I got an amazing Christmas gift today; one wrapped in a big, fat, fluffy red bow. Okay, not really, but it might as well have been.
Back in early August, I was headed to work, traveling southbound on route 29. I always stay in the left lane past a certain point because I must make a left ahead, so that’s where I was. The traffic in the right lane was doing an estimated 70+ mph despite the 55 mph speed limit. Me and the traffic in the left lane? Well, apparently we were doing 77 mph. Yep, you can guess what happened. Me and the guy behind me got pulled over and were handed ugly 2 point, $160 fine speeding tickets. Argh.
Well, because of the 2 points (Hmm, and the $160!), I didn’t want to just pay this one. For this, I was going to try my luck in court before a judge.
Today was my day in court, and myself, along with 50 or so other speeding and traffic law violating criminals filed into Courtroom 301 to appear before Judge Harrington. If you’ve never been to traffic court, you’ve got to go sometime. Some of the stories people cook up are hilarious! One guy plead not guilty to a red light violation, claiming that the distance he traveled at 35 mph would have been covered in 0.2 to 0.3 seconds, so the officer’s judgment could have easily been wrong. He had laws memorized, and was basically quizzing the officer on his knowledge of the law. Yeah, he had to pay the full fine and got the point. Another guy had 4 points already, and was facing an additional 5 point penalty for his “35 mph over the speed limit” violation. As an aside, at 5 accumulated points, the MVA will call you in to discuss your record and may suspend your license. Additionally, your insurance company may raise your rates or cancel your policy altogether. This guy had already been to driving reform school, so the judge had no choice but to give him what I think was 2 points (may have been 3) and let him deal with his insurance company and the MVA. Another woman claimed there was no sign stating no left turn and no u-turn. Guess who else was found guilty and had to pay the fine? Mmm hmm.
Anyway, after sitting through approximately 20 pleas with various defendants and officers, I looked around the courtroom and noticed that there were no more officers to be found. As the judge and bailiff switched paperwork, I gathered from conversation that the final officer, which happened to be mine, is stuck in traffic. The judge then explained to the 30 or so of us left that the officer was expected at some time, but that they were unsure of when. The judge’s plan was to start going through the cases because he had another docket at 11:00 and he couldn’t afford a recess until the officer made it in – there just wasn’t enough time.
The judge then began calling defendants one-by-one in order of date of offense and subsequently dismissing their cases. Meanwhile, I’m saying a little prayer and hoping I’m called before the officer arrives. Luckily, mine was the 7th name called. I stepped up to the table, where the judge told me my case would be dismissed. I sat down and waited for my paperwork while the judge continued calling names and issuing dismissals. After being handed my paperwork, I proceeded to exit the courtroom along with two other gentlemen. Guess who walked in just as we were walking out? Our officer!!!
For the lucky 10 or so of us who got off … woohoo! I do feel bad for the 20 or so left behind, because their cases were heard by the judge after the officer’s arrival. As for me, I could kiss Santa for bringing me no fine and no points this Christmas! I believe, Santa! I believe!
This holiday season, I wish for you a gift from Santa just as special as mine. I hope you receive a simple resolve to something that’s been plaguing you, because ’tis the season for joy and cheer! Woohoo!