? It’s an irrelevant activity.

          But, considering the law is there, I have an idea. The officer that pulls you over can allow you to pay your citation right there. No jail time required. No arrest or paperwork necessary. Write a check or run your credit card and avoid the issue entirely.

          Either way, arresting somebody for a minor infraction is silly. Send them a letter, show up at their door and request payment if necessary, but give them some respect.

    • Jim Vandervlucht

      I don’t think her point was individual mistreatment. This treatment is rather mundane and standard, not exceptional. More demonstrably, it was the institutional manifestation of the supremacy of state, of overall sovereignty of state concerns where they come in conflict with personal matters of finance. She indicated an income insufficiency, she allocated as she saw fit. You may not like it, or may contend that we all must comply, etc.
      For MD above, he imagines it is a race/gender awakening for Chrissy. That’s a little disingenuous. What concerns libertarians is entirely different than that. The state has sovereignty, regarding paying a license tag as more important than your food or rent, and they are a price discovering institution and unconcerned with outliers, simply maximizing revenue. They placate their conscience by imagining that programs address those at unfortunate junctions, so shame on Crissy for not taking the public services like a good serf. She’ll get little sympathy from libs and cons who struggle with the same payments; we’re apt to ridicule her like so many do the cartoon welfare mother.
      One may wonder at the 50% of Detroit residents who have state mandated auto insurance suffering through $5900 annual minimum coverage rates, and the churn for the state as these people are raked through the vortex for violating the system. Here again, the state reigns supreme, and a whole class of citizen are made criminal, further blamed for not having enough income to stimulate Detroit’s economy. The state must recognize that they are not supreme, that sometimes they are not the first priority in people’s lives, and that we are better to take risks based on reality than the transient expectation of authority, compliance and punishment.

      • Vivislafter

        last time I checked, there still was not a law that states, being poor or unable to pay, is a crime! that is the bottom line, I have seen it too many times, judges throw people in jail for failure to pay fines, my point is, if the person is working, and trying! why throw them in jail? if they are working and not trying to pay even a little, as so long, then maybe yes, jail may be significant and fit a crime, but, first their has to be a law broke, and being unable to pay is or has never been one! our court system is not only broken, it is corrupt!

        ps, you seem to be the only here commenting that makes any sense, !! the girl is right, regardless of what the other mindless haters are saying!

        • Jim Vandervlucht

          Your point is too often overlooked. When someone says you can’t go to jail for parking tickets, they don’t seem to realize that it happens all the time, as in Shiva’s post above. Once someone doesn’t bow to the court, no matter the offense, escalation makes those small items full on incarceration invitations.
          The creeping crud is everywhere, and still some will cheer it on. Blinded to your point about the practical consideration of jailing a formerly working person, they accept the punishment as the highest purpose of justice.
          Thank you for your kind comments. Tiffany Madison is worth your reading too, she is a clear thinker and much better writer than I could attempt! There are people like you and I, hopefully more than it seems sometimes, who have a view of the wider consequences of which the legal system cannot be exempt.

        • EV

          You made my point. She made the decision to not go to court on the citation, where she could have asked to be placed on a payment plan. Her ignoring of the court date resulted in the citation becoming a warrant. At what point was the court aware she didn’t have the funds to pay the citation?

          • Vivislafter

            noo, you missed my point, it is not illegal to not be able to pay for stupid citation, she didn’t break the law, being she had a job, she could have made arrangements with clerk, the point of my reply was to Jim, it is NOT A CRIME TO BE POOR, and that is what our system of money grubbing infidels of justice have become! corporate whores! the citation was a citation, not a criminal offense! there was no criminal court but she was treated like one!

          • Vivislafter

            and cops and jails are NOT judge and jury

          • SonofRojBlake

            “it is NOT A CRIME TO BE POOR”

            And she’s not poor. She owns and runs a car. In no other country in the world would someone call that “poor” and expect to be taken seriously.

          • Jojo Mcgoo

            Your comments are completely irrelevant, Blake. The point is not whether she had the money or not. The point is, who owns your life? Do you, or does the State? The degree to which her rights were violated is irrelevant. The point is the principle. Her rights were violated. What the State did to this girl was wrong, plain and simple. And just because someone has a car doesnt really mean anything anyway. Take your pathetic sob stories somewhere else, Blake. I dont care that you were poor. You obviously have your own first world problems now, like getting pissed at people in a comments section while using your computer.

            Ever heard of a Trabant? You can have those and be poor. Or have you never left the US?

          • Ah Clem

            It’s not the money, it’s the principle of
            ‘The Thing’.

          • Vivislafter

            still not a criminal offense, judge and jury, hope them same laws you claim come back and bite you where the sun don’t shine!! and the same law you claim is cast upon your own head!! I guess the judge never for traffic citations never showed up from your statement! you think you are? learn the law, spewing IDIOT! I will repeat it once again, IT IS NOT A CRIMINAL OFFENSE TO HAVE AN UNPAID TRAFFIC CITATION, IT IS NOT A CRIME TO BE TOO POOR TO PAY ONE!! GUESS YOU GOT EVERYTHING HANDED TO YOU?

      • EV

        I understand your point but states do have some leeway when it comes to regulating transportation on the public roadway and one of those regulations is vehicle registration which every driver is aware of. And I understand her point that she didn’t have the money for the registration or to take care of the citation but she made no attempt to explain her circumstance so the court saw her as just another scofflaw.

    • JJJ

      She didn’t pay the state its money on time because she’s freaking poor – but the state doesn’t give a damn. An arrest is not warranted for forgetting to take care of a violation. Maybe on the 5th strike, some jail time, but no – it isn’t a violent offense or an attack on someone else’s rights so I don’t think it deserves to be considered a criminal act.

      • EV

        I understand she didn’t have the money to pay the fine but how did the state know she was poor since she didn’t bother going to court and explaining her circumstances? Yes, a few hours in jail is harsh but isn’t it pointless to cite a person for a violation if there are no consequences for failure to handle the citation?

      • SonofRojBlake

        “She didn’t pay the state its money on time because she’s freaking poor”

        Yeah. A “poor” person who owns and is running a freaking CAR! I couldn’t afford to even buy a car until I was twenty five. Poor my arse.

      • Michael Novoseletsky

        You can actually show up in court and tell them that you’re having financial difficulties. Believe it or not, sometimes the police, but often the judge are ok with that. A good friend of mine was going to skip out on paying his speeding ticket (same as expired tags in severity) and I told him to simply try going to court and talking to the judge. Judge gave him 90 days to pay and even asked him “does that sound reasonable to you?”

        Judges know that people have a tough time…I’m not talking about the justices of larger courts. We’re talking traffic court here and they are usually pretty reasonable folks. All she had to do was go to court and talk to the judge and the whole situation would have been avoided.

    • TheReb

      I have a good idea. Do away with license plate “tags”. What is the purpose of them, other than to make money? It is time to get rid of everything that is not absolutely necessary. If the government can not exist without such revenue generators, then it is oversized and needs to be reduced. Freedom is always the best policy. The monster was created because control freaks have been allowed to do what they please with little to no oversight on the part of the citizens. It is time for citizens to take an active role.

  • JJJ

    It bothers me. It bothers me a lot. #HateTheState

  • Sheva Bree

    This is the new revenue stream of the for profit prison system. Even minor offenses such as an expired tag put you in jail until you can fork over the money. This isn’t something that affects those who have the funds to keep their cars legal so it flies under the radar of a lot of people. But as someone who has had to deal with a car that won’t pass emissions multiple times I know this pain well. Oh sure you can get an exemption, in GA, but only if your car fails inspection AFTER you’ve spent over $800(last time I checked). In fact the only reason my car is legal now is because we moved to a county that doesn’t have emissions inspections. The environmentalist in me hates it, but the poor person in me is just glad I have a car that gets me back and forth to my crappy job and takes my spouse to his doctor’s appointments.

    This is what happens as more of our government systems are turned into revenue streams. From speed traps, drug laws, to for profit corporations running the probation offices, to private prisons that sign contracts that the local governments will keep them at a certain capacity. This is not a new problem and it is only going to get worse as we put a for profit sign over our justice system.

