Everything was going fine, the tour kicking into gear after a couple of months winter break. The previous show had been awesome, with over 100 people in attendance. We were off to Sturgis South Dakota to play to a crowd of 250 plus. We were about 3 hours from the gig when a routine traffic stop turning into a waking nightmare with a lingering felony conviction looming in the background and 3 days in jail completely unavoidable.
The GPS had lead us off the beaten path and onto a minor highway to save time leaving Wyoming. It should have been fine. We had plenty of time to spare. Sadly no speed limit signs were posted, and we ignorantly assumed the speed limit to be be 75 mph, as it commonly is throughout the Midwest. After a couple of miles a State Trooper crossed our path, rolling in the opposite direction. He evidently scanned us doing 10 over in a 65 zone.
The cop, who seemed like a real sweetheart for the entire ordeal, was polite and gave no more than a warning ticket before the trouble started. The trouble took the form of a vast selection of seemingly meaningless questions, separate interrogations outside of the car, and body searches. Soon we were to meet 3 more cop cars along with a K-9 unit and a local pickup who's departmental affiliation we were never able to determine.
During the course of things Scot managed to get the tour lawyer on the phone, a former District Attorney of a major Californian city (and a definite legal bad ass) to grab some advice, but it ended up being a futile attempt.
After about an hour of questioning in the cold Wyoming snow, the drug dog (a real fucker!) showed up and sniffed out the Just Another Hangover Tour Stash. Bracelets fell on all three tour members immediately, and we were all of us shuffled off to jail.
Wyoming State Law considers anything up to three ounces of grass to be a misdemeanor. Supposable if the pot in the car had been claimed during the stop and handed over the whole ordeal would have simply resulted in a small fine and the cops sending us on our way. The problem was, none of us knew that, and none of us has any idea how much three ounces of pot is. Fucking metric system! The prospect of a felony charge involving interstate drug trafficking loomed on all three tour members as we sat separated in the local jail, assholes clenched.
Being a Friday, and after 5 pm, we were unable to see a bond judge until mid-day Monday. We had other things on our mind as they checked us into jail, a process that took several hours, due in no small part to the fact that the State Troopers were now required to search and inventory the entire car. This is no small task, as we have the entire lives of 3 full grown American adults (two of them degenerate evil pot heads) delicately compacted into the space of a Volkswagen Jetta. So, as the Troopers removed door panels, inventoried our selection of electronics, stack upon stack of dirty, dirty! pornography, and of course, an unknown amount of marijuana.
We sat waiting, and hoping to god that the pigs didn't find more than 3 ounces
Several irritating hours later the cop returned to inform us that we were in fact being charged with possession, and wanted statements. All of us have seen enough cop drama's to know to lawyer up and shut up, which while generally a good idea, left us at a loss for information.
Oddly, the State Troopers, the correctional officers, and pretty much everyone involved in the process, was almost apologetic about the whole ordeal, allowing us to choose books from the jail library, make excess phone calls to get in touch with the gig, our booker... Odder still, the Jail Library held a copy of Lolita.
Hours after booking the jail, due to overcrowding, put all three tour members in the same general population cell, with about 7 other inmates. Upon admittance Jeremy immediately asked "So where's the pussy at in this joint?" He then took to screaming about Attica, and wondering where it all went wrong. Jeremy, for the record, is the only member of the tour who does not use marijuana.
Converse County Jail, is pretty nice as far as jails go, with not only 14 hours a day of Cable TV, but also HBO and Cinemax. The first night we watched Sylvester Stallone in Cobra, which we assume was part of the punishment. The next day the guards informed us that they had looked us up on You Tube, and enjoyed the wide variety of pot jokes we carelessly have posted all over the Internet.
2 days later, after Scot and Ritchie had put on an impromptu and hilarious show for the inmates, resulting in a noise complaint from the guards due to excessive laughter after lights out, it was time to face the music. We were all still worried about a felony charge. After being put in leg irons we finality got to see the Judge, a man who it became quickly apparent has no sense of humor what-so-ever. He was half way through a lecture on the evils of Mary Jane, before Scot stopped him to remark that Jeremy doesn't smoke marijuana, appealing for his charge to dropped, and informing the court that we had never seen in writing, the charges against us.
The humorless judge was immediately flustered and proceedings ground to a halt while the DA showed us a copy of the citation, and it was decided that this might be a good time for the judge to leave the room, so we could work out a deal with the prosecutor. He, like just about everyone else involved, was informative, non judgmental, and very helpful . He immediately dropped Jeremy's charge, and offered probation with a small fine to Richie and Scot...
We called a quick comedy huddle, and decided to take the deal. The DA (who at this point might as well be our defense attorney considering how helpful he had been) left to talk to the judge through the thin walled room next door, and we heard arguing. Things began to look bad again. We waited.
The idea of probation had been thwarted by the Judge, due to the fact that we were to soon leave the state. While we don't know exactly what transpired, we do know the ultimate outcome: The prosecutor returned to tell us that the deal had fallen through, and in exchange offered us an even sweeter deal. Jeremy's charge was dismissed, pain and simple. Scot and Ritchie, were offered the stiff penalty of no fines, no probation, take a walk and don't fuck up again in any drug related way for 6 months, and it all goes away. This time Team Funny didn't need a humor huddle, we took the deal.
Less than an hour later we were back on the street, buying breakfast, and smokes for Jeremy who had been suffering from delirium tremors due to lack of nicotine. We then promptly marched a mile in the Wyoming snow to reclaim the car.
Much to our surprise the car was, despite an intensive search, basically put back the way we left it, and nothing had been stolen. After donating two ice cold beers and a variety of hardcore pornography to the impound lot attendant we were back on the road. Within an hour we disposed of a suspicious looking bag of vacuum-sealed pot cookies that we were pretty sure the cops had planted in the trunk, and made a hasty exit from the state. 3 gig's had been missed, but a felony conviction had been avoided, so we scored it a draw.
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