First it was the red light and speed cameras, now it’s your cell phone. In reality, another tax... and they're all for your own good. (Or at least the city's good.)
As you know by now, you're not allowed to talk on your cell phone without a hands-free device while driving. If a you're caught, your first offense is $100.00 and your second offense is $200.00. More money for Mayor Marty, more money for the City Council, less money for you. Remember we're adding this to the over $5 MILLION that has already been taken in by the Red Light Camera Program (a.k.a. Marty's Money Makers).
Mayor Chavez and the administration love to tout Albuquerque's recent ranking in Fortune Five Hundred Magazine. We just wonder... do you think that when the administration was schmoozing the folks at Forbes they told them about the increasing cost of simply moving from place to place? Probably not.
On to more important matters... What to do if you're pulled over. Remember, you're allowed to make emergency phone calls without a hands free device.
Here are a few helpful suggestions:
1. I think I left the oven on.
2. I forgot to lock the front/back door.
3. My child is sick at school.
4. I can’t make it to pick up my child/children.
5. My dog ate my homework?
Ok... we know that's a bit crazy. However, the City has to prove you were not conducting an emergency phone call and a Law Enforcement Officer does not have the right to check your phone without a search warrant. Federal Law protects your cell phone records and the City has no legal authority to interfere or have access to them. Quite a quandary for the prosecution and for the city. If you claim you are using your phone for emergency purposes how do they prove you were not?
Now, most honest law abiding taxpayers will go ahead and cop to the "offense," and pay the tax... uh, fine. Now if you happen to be on an "emergency" call...
Remember, the system was overloaded with taxpayers challenging the red light and speed camera citations and over 1,000 were dismissed. Who knows what could happen?