    • I’m not necessarily sure how this is linked to the for-profit model. Do you know if that is how it works in Tuscaloosa? Additionally, how do you know that making money isn’t also a factor for local police forces? I know that fine revenues are a huge deal for even entirely public police forces. Hence great things like speed traps and minimum fines.

    • SonofRojBlake

      ” The environmentalist in me hates it, but the poor person in me is just
      glad I have a car that gets me back and forth to my crappy job”

      First world hypocrisy ftw! 😀

      • George Edward Purdy

        He didn’t design or build the car. He just drives it. Figure out where to point the finger of blame.

    • Michael Novoseletsky

      I think you should study up on how any why the system works in certain ways. Folks assume that “because I’m in situation X, I should be exempt from those laws over there or those laws are silly and shouldn’t exist…man what a greedy system.” Then some general statement about how the whole thing is all about money is tossed out there instead of pointing the finger back at yourself.

    • robert

      Florida shot itself in the foot with that. They raised fines so high that a lot of cops won’t write tickets now unless its a major speeding or traffic violation. There are statistics already showing that cops are writing more warning tickets because they understand that people cannot afford such a high ticket for a normal traffic offense. t has actually backfired where the fund for police training that uses fees from tickets is at an all time low here. Not all cops are bad. The system itself is broken and some cops get broken by that same system.

    • George Edward Purdy

      If your vehicle fails emission tests they should fine the manufacturer, not the car owner.

  • Nunya Business

    Next time learn to go without. Go without t.v., cell phone, eating out, drinking with your friends, whatever it takes, and pay your fines. Moron.

    • Jim Vandervlucht

      Awful presumptuous for someone claiming the name Nunya Business. Just how omniscient are you, anyway? Caesar.

    • Lack of Solidarity

      Next time you get arrested for nonsense and put into detention for profit, remind yourself that you’re there because you ate out and had too much TV.

    • Koalaface

      Why should she have to go without novelties for the State’s sake? Traffic laws and regulations are a socialist nightmare. When you get behind the wheel, the State completely owns you in every way shape or form. Expired tags? Who honestly gives a shit. Its just another way for the State to consume more of your hard earned money. I bet if she was late on a few car payments, and the financier of her car loan kidnapped and treated her this way you would be screaming “Evil corporate greed!”. Yet, when the State does it it’s perfectly fine.

      • Robert Schley

        Why should one have to farm to provide food for one’s body?

    • Crissy Brown

      Thank you for your kind words, but I would remind you that you don’t know anything about me. I pay my own way through school. I pay my own rent. I support myself. So I will take your insults with a grain of salt. Yeah, I couldn’t pay a ticket on time, and that’s on me – but I will be putting it behind me, just like my college experience, because I am graduating debt free.

      • Morgan Scarboro

        Crissy, you are the epitome of class.

      • Robert Schley

        Congratulations and well done on graduating debt free!
        If you do anything worth anything in the world, someone will complain or put it down.

        As much as my comments come down as being contrary to you, I have the utmost respect for an accomplishment of supporting oneself and remaining debt free while accomplishing goals.
        Best Wishes.

      • Turbohugh

        Well done.. I hope you dont work for the Washington Times tho, they will kill your brain..
        (washington post is not much better.. Cohen is a pig..)

      • Helen Dale

        Blimey, this has brought the wingnuts out in force. That suggested it needed to be more widely known.

        I am currently shocking all my fellow Brits and Aussies with this post (particularly the former) because this couldn’t happen in Britain. They just keep ramping up the fine, or let you pay it off in installments (typically £10 a week, if my last visit to the Sheriff Courts in Edinburgh was anything to go by).

  • Robert Schley

    So we assume 30 days to pay the ticket and then 21 days for the “three weeks late”. So add in another probably 30 days for the expired tags and you’re telling me that you couldn’t come up with the $100 bucks for your tags in almost 90 days but still wanted to drive? O wait, you had a whole year to scrape up 100 bucks for that registration you knew was coming…

    In all that time you didn’t go out, didn’t buy a starbucks, didn’t smoke a cigarette, didn’t buy a present for someone else, didn’t work some extra hours to pay something that I bet you won’t ever forget again?

    I appreciate the point that you are trying to make, but come on, youth anymore is an excuse to be completely “independent” and irresponsible. Yes, prison workers probably have a very low tolerance for anything but considering the job they do, there is a reason. I don’t agree with the way the complex has grown in the last 20 years but still… your little tirade “against the system” sounds more like an “it’s not fair” than anything else. There are millions of people that don’t have this problem year after year… Why don’t you do an article on why not instead of trying to create a problem to solve?

    • Turbohugh

      How much do you think a student waitress makes? Some of them make 50 -100 bucks in a day (if they are lucky). Add the cost of school, housing, and expenses like transportation to and from work and she may be living with a very tight budget. Before you start judging why dont you get off your WASP Male horse and try to see things from another perspective. You are probably one layoff away from being in a similar situation. Imaging losing your livelyhood, and having to use a car to get to job interviews, and something like this could happen to you just as quickly.

      • Robert Schley

        lol, you’re funny. I joined the military to pay for college. She should give it a try. I’d recommend Air Force though. They seem to have a better sense of humor about these things.
        If it isn’t working, try a different route. Good try at guessing who I am though.

        • Turbohugh

          Im glad you found that being a hired gun for Uncle Sam was the path for you. Some people do not want to fight wars for oil and mineral rights. Also, as a woman, she may have considered the high risk of sexual assault that women experience in the military (Im not making this up.) Ultimately, since education is expensive, it seems she was trying to fund her own instead of (As you admitted) joining for a ‘free education’. Ya , I know, you ‘earned’ it because of your service, however. Pat yourself on your back Mr Proud White man, you must be #winning. Too bad she is such a loser that decided not to go enlist or something equally dangerous. Ya, working a job as a waitress to pay her way through school.. what was she thinking. I guess that arrest and spending time locked up will teach her !

          • Robert Schley

            Historically, no free society has ever been able to not have a standing military.
            There are other comments on here from the author regarding her accomplishments on paying her way through college. I respect it.
            I wouldn’t necessarily have called it a free education. I would liken it to any job you take for 4 years while you save to pay for college that you start at… o, maybe 27’ish. Proper Prior Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance.
            Sorry I can’t stay and argue but I have to go cook a #winning (wtf is that?) dinner.

        • >:<

          I think I know what you are… a selfish prick

          • Robert Schley

            Your argument overwhelms me with its awe inspiring logic. I have no arguments against name calling. Good day to you.

    • Why SHOULD she have spent that year saving money to give to a gang of thieves instead of spending it on the things she wanted to spend it on? She’s the one who earned the money. All the state does is say “gimme.”

      • Robert Schley

        probably roads, roads is the first word that comes to mind. Why can’t I do as I want? Why can’t I fly? I think they are just as valid questions

        • If she drove her car, she paid for the roads (that’s done with a gas tax).

    • Jim Vandervlucht

      I bet you’re a Republican, tempered by realism and practicality, with a dose of tough love patriotism. You so adeptly filled in one side of her balance sheet, what about the other?
      Surely one is not as likely to skip tags, she probably is short on insurance too. And given that, she may have a bad tire or two, and an extended oil change. Maybe she’s even a little short of the monthly birth control expense. So you can presume that she’s an irrational, or maybe unrefined individual, you must present her in light of frivolity. What do you know of her decisions anyway? This is precisely how the mindlessness of those petty bureaucracies fomet division. Setting up a straw man that appeals to your instinct, then building a story around it. Except on this Mad Lib, you did it all on your own. Why are people so apt to fall for social convention? Republicans rally against the 10-child welfare mom with 7 babydads, Democrats forget about Soros as they blame the Koch Brothers for the disappearance of coral reefs.
      Bleating like sheep you people walk to your enslavement. You will never rebel, it will come in tolerable, well managed doses. The vindication will be that everybody else got theirs, too.

      • Robert Schley

        fascinating representation. My favorite is “sort on monthly birth control expense”. If you don’t have sex, that tends to be on the short list of worries but seems fairly prevalent to you.
        I will take “tempered by realism and practicality” as a compliment. While I do have many flaws, the reality of the law and paying fees for privileges such as driving has never been a problem for me.
        It’s all about priorities and where your focus is.

