Tuesday, February 2, 2010
I spent my Monday morning in the company of car thieves, wife beaters, drunkards and cops. I was the only non-cop who was not in shackles. And all of this Monday morning fun was brought into my life because I got caught driving double the speed limit.
Sounds pretty bad huh? Are you worried about my reckless behavior? Do you think i got what i deserved because I was going so darn fast my license should be revoked??
Hell to the no. I was only going 49mph.....and I was not in a school zone. I was in a "Chief of police lives near here so there is an unnecessary speed limit of 25" zone....or so the cop told me.
Well anyways there is a bit more to the story. The ticket was annoying, but no big deal really except for the fact that i was required to make a mandatory court appearance "because of the severity of my infraction"
I thought i would just show up to traffic court get a slap on the wrist and then pay my fine and be on my way. I showed up early (like 40 minutes early) because i wanted to be the first one to plead my case so that I could get on my way and get back to my office for a mid-morning meeting. I was indeed the first one there so I signed in and waited in the hall. I saw a bailiff/sheriff/ cop type walking the halls so i politely asked if I was allowed to leave to get a coffee once i signed in. I may or may not have also mentioned that i had a meeting and wanted to get out of this places ASAP but anyways what happened next was funny/ sad/ and kind of exciting all at the same time.
This cop/sheriff/bailiff must have sensed the drama queen within me because he arranged for me to bypass traffic court and sit in "with the prisoners" so that my case could be heard earlier and I could get on my way. Little did he know he was without a doubt also supplying me with great blog material and a new dramatic story to tell everyone i knew.
Sweet! This was so much cooler than traffic court!
I took my seat on a bench for non-felons in the back of the small court room. I watched as the prisoners slowly filed in one-by-one. No shoe laces, messy hair, handcuffs - the works. The judge called the first guy up. A red headed guy that i would guess to be 20 at the most. The judge stared him down then said in these exact words " you just lovvvvve those 4-runners don't you!" the boy was pretty much silent until he plead guilty. He was a car thief. But he looked nice so i sort of felt bad for him. He was in so much trouble (4th degree felony, five months in jail kind of trouble) and there wasn't a soul there to support him. Maybe there shouldn't have been. He did a really bad thing and I guess if my car was stolen I would definitely want the person to pay. But seeing this real person - heading to jail for real was just sad. What a waste.
Then there was the next prisoner....this time a woman. She was probably 30-35 and she had been put in jail only the day before for drunk and disorderly conduct. When she approached the bench the judge looked at her with disgust and said "uhhhhhhh you still smell like a brewery! How much did you have to drink"....the woman said in a somewhat respectful tone - "actually i think i am fine now." I think this guy wanted to be Judge Judy. Drunk lady got a large fine and probation, but she was released to go. Her mom came to pick her up.
Then came wife beater.
I didn't feel bad for this guy one bit. Any loser that beats up women deserves what is coming to him. I thought the judge would agree, especially since he was a repeat offender. Somehow - this was the guy who had his fine reduced and he was given some sort of deal where he could do house arrest if he paid his $300 fine by April first. What the hell? I just hope the wife he was beating will not be living in that house he will be confined to if he cant come up with that chump change amount. What is wrong with our system? and with the people who do things like this? and the judge who was making it easy on this guy of all people? But all of that is beside the point
Next came the real criminal!!!! First class trouble maker....
The judge asked me what I had done. I knew what to say because pat and I practiced the night before, but now after sitting through the other testimonies I knew that this could go either way. Was I going to get a snide remark? or would i be in more trouble than i anticipated? Those thoughts aside, i reverted to the planned script and i pulled the ticket from my purse(Yeah i brought the purse to the stand....that car thief kid might like purses too - you never know) and handed it over to the judge. Unlike the others I started explaining what i had done wrong. How i had never been on the road i was ticketed on before, I didn't know it was only 25.....i'm really sorry blah, blah, blah.....and before i could finish he told me to "slow down" and gave me $25 plus court fees.
There is a verdict that will get me the opposite of street cred. But i was glad to have it.
Its kind of funny that i had an apology and more to say for myself about a speeding ticket than all of these other people combined, I knew i was wasting these people's time and i knew that i had broken the law a little bit and i felt bad. EIther that or maybe my drama queen self wanted to make themost of "my day in court." In the end $25 plus court fees sounded like a deal for what i had done. Well that was short lived because court fees are more than you would think and it ended up being a $150 mistake. Not the end of the world.....but annoying. ESPECIALLY when you consider that (fine wise) that makes me half as bad as the wife beater.
Speeding does not equal 50% wife beater in my mind.... but since some courts disagree, i think i will avoid this in the future, go the speed limit, and spend my $150 more wisely. What a crock right?
Oh well, lesson learned. Blog written. Dramatic story told.