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Police welcome man to Charleston with traffic fines

One of the last things you want to happen when you're in an unfamiliar city is get hit with a traffic citation. Not only are they costly, but they must be paid in the area where you receive them. If you go home and forget about it, this legal situation can get complicated in a hurry.

An out-of-state man was recently welcomed to South Carolina in not-so-hospitable fashion. When he arrived at Charleston International Airport, he said that a police officer there caught him taking photos of a jumbo jet on his iPhone. The man claims the officer threatened to destroy his phone and then accused him of a handful of traffic violations. The man now must return to Charleston to fight what he considers bogus citations.

The Charleston County Aviation Authority police chief said that the man did commit traffic violations in his efforts to photograph the airplane. Police said the man could not furnish proof of insurance after he was caught making an illegal U-turn and going the wrong way on a one-way road. He did have some proof of insurance but not current information.

The man was hit with a $445 fine for careless driving and $237 fine for failing to have an updated insurance card available. The police chief sided with his officer and said he did nothing wrong. He said the officer reacted appropriately when he spotted the man violating rules of the road.

He also said that police must be sensitive in this post-9/11 era to individuals who are taking photos of what could be considered sensitive material.

Meanwhile, the recipient of the citations contends that he was merely a confused tourist who was minding his own business and doing nothing wrong.

Motorists do not have to simply accept a ticket. They can fight it just like any other criminal charge. This may be tough for individuals who do not reside in an area where they received the ticket.

Source: The Post and Courier, "Ticketed tourist says airport encounter very unfriendly," Glenn Smith, Jan. 31, 2013

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