    • Black Man

      Oh look… another good little boot licker. Fuck you and your twisted mentality.

      • Robert Schley

        I love the discourse. May I refer you to a gentleman that is a much better representative of your assumed name? Booker T Washington… No, not black, MAN. He is a gentleman and a scholar.

        If you cannot come up with the words to represent a coherent argument then you will most likely never be taken seriously or seriously represented. Good luck and best wishes.

    • Morgan Scarboro

      I do not think Crissy had a victim mentality in this piece. She simply wants you (and everyone, obviously) to question whether being frisked, strip searched, essentially treated as a threat, is equal to the ‘crime.’ I’d say no and that you missed her primary point.
      Also, is telling the story of how you were treated a little tirade against the system? No. Were taxpayers benefited by putting Crissy in jail? No.

      • Robert Schley

        I would have to say that there is a tiny bit of merit. On the flip side, the people booking her probably had no idea that she is a generally law abiding citizen that only got one citation too many.
        There has to be some kind of system in place and the truth is that those individuals that fall into the system don’t necessarily get treated politely because the system is made for impolite people (to put it mildly).
        I think the real point is that there is punishment for individuals that do not follow the law. As much as some may consider it harsh, I think that it is fairly mild given conditions around most of the world. Considering that the only real bruises were to her ego, I think she is probably a better person for the experience.

        • kozzzer219

          You are right. There has to be some sort of system in place. But going to jail over something as minor as this serves neither the idea of justice nor society.
          It probably cost hundreds, if not thousands, or dollars to detain this woman for those 8 hours. That is not an efficient system.

          The problem comes not from this case, it comes from cases that occur everyday where something that either does nothing more than annoys police, or something like this that harms no one, can land a person in jail, and maybe not ruin, but worsen their life.

  • Turbohugh

    Be glad you were not a black man Mrs Brown.

  • Matt Fay

    That’s class war for ya. Foot soldiers for the rich, just doing their jobs.

  • Matthew Petersen

    Happened to me when I was 18- over a $60 parking ticket. I received no call, no notification, no letter, instead I was jailed for 5 hours- much easier ;P

    $60 parking ticket –> $280 processing fee

  • bluecrane1

    If cops and prosecutors say that 30 percent of our citizens are criminals, that only means that 90 percent of our cops and all of our prosecutors are criminals. Law in this country today is little more than a mask for corrupt morals of people that feed off of the criminal justice system in this country.

  • kozzzer219

    Even if you think the author deserved to be punished for not paying the fines, what gain does society get from jailing her?
    I am sure it cost the state (TAXPAYERS) money locking up someone who posed no threat.

    • SonofRojBlake

      “what gain does society get from jailing her?”

      I’m prepared to bet folding money she won’t do it again. So there’s your gain, right there.

      Frankly, I’m surprised you gave it so very very little thought that this obvious benefit to society never even occurred to you. Or am I?

      • kozzzer219

        How does that help society?
        And even if the result is she wouldn’t forget to pay a minor fine again, is the penalty worth the cost? We could send all drug users to jail for life in an attempt to eradicate drug use, but that would be neither fair nor just.

        • Crystal Kelly Yzaguirre

          the fine might be “minor” to you, but for someone who barely gets by as it is, $200 is not a “minor” fine. $200 is your power and water, half your rent, your groceries for the month. I make wages not tips and $200 is 1/3 a paycheck for me. Luckily my expired tag ticket came right around tax return time so I wont be arrested for not being able to pay it. Arresting someone for an inability to pay some arbitrary fine by some arbitrary date is, in effect, punishing them for being poor.

      • robert

        Why should she be jailed? Over failing to pay for her tags? Why didn’t they just impound her vehicle until she paid the tag fee and the fine? Why should we throw everyone in jail? The punishment should fit the crime.

        • James Michael

          You steal the only way she has to goto work and she also becomes jobless and besides all of their licenses and tags and all are ALL a major fraud on everyone anyway.

          • Saint Tammany

            That’s exactly right. Ain’t America Great!

      • claudette

        I fail to see the obvious benefit to society that you are speaking of. The writers and enforcers of this law actually caused more damage to society by labeling her a criminal than she caused by not being able to afford a ticket. As I stated earlier, If the original offense is not jail worthy than anything that stems from it should also not be jail worthy. I also believe that impounding her car would have been sufficient. Instead, she went from being a taxpaying citizen to a jobless criminal. Great job lawmakers and enforcers.

      • James Michael

        Doesn’t do what pay extortion money she doesn’t have for a tag, so she can pay to go about her FREE life? You’re kidding right? You are an indoctrinated slave…. and missed the point of the entire thing. I hope you aren’t a so called American?

      • ben_b

        $50 of registration fines likely thousands of dollars in police work sounds like the only think they can do is make an example of someone. Violence isn’t a benefit to society especially when the victim is an innocent person.

      • Motoxkid

        For all statist Nazis who love this stuff cuz you love using Big Gov to get at others, there is a more practical, CHEAPER way. In Massachusettes. All traffic offenses other than DUI and driving while unlicensed are civil violations. Under Mass law, no one can ever be arrested for a civil violation. For all civil violations, such as not paying tickets, you cannot renew license or registration with unpaid parking or traffic tickets. If you are pulled over for unregistered and you have unpaid tickets, your car will be towed and notreleased til you are all paid up and registered. This bypasses invasive arrest,strip searches, fingering cavities and saves the commonwealth millions in court costs. HOWEVER, for all the miserable NAzi statists who posted here, you would not be able to sit back and masturbate watching the arrests and sexual assaults that go with it in Mass, as we have a far cleaner, cheaper wayto deal with it.

      • George Edward Purdy

        More like benefit to their pockets.

      • .mike

        You are a pig & a raghead.

      • Steve Joseph

        That’s not society’s gain, that is government’s gain. She owed them, not “society,” a petty fine. If you’re wondering where I got the word petty from, it’s one of their own terms. If someone stole 200 dollars from me, it would be considered a petty crime and probably not investigated at all unless a police officer caught the thief in the act. The fact that a small amount of my personal money would not have “earned” them any tax money would only contribute to their apathy in this hypothetical situation. However, when it’s a crime against them or one in which tax money was evaded, the same petty amount is worth 8 hours in jail, bond, impounding a car etc. You’re ridiculous. Stop being a hall monitor already.

      • John

        Do what again? Not not pay a ticket? This effects you and me how? When our own govt who creates laws actually starts abiding by its own laws, when govt respects the constitution which is law created of the people by the people, then just maybe govt can stand the moral grpund of punishing those who dont…..seems one can commit federal felonies and be prez, but dont pay a fine and jail you go…sorry, no non violent “criminals” should be wasting OUR money by housing them, its a waste and does zero for society…not when illegal immigrant felons walk our streets untouched and unbothered…fuck govt, they can go to hell

      • Ticobird

        Son, you are one mean spirited individual and it’s a shame there are so many like you. Most always things are not as black and white as you think they are.

    • Michael Rosa

      I just got over for having expired tags a few minutes ago. I got a $335 fine. I just turned 19 & got my first car all on my own. I joined the National Guard & went to Military Police school to save up. I also now work part time at Dunkin Donuts. When I went to the DMV I asked for my National Defense tags. I got them in the mail & thought everything was fine. This was on January 21, my birthday is on February 1. Apparently my tags expired on my birthday & I had no clue of it, seeing as how it’s my first time doing all of this. I planned on going to the police academy in a couple years but I don’t know how this will affect that. I knew for a while that my tags were jacked up & called the DMV to be told what they did.

  • Anthony Genuardi

    “I recognize my culpability, I respect all the people who made my horrible experience possible were only doing their jobs.” Wrong, you need to stop thinking like that, Crissy. These raping, kidnapping pieces of shit do not deserve your respect. They deserve to kidnapped and violated. Eye for an eye. Never accept the “just doing their jobs” way of thinking. You hurt no one. Damaged no property. You didn’t commit a crime. Tags and licenses, these permission slips we’re given by the state, are just another means of control. Reject the entire system. It is designed to enslave you and beat you down. You should be angry, you should be emotionally distressed, but by no means should you ever think that this is your fault. No victim, no crime. It was you who was the victim.

