Wednesday, October 7, 2009

3 days or $135

So, a little history here, I got a speeding ticket about a month ago. Just a little one. 13 miles over the limit (53 in a 40) and the officer marked it down to 5 over. The real story is that I saw the cop way up in front of me and checked my speed. I was going between 40 and 43 miles per hour (no more than that). I was completely surprised to see the cop pull out behind me and flip his lights on (there was other cars that pulled over as well to let the cop through, when he stopped behind me, I was pissed).

I, of course went to court and contested the ticket. Today was my court date. I got to the court pretty early (I wanted to get a feel for the "judge" - he was really just a court officer). Let's just say that after 10 minutes I knew I would not get far with this guy. Let me recap: he took away one guys keys because he was driving with a suspended license (the guys swears he got all the paperwork in) and then the "judge" threatened to arrest the guy if he did not hand over his keys. He basically screamed at a big rig driver that he was stupid for getting a ticket and that there was nothing he could do for him, it was going on his record and that he would not even offer him traffic school. There was a lady that barely spoke English that he intimidated into paying the full fine and going to traffic school when she originally said she did not want traffic school. He was nice to the two 18 year old girls that came in and both got their fine reduced and like three months to get traffic school done (1 had kids and it would be hard to get to traffic school, the other did not have a job so she got 3 months before she even had to pay her 1st payment on her fine).

I looked down at myself and noticed that I was not a young girl. I am screwed. When it was my turn I got up and tried my best to be polite, but this guy was a jerk. He told me I was going to pay the whole fine and to sign the sheet under guilty and that I waive my rights. I then told him that I would not do that and gave him my explanation of what happened. He said if I wanted to plead not guilty just tell him. I told him that I would not be taking this to trial, because the officer has his report and that will be believed over me. The guy basically said that I was right so I might as well just sign the guilty line and pay my fine. I told him that I wanted to make a plea in abeyance - which means that I will not say I am guilty, and then throw myself at the mercy of the court. I asked for community service which he answered with a, "I am not authorized to give that out." He told me my total fine was $135. I asked him what the jail time would be if I did not want to pay the fine, he said, "that would be three days, and if you take that option, I will make sure you serve all three days."

I decided to go with the plea in abeyance.

I paid my $135 and I still have to traffic school in November, but when I am done, the ticket will be dismissed and life will go back to normal. I was not a happy camper as I left.

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