Thursday, July 31, 2008

Little old lady from Pasadena

or I fought the law and no one won.

A few of my loyal readers asked about the counter I had on the sidebar. I had it up for 3 months. Here's why:

I was driving Ryan to work the first week in April. He had missed his bus and we were trying to catch it. Traffic was really light and it looked like I was just going to drive him the entire way. I should have slowed down, but I didn't. And I got caught going 45 in a 30mph zone. Idiot.

The guy had pulled someone over on the other side of the street and then u-turned to get me. He wrote me a ticket for going 40, although the fine is the same. I had not been able to find my license at home so I went without it. A smarter person would have been even more careful, but not me. He did not ask for my insurance and although I had it in my lap, I was too rattled to give it to him without him prompting me. He wrote me tickets for speeding, no license, and no proof of insurance. He also said that I was alone in the car. Maybe Ryan was borrowing Harry Potter's invisibility cloak. I was really pissed at myself. Great way to start the day.

And Ryan said that just as I pulled away, the cop pulled someone else over.

I went to the Municipal Courts building a few weeks later. I checked in and went to the courtroom. The bailiff checked everyone in and made everyone sit in these wooden pews and spent the entire time yelling for everyone to move together and move up when a space opened up. For two hours. I had a book, but I ended up mostly observing. The woman next to me kept asking if she was going to have to pay her fine that evening (this was after 6:30PM). I can't remember the whole story, but she was going to get her car's inspection and registration because it had been repossessed and she got stopped. That helped put my situation in perspective.

At about 8, I got called up to the judge and showed him my license and insurance card, so he threw out those tickets. He asked me how I wanted to plead on the speeding charge. I could have fought it and asked for a hearing with the cop and gambled that he wouldn't show (and they would throw it out), or I could plead no contest and ask for deferred disposition/adjudication. Since it was my 1st speeding ticket ever and not the first time I'd sped, I figured I needed to do it. The judge asked me if I understood the terms (keep your nose clean for 90 days) and then sent me out in the hall to wait for my paperwork.

After a while, they brought my paperwork out and I went to the cashier. There were two lines--one was farther away and much shorter. I went over there to see if there was some reason I could not wait in an outrageously long line. Apparently not. I got up to the cashier and paid for court costs and fine--much less than the tickets would have been and much less if it didn't go on my driving record and insurance. So, I had from 4/28-7/28 to be good. It wasn't a bad thing to be more conscious of speed and such.

So, the night before I'm scheduled to go back, I am re-reading the paperwork and it's getting less and less clear to me. And of course, it was Sunday night so no one was there to call.

Riddle me this Batman, do I need to go to court if:

  1. They tell me my case is deferred until a certain date, time, and location (bold and underlined in magic marker)
Turns out "no return" means I no return. I can obviously see how they could mean that, but it's not completely clear, especially when they emphasize when and where I need to return.

I'm getting ahead of myself. I just showed up on Monday morning and the guy at the check-in desk acted like I'm stupid and illiterate. "No return" means no return. Yes, but I am a native English speaker and if you put it in a clause with "no refunds" I assume it's related to that. Not to mention the date, time, & location they made sure to remind me of before. He also said that I should have called because they threw out the charge on 7/11. OK. I assume they're going to send me something?

I was out $3 and 20 minutes because I decided to drive. I could have taken the bus but I was running late. Well, I thought that I was running late.

So, my driving record is squeaky clean!

P.S. And for anyone who knows about Houston, I don't actually live in Pasadena.


shoeaddict said...

What a big 'ole headache.

Kate said...

I'll feel better once I have something in writing that it's all over. But mostly I'm glad it's done. It was good for my driving. ;)

Alli said...

Whew. What a relief that that's all over, huh?

And LOL at not living in Pasadena. I think it's funny that you feel the need to make it clear that you don't live there. ;)

Zolafan said...

"NO REFUNDS AND NO RETURN"? Well, now we know you're obviously not a glass bottle.

Good job keeping your nose clean, probation violations are no fun...

BTW, Pasadena, CA (the place Jan and Dean were singing about) >>>>>> Pasadena, TX.

Kate said...

Alli, I figured there would be about three people who wouldn't just think of CA and the song. ;) I did interview for a job there and glad I didn't get it if only because it would have been a really long drive.

Zolafan, I didn't think of it that way, but you're totally right--it's like a glass bottle.