  • Frank

    “I recognize my culpability, I respect all the people who made my horrible experience possible were only doing their jobs.”

    If you really believe that then you just excused every US Marshal who was just doing their job when they tracked down escaped slaves or every Nazi who was just doing their job when they locked someone in a concentration camp.

    The fact that cops are willing to do wrong for money does not excuse their actions. It just means that they’re willing to do bad things for money. You were the victim.The fact that the criminals in this story wore silly costumes does not change that.

    • McPyckle

      Police officers enforce the law…she had a warrant because she was told to pay a fine and/or appear in Court…she did neither. They are not Nazis, nor are they bringing in escaped slaves…you need a course in civil liberties, which are granted based on your conformance to society’s rules.

      • John Campanella

        And Nazi’s enforced their laws too. Let’s get real here, she had expired tags and hadn’t the money to pay for them. Is this really an appropriate response? You are deep fried and marinated in authoritarian propaganda.

      • robert

        Civil liberties are not granted by the state. They are our birth right in the Constitution. How about you read it.

        • Devon Sanchez

          Correction: They are everyone’s birth right. In America, they are protected by the US Constitution against any violation of an individual(s) personal and/or property right.

      • James Michael

        She is NOT a slave to be ordered BY HER Employee without cause…. People have no clue of anything to do with law and is is so easy a 10 year old can understand it…. Do No Harm…. without a provable harm done NO so called judge has ANY authority to order ANYONE to do anything… You are the definition of a slave. Thank you public School indoctrination for that…. Search for Standing Cross Reference… You are being scammed……Try getting educated instead of drivelling masters arbitrary commands. I did not serve for Americans enslavement…

        • Becca

          I think I am in love……

        • Saint Tammany

          + here in the Land of the Free!

      • Motoxkid59

        Civil liberties are natural rights which are NOT GRANTE DBY BIG GOV, but come from The Almighty. McPycle has put gov on a par with The almighty. The founders repeatedly stated rights do not come from Big Gov, whgich means they are not granted by Big Gov based on compliance to society’s rules. It is you Mc, who need a cours ein civil liberties.

      • ben_b

        Law and legislation are very different in many cases. It’s not wrong, it’s just illegal.

      • George Edward Purdy

        You should study the history of Nazi Germany.

      • Saint Tammany

        I you drill down, you will find that a lot of these types of life ruining arrest including this one are the results of privatization of the collection of fines and taxes. I believe this warrant was issued by the request of a private contractor here in the Land of the Free!!

      • Nik9801

        You are right about course in civil liberties but it must be adequate. It is easier to get to jail in this country than anywhere else for all kinds of minor things. Taking away driving privileges for a while from her would be enough to learn a lesson that if she wants to drive she needs to comply. She didn’t hurt another person why would she have to be treated like she did? This type of inadequate penalty is very abbusive.

        • cathleen

          They did take her driving rights away, but she drove anyway which is why she went to jail. If she just said hey can’t afford to pay my registration and didn’t continue to drive her unregistered vehicle, she’d not have been pulled over for expired tags and then put in jail.

      • Steve Joseph

        How ironic that our founding fathers fought for freedom and yet still created a society where you lose that freedom if you don’t “conform to society’s rules” that you were not directly consulted on. That means you can lose your freedom and several hundreds or thousands of dollars based on some BS law that you don’t even agree with. Bravo.

    • Chris

      She knowingly broke the law, then continued to commit the same crime. This is the act of a petulant child and when that child is an adult who should know better, this warrants the treatment she got. Consider it adult “time-out”.

      • Matthiu Ryin

        the state is your parents? and where does freedom fit into that? does it? is america a lie?

        • SonofRojBlake

          “is america a lie?”

          If you mean the America that Americans keep on and on and on bleating about, the land of the free, the home of the brave, greatest country in the world, blah blah blah… yes, it’s a lie. And, one hopes, at least one third of young Americans are having it proven to them, forcefully, just like this woman has had.

          Perhaps, possibly, they might now start shutting up about what a great place they live in. I shalln’t hold my breath, though.

      • Lysimacheia

        You’re a sycophantic moron. People like you just clack their heels to point their irrational antipathy at any random target group you happen to be irritated at weekly.

      • Garrett Watson

        Wrong. First off, she broke *legislation*, not ‘law’ in the meaningful sense. Second, we are not ‘children’ of the state – that’s patently absurd on the face of it.
        Just because something has been determined a ‘crime’ by some group of people doesn’t justify throwing someone in a cage and treating them like garbage when they don’t follow it.

        • ben_b

          If only more people understood the distinction between wrong and illegal.

      • George Edward Purdy

        Let’s pass a law against whistling on a Tuesday. What will the punishment be? Do you deserve to go to jail for it? Are the lawbooks of men the ultimate authority on morality?

      • Theysowrong


      • Steve Joseph

        Chris, you’re a dork.

    • Anthony Genuardi

      I basically gave the same response to her earlier today, Frank. Chris and McPyckle obviously are too far gone to see their own chains. They have a serious case of Stockholm Syndrome and actively protect their own abusers. You can’t reason with drones.

  • Billy Beck

    It is completely impossible, now, to completely understand American politics without spending at least one night in jail.

  • Jay-Cob L.

    Just emigrate to Czech Republic 🙂 Its libertarians dream here… police is undermanned, undersourced and generaly its power is low on mere citizens, politicans keep arguing each other so you are allowed to just live your life unnoticed.

    As much as I love USA (at least what it USED to be), I know I cannot go there as I would never get out:) The paradox is that 25 years ago, czechs emigrated to USA as it was “land of the free, home of the brave”. Where is that nowadays?

  • Nox Mauzy

    Well thats happened to me several times. Once while driving with a suspended license. Once for carrying a pair of acrylic nunchucks I bout at the mall. One for not having and ID. Once for being black and tell a cop to chill out. Once for missing a court date. And once for getting jumped in a parking lot and defending myself better than the guys who were jumping me. Yeah justice my ass.

  • bleh

    her crime did harm someone! the greedy owners of all of us. you took their profits. they make from stealing from you! and all the cops and people at the jail ARE responsible because they condone it!

  • Hey sheep, let’s decriminalize some of the laws our legislators have written. We have WAY too many laws and regulations on the books so that no matter who you are, you could commit three felonies a day.

  • Adam Apple Price

    I have personal ties to stories like this. I’ve been arrested in situations where the problem was solved immediately after the conflict. The rest was just the roller coaster that was to be arrested and taken to jail.

    But more on this level of WTF I was arrested for sitting in front of a tent. I was involved in my local occupy in winston salem, and very involved with the folks with occupy charlotte, as they functioned very much as a sister camp. In winston salem, our occupy stayed up for 24 hours on city hall lawn. There were already existing laws against camping, also known as being homeless, so the consensus was to play it safe. By nine am, several cop cars had shown up, accompanied by 2 swat team members, and the chief of police to tell us we were “trespassing” on “city property”. We dispersed. It was my first taste of the boot.

    Occupy Charlotte had been given the dispersal notice for their camp. Charlotte had JUST put in anti camping laws cleverly written to allow tail-gating and normal usage of “temporary shelter”, so we established the camp site to equal the allowances made by the police (There was an information stand with a shelter that had a number of things allowed in it. The rule was there had to be bedding material in order for it to constitute a sleeping dwelling.)

    I sat down in front of the tent I chose to protect. With a fellow occupy winston person with me we defended the art tent, because when not from an area find something to be in pure solidarity for. 50 cops came and arrested 7 of us from different tents.

    I was convicted on “resisting an officer”. I was the ONLY one out of the 7 to be convicted. The judge said the officers must of had probable cause to arrest me. The officers couldn’t even tell the judge what was in our tent at trial. It has come up in background checks for employment.

    Think about it.

  • Nightrider

    This is the new America …. times have changed whereas before a citizen would be glad to see a cop and even say hi to him, knowing he is there to protect the public. No more. Nowadays, you want to avoid and have no contact with them. Otherwise, you run into the chance of being treated as a criminal, and worse. That means start with paying your parking & traffic tickets… and keep a low profile. Sad but this is
    reality, as shown by the bad experiences of many citizens occurring everyday.

    • aenaithia

      That America never existed for people of color.

      • Nightrider

        To a large extent, true, if they were to venture out at night or into an area where there was a prevalence of white folks living or working there (as to cause ‘suspicion’).

  • Phantasm

    I am so sorry, Crissy. I, too, have been arrested and now the DMV is kicking my ass to take away my driver’s license in an attempt to make my jobless and a useless member of society. Pretty much seems like they want to force arrestees who may have even been upstanding, hard working members of society into disparaged cattle.
    Hopefully you can learn from this, keep writing about this, and spread the news about how shitty the system is. Best of luck! Remember, you’re dealing with dumb people with too much power. It’s sad. You’re above it!

  • Anastasia Euthanasia

    i think everybody’s experienced something like this. get used to it, this is a police state- fascist Amerika. You probably got off easy because of how you look. If you were homeless and arrested for the typical things homeless people are arrested for- sleeping, drinking booze, even sitting on the sidewalk in some cities, you would have been beaten up just for the fun of it before you went to jail.


    Open abuse of power there, in the middle part. Has this been referred to the relevant misconduct body? If you don’t do it less empowered minorities and the like, who get this all the time, won’t be able to do it. Some of the comments in this thread beggar belief for their lack of a sophisticated understanding of the ability of cops to do their job without abusing power.

  • mike

    Take some fucking responsibility for your inactions

  • Athena

    Wow… I’m generally on the side of “pay your fines, respect the Highway Code, stop complaining and slack on beer if you need money” side… but the strip search, the jail and a rude and derogatory language from law officers?!? That’s way overboard! Here in Canada, a story like that would have made newspapers’ front pages!

    Is a first arrest becoming part of the American coming of age, just after the first beer and the first kiss?

  • SonofRojBlake

    “I recognize my culpability”

    No, you don’t, otherwise you wouldn’t be here whining about it.

    “I had gotten a ticket for my expired license plate previously – and hadn’t taken care of it…”

    Just one question: will you do something like this again?


    Then what was done to you *worked*. That’s what it was for.
    You may think it was overly harsh, but given your attitude displayed in this post it seems likely that if it had been less harsh you’d probably have ignored it, moved on, and not let it stop you ignoring fines or other state sanctions in future.

    • GetABrain

      Gee, so they could have simply shot her and the result would be the same, no future violations.
      The justice system is supposed to be about getting to the truth and punishing wrong doers, but the punishment is supposed to fit the crime. There are several ways you can punish someone without making them an outlaw and without harming society. Impound the car, put a lien against them, garnish wages, play Barry Manalow outside their house 24/7… the possibilities are endless and take but a small amount of compassion by the politicians who make the laws.
      I blame the police for being rude, unpleasant, and sadistic. I blame the politicians for making stupid laws. And most of all, I blame the sheeple for allowing this type of thing to continue.

  • Mia Feral

    This sucks and all, but I’m a 23 year old woman too, and I’ve been arrested multiple times. I’m lucky, the most time I’ve spent in jail is 16 days. I was homeless for 3 years, so I racked up a lot of misdemeanors. Did you know how easy it is to get arrested for sleeping in your car? Having “drug paraphernalia” that isn’t even illegal? Or walking down the street and saying “I’m not interested” to the undercover officer looking for prostitutes? Sleeping in an abandoned house when the shelters are full and it’s below freezing? I’m not trying to start no class war, but getting arrested all the time is an unpleasant part of life for a lot of folks, and it’s weird how shocked some people are about this article.

  • Michael Novoseletsky

    I’m going to disagree with this article, but stick with me. When you commit some sort of traffic violation and you receive a ticket. It’s at that time, instead of being arrested and going before a judge for something simple like expired tags that no one really cares about in terms of “keeping us safe”, you get a ticket. For that ticket you give them a bond, be it your license or pay on the spot or whatever else. Then you either pay the ticket or show up in court. They often give you the option to mail in a payment or you renew your plates and waste time going to court to get the ticket dropped saving you a few bucks (been there, done that).

    So the first time you got a ticket, you basically told the state “ok here’s my signature or bond card or drivers license, and I’ll go ahead and take care of this so that the system doesn’t have to put me in jail and waste not only my time but that of the judge and all the officers involved, etc…”

    So it was on that very first time that you got a ticket in which “the system” you wrote above actually worked in your favor. You were pulled over for maybe 10-15 minutes (the first ticket) and then free and on your way even though you had committed some violation which both you and the state was a case of the “whoops my bad”. And the state said “hey no problem, just take care of it.”

    Instead, the essence of your actions I believe rightfully resulted in your arrest. Once you skip out on court or on paying a ticket…the offense doesn’t matter. The system can’t say “oh well let’s give poor Crissy 2 shots at it since it’s just expired plates”. You had that shot the first time…minor violation, everyone agrees about that and you get 30 days usually if not longer to pay or show up in court. So very reasonable. You acted unreasonably (in the eyes of the state) by saying “hey guy, I’m busy with my life or just don’t care…it would be ridiculous for you to come after me on this any further anyway, right?” But instead you got treated EXACTLY the way you deserved to be treated. Not that fact that your plates were expired, but that you took a very simple and innocent ticket past the point of it being simple and innocent.

    My apologies for sounding cruel, I’ve been in your position as well for a different offense and I deserved it just as you fully deserved it. Rather than you going to jail for expired tags the first time, this ticket system is in place. Rather than go to jail for not handling the ticket you could have even MAILED it in (maybe, but depends on the state)…you CHOSE your path, perhaps not wisely and then cried on the internet about it.

    • Michael Novoseletsky

      And to follow up…you didn’t go from citizen to criminal in 10 minutes. It took about 2 months or so. I’m guessing 2-4 weeks for the ticket to get a default judgement and then another 2-4 weeks for the warrant to be issued. Please change the title accordingly.

    • Morgan Scarboro

      I understand (not necessarily agree with, but understand) the beginning of your argument, however, I genuinely cannot understand your train of thought that leads you to believe Crissy “deserved” to be called an asshole, frisked (with an audience…fun), and strip searched.

      Do you also believe that guys betting on football games in bars DESERVE to be killed? After all, that’s also illegal. What about recreational poker games? Should SWAT teams burst into people’s homes for that? Is that level of disrespect from authority something you honestly want to normalize in this country?

      If you have not, perhaps you should read this piece:

      • Michael Novoseletsky

        My apologies for leaving that part out. Of course she should not have been called an asshole. The frisking is what happens during an arrest. I have been arrested, they frisked me, life moves on. The purpose of the frisking is not to humiliate anyone but we don’t know Crissy, neither do the cops. It’s standard procedure for all.

        What was rightfully done was the arrest. She opted out of any other method of either paying the ticket OR going to court and simply talking to the judge, which is ultimately what an arrest is. An officer bringing you in to see the judge or prosecutor.

        Morgan you are making a big leap here. Now we’re going into sports bars and murder up from a girl who very willingly ignored a ticket which turned in to a warrant. I’m looking at her case in this instance and not saying SWAT should bust in the door. For starters, SWAT would not bust in the door. And when we talk about recreational poker games the reality is that most law enforcement could care less unless it goes on a big time scale.

        How she was treated is a different story and that I do not agree with. But the arrest itself seems rightfully so. She was not arrested for expired tags…she was arrested for the ticket that turned into a warrant which could have long been avoided.

        Your link to the article doesn’t apply here. There was a warrant out for her arrest. His duty at that time was to bring her in on a warrant. This is what the police do. Again he didn’t arrest her for the expired tags, but for the warrant that a judge issued when she chose not to show up in court and say “Your honor I don’t have the money right now, can some sort of payment arrangements be made?” Or more likely if she simply had the tags renewed the judge would drop the fine (what happened to me a few years ago). BUT SHE DIDN’T SHOW UP IN COURT!!!!!!!!!

      • Spatial Orientation

        She might not have “deserved” to be frisked an strip-searched, but the people who did that did not have any choice. The Tuscaloosa County Jail Standard Operating Procedures state that any individual booked in the TCJ is to be completely searched and required to turn over ALL of their property (clothes are property) to the county jail. So, normatively speaking, no, she did not “deserve” it, but it is completely disingenuous to act like these corrections officials or the arresting cop were exceeding their power or abusing authority. This is the same treatment everyone gets and they acted in accord with proper procedures. The arresting cop did not have a choice to arrest her, an outstanding warrant existed, therefore he lacked any discretion about whether to let her go or arrest her. Similarly, I have no love lost for cops and blog about misconduct and abuse all the time, but it is quite reasonable to have a policy of searching and removing all property from someone being brought into a correctional facility. The real issue I guess is with the operational decisions, laws, and policies that led to this unfortunate incident. But the post reads like something that is castigating “these” particular cops and corrections officials

        • Crissy Brown

          Actually, they did have a choice. It isn’t standard procedure to take someone like me (who is going to bond out in a matter of hours) back to population. Normally for minor infractions they keep you in a holding cell.

          But my big problem isn’t that I didn’t receive “special treatment” but rather that the law sees me as dangerous as someone who actually harmed or violated another person or their rights. That is the discussion I was hoping to start with this post.

          • Spatial Orientation

            “Every inmate that enters the Tuscaloosa County Jail will be patted down before being booked and any property that inmates have will be surrendered to the on-duty booking rover to be inventoried. After the completion of the inventory sheet and the inmates signature stating that all property has been surrendered, the inmate will begin the booking procedure.”

            Clearly, you were an inmate that entered the Tuscaloosa County Jail. This is straight from the Inmate Intake Procedure, Booking section. A little further down it states, under County Issued Items:

            “Upon committal and before being escorted to your assigned housing unit, the following items will be issued to you.

            One uniform shirt One uniform pants One mattress One blanket Two sheets (one fitted and one sheet) One pillow One pillowcase Two towels (one towel and one face towel) One toothbrush One tube of toothpaste One bar of soap One roll of toilet paper One spork One cup One inmate handbook.”

            Now, the above quotes seem like exactly what happened to you, to a T. All in compliance with standard operating procedure. Further, there is nothing in the linked SOP PDF below that says anything about how you are to be booked based on whether you will be bonded out soon or not, or whether that matters at all, or if it is to be taken into consideration. The TCJ procedures make no distinction between how someone is booked for a minor infraction or a serious one. I don’t think your arrest and the booking procedures see you as dangerous person, per se, or someone with violent proclivities. These are the booking procedures for everyone who enters the jail, and as we all know, not all crimes are violent or public safety related. But you were being processed in a jail. The State (despite how much we all hate it, and I hate it as well) has at least a reasonable and understandable interest in making sure that people who enter penal institutions are not armed or do not have weapons, or something that could be fashioned into a weapon. I’ve had to visit clients in Miami-Dade County jail on numerous occasions and it is not an easy process, even for an attorney to be allowed into the jail without handing over all sorts of ID, going through a metal detector, and explaining your purpose. These procedures are enacted for the safety of the inmates and those who work in the jail, according to the government. Again, I agree being arrested for failure to pay a fine for a tag violation is stupid and agree that such laws shouldn’t even exist. Also, I agree that the booking procedure is stupid and degrading, but I’m not sure I get what you mean by “it sees you as dangerous”. It seems that your real problem is with the SOP for booking inmates, which makes no distinction between people arrested for non-violent crimes and those arrested for violent crimes. But I don’t know if that means it sees you as dangerous. It just sees you as an inmate, who is subject to the same procedural booking process as every other inmate, without, stupidly,in my opinion, considering the infraction of said person being booked. But the state’s rational is one of concern and safety for the workers of the jail so they adopt a policy of full search and collection of everyone’s property. Whether that is good policy or not is obviously a different case. If what you are trying to argue is that arrest-able offenses for non-violent law violations (like, for instance, failure to pay fines for tag violations) should not be handled by the county jail and its booking procedures that lead to arrest, booking, full search, strip down, removal of all property, and processed into gen-pop I’d say I absolutely agree. But I’ve spent more than enough time around jails, inmates, lawyers, and corrections people to have heard stories of inmates using bras, spoons, and a myriad of other stuff you wouldn’t even think could be made into a weapon into one that leads to a serious violent attack in jail or even in court. It just seems like you are mixing up the rigid and top-down stupidity of the state’s criminal justice bureaucracy and procedures, with said bureaucracy morally judging your actions.


    • GetABrain

      A very nice reasoned argument, though I must disagree. Would it not have been sufficient to simply impound the car and allow the person in question to continue to make a living to pay their bills? Most people will move heaven and earth to get their car back in a timely fashion. Did we have to punish society by creating a criminal and spending tax payer dollars maintaining a larger jail? Do we have to put up with disrespectful law officers who get their jollies by being rude, cruel and nasty?

    • claudette

      I have a problem with the idea that not paying an expired tags ticket results in jail. This should not be an arrestable offense. I can get on board with impounding the car but putting someone in a criminal database for not having the money to pay an expired tag ticket is ridiculous. I understand the officers followed the law as written. This just happens to be one of those times where the punishment does not fit the crime. I am of the mind that if the original offense is not a jail worthy crime than anything else that stems from it should also not be jail worthy.

      • Michael Novoseletsky

        Here I think I would agree with you Claudette. In Illinois there are infraction tickets (friend of mine just had to go through it) which means that its a ticket without a court date and you will not be able to do anything (renew tags or license) until you pay the fine. The downer is that you can’t pay the fine at the place where you get your license, which if you forget about the ticket means you can go for years without paying, go to get your license then have to make another trip to pay then come back to get your license. Not the best of systems, but arguably a better alternative to jail and being impounded.

        I would argue that a different type of ticket should or could be issued for something like expired tags. The state I’m sure would have a counter-argument. So my point was only addressed at the way the system currently is.

        Now I did have an officer give me a choice once (all my ticket stories are coming out). He said “I can give you a regular speeding ticket (whatever term he used) where you will have a court date…or I can issue you a local municipal ticket which is not contestable and you will have to pay the fine no matter what.” I opted for his choice since I was indeed speeding and I would not need to make a court appearance. I believe that ticket, if I did not pay it…would not lead to an arrest and would be a similar ticket to what my friend just went through in renewing her license.

        So it simply depends on what type of ticket is issued. My guess (I’m not in law in any way) is that if you have a court date and both do not show to court and do not mail in the fine…that’s when the warrant goes. So it would be the other type of ticket that you’d be talking about issuing.

        • claudette

          I could get on board with options such as those.

    • George Edward Purdy

      Poor people can’t pay tickets. They have to pay bills. They have to eat. They have to feed their children and the elderly. This is economic oppression.

    • Steve Joseph

      Michael…shut up.

  • John F Gordon

    What is worse, her name and other pertinent data are now in a “criminal database” and any time that a cop runs her license plate number and gets a “hit”, he’ll find some excuse (also called probable cause) to pull her over and give her a hard time. Nothing may come of it, or they’ll find some excuse to bring her in as a suspect for some kind of incident that may have occurred that she had nothing to do with. I used to be a cop and I KNOW how this shit works. It has gotten a lot worse since my day in law enforcement.

  • Entitled Little Brats

    This is just another case of a naive young girl thinking she’s far too young and pretty and good to pay her bills or have to deal with the consequences of not paying them. LOL what a generation of spoiled brats. All they have to do is whine on the internet and they have a thousand morons just like them there to pat their back in a minutes time. SORRY lady, but it’s false vindication. The truth is: you pay or you pay. It has nothing to do with “the state” or any of the 1984 BULL people are going on about. You got arrested and a little embarassed, you didn’t get hurt, there were no long lasting UNFAIR consequences. Just a whiny little girl is all I see here, no fear mongering state bent on controlling us all. If the US really was that bad, you wouldn’t have spent half a day in a jail cell, it would have been your life. TBQH this is pathetic. I’m sure Nelson Mandela reeeeally feels for you, little girl. Cause you know, your couple hours in jail is just like his two decades. Or at least you would have me believe that the way you exaggerate in this “article” (more like a glorified FB post). Hey lady, you should hook up with the Dunkin Donuts bitch lol.

    • GetABrain

      Hi Entitled,
      You’re an idiot.

  • jimothyGator

    They were not “only doing their jobs.” Their jobs include giving tickets, pulling drivers over for violations, and arresting, sure (and we can debate which, if any of those are legitimate). Their jobs are not to harass you, tell you to shut up, call you an asshole, or get their jollies while you’re frisked. You know they did not “do their jobs” in a respectful manner, so you need not excuse them.

  • Bryce Kain

    Oh cry me a river. Next time just pay the damn ticket.

    • Theysowrong

      Wow? Mr money bags.

  • Adenhart

    “I respect all the people who made my horrible experience possible were only doing their jobs.”

    Doing your job is not an excuse.

  • adam

    Chrissy – it does bother me. It bothers me every day that our law and enforcement and department of justice operate as fucking criminals. they treat us like slaves, which we are – make no mistake about that. “marijuana will ruin your life, so if we catch you with it, we’re going to ruin your life” – how is this helpful to society? more laws = more criminals. people have said this for 1000 years. governments have been doing this same shit for 2000 years and no body today wants to notice. IT PERFECTLY DEFINES INSANITY for us to believe that our government operates in our best interest, when history has PROVEN that clearly they do not.

  • George Edward Purdy

    There should be a distinction between jailable offenses and non-jailable offenses. Any minor traffic ticket should be a non-jailable offense.

    Unfortunately the problems with the criminal justice system go way beyond this. It all comes back to the legislature. If they pass laws that are “tough on crime” they get a pat on the back, but if they pass laws that are “soft on crime” they get called a commie pinko liberal.

    The criminal justice system has slowly been creeping in the direction of a total police state for a very long time now. It’s like we’re lobsters being slowly brought to a boil in a big iron pot.

    People are fed lies about the criminal justice system through their televisions every day. They believe they’re actually learning something when it’s just entertainment with zero educational value.

    You have the right to remain silent. Do you know why you should exercise that right? Did you know that police routinely lie to people every day as part of their job? Do you find that offensive? If you speak to a police officer and your case goes to trial, they officer can (will) lie, and it will be your word as a citizen against the word of a police officer.

    You’ve heard of police brutality. Do you know why police are so rarely punished for it, or even for merciless unnecessary beatings and killings of citizens? They police themselves. That’s why. They protect their own against scrutiny. That’s the first stage of a police state.

    You believe you have the right to an attorney. Do you know what that actually means in a courtroom? Do you know the difference between a court-appointed lawyer and a public defender? Do you know what to expect from a defense attorney? Do you know how expensive a good lawyer can be?

    You believe you’re supposed to be considered innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. Do you know that you’re going to be punished almost immediately just by being arrested and that it will affect your whole life from that day forward? How much harm will it do to you and your family it be forced to pay tens of thousands of dollars in bonds and legal fees? How do you feel about being thrown into the general population with hardened violent criminals? How do you feel about thermal and auditory torture? Yes, it’s part of the design of many jails. How do you feel about being thrown naked into a freezing cold room with no furniture and a grate in the floor instead of a toilet? That’s what happens when you’re suicidal because you’ve been traumatized by the treatment you’re getting from police.

    You believe that if you’re either found not guilty or your case is dismissed or charges are dropped you can have the records expunged or sealed. Did you know that isn’t possible in Texas and some other states? Did you know that even if the records are expunged the arrest will never be removed from the computerized reporting systems used by employers?

    The vast majority of cases are settled out of court. Why? Intimidation and fear. “You can sign this and be on your way, or risk going to jail for a very long time.” Guess what? With deferred adjudication deals you’re actually more likely to go to prison when you sign for them, and you live in constant fear. Your probation could be revoked at any time by an office worker with an axe to grind. Do they think you’re innocent until proven guilty? No. They think everyone is guilty.

    The criminal justice system in America is broken. We need to wipe the slate clean and start a federal criminal justice system from square one unifying the entire nation. No more state laws. We’re either one nation or we’re not.

    • Theysowrong


  • Michael

    If the cops didn’t treat you like crap, society would descend into lawlessness. I, for one, am glad that our wise overlords have seen fit to appoint such benevolent protectors to punish undesirables who refuse to pay their dues. If we didn’t have them, we’d be abused and extorted by evil corporations, and no one wants that. I’m just so proud to live in America, the most free country in the world! Isn’t freedom great? (For the humorless, that’s sarcasm)

  • jdkolassa

    I would hardly say you’re a “loser degenerate,” Crissy. From what I saw working together at CEI, you’re anything but.

    • Crissy Brown

      Thank you, Jeremy. But going to jail shifted my sense of identity. It took a while to shake the feeling that I was a criminal. (re-reading “The Law” really helped).

  • TerriFA
  • KAS

    Good luck trying to get a job, with an arrest on your record 🙁

  • What?!

    I was arrested on a DV charge and held for 4 days, for a crime that was later dismissed- because I was the one who was being terrorized. I did not have access to my public defender and was unable to submit my evidence to the prosecutors office. I had plenty of evidence to exonerate me, but was unable to access council in jail. This was in Washington state. I have also been detained for ‘assumed’ DUI, submitted to a breathalyzer- that indicated that I was not under the influence. This officer followed me from a nightclub parking lot. Even though I passed the field sobriety test and field breathalyzer, the officer took me to the station anyway. I was held in a cell for 2-3 hours- even after taking the station breathalyzer- that indicated that I wasn’t under the influence. Another incident, in the same state, an officer stopped me at midnight- I was driving home from work. He said that someone reported a jeep swerving- (I had not been drinking) that fit my jeeps description. He asked me to step out of the car and to keep my hands out of my pocket. He then frisked me (I am a woman, and no female officer was on site). He also searched my jeep. He then told me that I needed mud flaps on my jeep- even though I had mud guards. The next day I went to the DMV and asked if I needed mud flaps, and they said that I didn’t, because I had mud guards. Hmmm! Human rights? What rights?!

  • kitty

    It isn’t a justice system at all, but is only a court system, an unfair money making business.

  • Saint Tammany

    Thomas Jefferson — ‘When the people fear the government there is tyranny, when the government fears the people there is liberty.’

  • Dave Larry

    Yea I’m suppose to go friday.I really don’t care one way or another about it.

  • Liza

    I agree with this article 100% . I was in the same situation as the writer and it is not a good feeling. Like many students she was struggling. She didn’t deliberately not pay the fines and laugh about it. I agree the punishment was too harsh. it’s almost ridiculous.

  • Spode Marks

    The law says a motorist has to yield. But until they do, I have no right-of-way to go charging into traffic. Further, I have a responsibility to make every reasonable effort not to hit anyone–regardless of what the other driver is doing

  • Nik9801

    She is right … The punishment doesn’t fit the crime…

  • briankizer

    This is very sad thing, over speed may make you criminal. reckless driving

  • paulshaver

    Instead, she went from being a taxpaying citizen to a jobless criminal. criminal lawyers in NJ

  • Ebony LaTrice Clark

    If I can’t beat my friend up for not paying me back, The goverment should not be allowed to jail me for not paying them. This is not England.

  • Aya

    My wife and I married in May last year, and ran a cleaning business. Our car was a beater, but it got us around. It had always been just me in life, same with my wife. So it had become just us. When our car broke down and the money ran out we couldn’t get to work, pay our rent. We lost everything save for the tent we would sleep in for the next 3 months. She was pregnant. We walked for two days straight to a town I thought would have jobs, carrying a suitcase with our clothes and tent in it.

    After applying for my first job in this town, the suitcase broke and our stuff scattered. The officer who questioned us asked if we needed help. I said yes, we really do.

    We were both charged with littering, fined separetely (even though as a family we have one, shared income, even if she and i had our own jobs).

    Its been around 9 months since that. Catholic charities has helped us tremendously (a hurt to my pride as I don’t enjoy help). We have a new apartment, but no jobs yet. Nobody is hiring me. I could prove to the judge that I have put in applications, sent in resumes, done a few interviews. However, my wife loves me, transgendered and all. But it stops there.

    We spent 3 to four months living in a tent, and then a homeless shelter (it was awful, we preferred the tent). Then, finally being back in a home of our own our trial date came up (yeah, we plead not guilty). We told the judge our situation but it did no good. Charged with littering, and the last of our possessions were called the litter.

    Our laws are made to encourage and enforce order and safety, not to fill the pockets of the county. Our current county is so poor, they fix the potholes in the roads with their thriving ‘criminal debt’ racket.

    And to think, how many people get shot a week where we live? All we want is out but the gov has us underfoot?

  • Theysowrong

    Thank you for sharing Chrissy.Im presently a wanted fugitive in Texas.A single mom with a disabled son & an 97′ ugly,cop-magnet car…that great fully-runs.Its un-inspectable with a broken speed odometer,1broken window,no flashers,no horn & a few other minor flaws.Its all we have and we’re in fear daily as we cop-dodge the law.Im a great driver but know the law will eventually get me.gotta have the car for dr appts for my boy & to keep us alive in this city?

    • Theysowrong

      The only other way I can see out of this is ,to find someone to care for my boy,and then turn myself in to do time? I’m not even sure if that’ll wipe out the tickets? There for no inspection,no registration,(no money?),court no shows & non payment of massive Texas surcharges.ill probably end up in there a few months for as much as they want.I don’t break the law( other than this?) And now I feel like the Bonnie Parker of the Barrow gang? All I want is the right to travel freely in my state & country without excessive penalties for stupid tags every single year? Thanks for listening =)

  • Liza

    Unfortunately universities aren’t really in the job to support the students as much as they are to support the University from getting sued. I’m sure they felt somewhat sympathetic for this student, however not enough to ensure that she didn’t end up feeling like SHE did something wrong. She’s attacked, pushed over the edge a bit from ptsd, and then punished in some ways when she tries to move forward with her life. Penn wasn’t that helpful to her. I’ve seen them in action before.

  • Anita Crossley

    I’m dealing with the same thing! Hubby went away for work pretty far from here. He was a day late on his payment. He tried to pay on his fine before leaving. The judge told him. “I don’t have time for this right now.” We had no idea what we were to do. So heads off to work. Comes home to be picked up! It’s a dame shame. He shouldn’t even be in this situation. The arresting officer just got fired for being a drug addict. My hubby was charged for having my pill bottle in the car with out me in it. I did not know that was aganst the law. He gave him a charge of misconduct instead of the actual charge. Our town gives every one these bogus charges bc anything that could have a prison sentence the town does not get the fine money for it. It goes to higher courts. Almost seems like our town is scamming to make sure the money stays here and is handing out traffic citations for things like DUI ect. It’s completely corrupted! Trying to see what I could do about this!

  • Brainiac3397

    I got my license suspended for an unpaid street cleaning ticket. There are people out there committing a variety of severe traffic violations that actually pose a threat to the public, but I guess I’m a dangerous driver for parking on the wrong curb. So for a $50 ticket, I had to pay $200 to repair.

    Yeah I broke the law. I’m not sure the crime I committed would warrant making me an outlaw. The US law enforcement has gotten worse where unpaid parking tickets means you get treated like a serial raping gangbanging cop killer.

    Equality eh?

  • kris

    Blue Collar crime costs America 15 Billion dollars per year. White Collar crime costs America 300+ Billion dollars per year. Did you read those numbers. Rich folks steal with impunity and never go to jail or prison. The White Collar Criminals kill people, injure people for life, destroy families, steal their life savings et al. Most Blue Collar crime is theft and not violent, but they still go prison. Blue Collar crime is committed by the Lower Social classes (by definition), and White Collar crime is committed by Higher Level Upper Class Americans. Blue Collar: theft, assault, drug crimes, burglary, sex crimes, Bank Robberies. White Collar: Embezzlement forgery, fraud, stealing people’s life savings, killing people in unsafe working conditions etc. The Cops show is a joke, a lie, and a fraud. What we see is the lower classes doing stupid things and going straight to jail. Their is no Cops show for the rich, because the Wealthy Media owners will have no part in showing the Corporate and top 10% White Collar crime, they themselves participate in.

    • tomcsy44


  • Just call me Joe

    I do not have so much an issue with Ms. Brown being arrested for not paying her fine. She knew about it. She willfully ignored it.

    Since she presumably did not have a prior criminal record, the appropriate thing to do would not be to process her into the jail, but to have some mechanism for her to pay a late penalty instead: Option A: Pay the fine plus a $250 penalty right now. Option B: Get processed into jail, then pay the fine and court costs and a penalty.

    I have a bigger problem with hefty fines (often $10,000 each) and jail being laid down for paperwork crimes, thought crimes, and crimes of morality.

    No one can possibly know what all the crimes are, and they are not necessarily obvious. Didn’t know you had to put a label on a box: Go to Jail. Don’t visit your shed every so often because you are in jail because you didn’t know you had to put a label on a box: More jail. Clear debris from a ditch: Go to jail. Fill in a low spot: Go to jail. Plow your lot: Get fined. Don’t plow your lot: Get fined. (seriously, in California, there is a law that prevents some people from plowing a lot and a law that requires them to plow their lot; landowners obey the one they are most likely to get caught for). Don’t mail in a form: Get fined. Mail in a form with a mistake: Get fined. Look at something the government doesn’t approve of: Go to jail. Have sex with a consenting adult in a way the government doesn’t approve of: Go to jail. Marry someone the government doesn’t approve of: Go to jail.

    Crimes of omission deserve a grace period to fix, from time of notification. Obscure crimes, thought crimes, and crimes of morality should never have jail.

  • It seems unconstitutional the someone cool be jailed for not paying a traffic fine to me.

  • Martha hernandez

    FL is corrupt stand up for your rights don’t be afraid. Don’t pay red light camera scam tickets fight it the system is corrupt. You can’t afford a fine well the way Florida works you have no choice but to commit a crime if you want to keep your license. Florida justice is a joke. BTW you need a license only if doing comerse on the highway!!!!!

  • Kelley Chapman- Chandler

    I have to say, this is pretty damn excessive for failing to pay a ticket… smdh!


    Grrrr that is soooo bloody disgusting Chrissy! You’re a hard working tax payer making your community a better place, and here you didn’t do anything wrong yet, simply due to the fact that you’re struggling with no money and couldn’t afford to pay these loaded criminal governments they lock an innocent person up! Those pigs had no rights to abuse you like that, if I were there I would’ve kicked them in the balls for you! I am so sorry you had to go through this horrendous, traumatic experience, when they could’ve been out there catching and locking up drug dealers and rapists, but instead they put away a nice, tax paying citizen for not paying money to their already loaded pockets! May God judge these animals.

  • Robb

    The entire civil court system is corrupt, beginning with the local police who act as the initial supplier to the system. although the police won’t admit it, their performance is rated on he number of arrests they make, so there is tremendous effort to make as many arrests as possible. Prosecutors and judges are complicit in that those are both elected positions and they want to get reelected. Hence the “law and order” mantra at election time. This feeds into the maw of the jail/prison system which supports the prison guard unions and the private prison system. As this woman’s story points out, the poor are the target because they cannot afford an attorney and jail is a sure thing. In addition to the civil court enterprise, there are other industries that suck at the court’s teet, including the bail bond system, the car towing system and the car storage system. The ramifications are substantial as the author points out. The loss of a job means not only the loss of income but loss of medical insurance, loss of car etc. connected to income. We end up with debtors’ prisons in effect. Of course, we taxpayers end up paying for this fiasco to the point that California now spends more on prisons than on education.

  • J. Williams

    It’s true! This kind of stuff happens all the time. If you’re unlucky enough to date a psycho once or twice in your life- it’s even better (sarcasm). It isn’t hard to be locked up in America. Land of the free; home of the brave….mmm- land of the incarcerated; home of the hysterical!

  • J. Williams

    ‘violent’ crime and ‘no threat’ are way too overused in this country. some people get breaks in this country- some do not. it’s not equitable (fair) across the board. depends on the person making the accusations, the officer who arrives on scene- and his investigation (or lack of), the area you’re arrested in- and how they view ‘you’, the prosecutor, and the defense attorney. after all that- you may, or may not, stand a chance. the justice system in America is more like a casino really.

  • Ticobird

    Thanks for telling your story Crissy especially in so cogent and well written

    It is long past time for the entire US as well as individual States to have a real conversation over what we expect to occur when we introduce a first time offender to our criminal justice system. We also should examine our reasons for continuing to imprison a whole lot people that will not benefit from prison and in fact are made into worse people because of it. If you beat a dog enough, will he not learn to cower?

  • timu2cool

    Welcome to the MACHINE.
    .What a backward ass state..Barney Fife must have been bored to the point of stupidity.