Moving Violation Meeting

000speedingMy blog title for today is another way of saying I went to Traffic Court last week.  My court appointment wasn’t until April 19th, and then that got delayed, but I wanted to get a feel for the place, get the lay of the land, and dip my toes in the judicial pond before that.

I was pleasantly surprised.

My SIL and I got lost, so we were a wee bit late on arrival, but no worries.  His honor was just finishing up with the putting on of his official robes when we walked in, all dewey-eyed and new to this gig and hoping to find a seat in the back where we could quietly and covertly observe.

But no! Instead, we were bottle-necked at the chambers door by none other than His Honor, himself.

Judge Understanding (not his real name, but how I see this man post-session), listened to us spill my concerns with the best of good humor. That’s right, we double teamed him!

Then we shared with him these facts:

Got a ticket!

No signs were posted.

How can ya do that?

Hoping for dismissal.

Want to observe tonight.

Getting our feel for how you do things here in teeny, tiny town America.

Is that okay with you?

It was.

His Honor said, “Sounds like you’re ready to present your case. Let’s do this tonight!”

Whoa….What??!!?!!

I wasn’t expecting that.  “Well, okay. Are you sure?”

“Look out there, ladies. We don’t exactly have a crowd tonight.”

He was right:  Three men, one woman is all; quick work for a seasoned judge, so we went with it.

Officer Paynin McBackside wasn’t there, which was just fine by me (that one’s a real sour puss!).

We sat.  We heard. Excuses.

Some lame. Others understandable.  Almost all looked defeated. One not. Fines levied anyway.  Next!

Man, did we love this guy! Judge Understanding is the best!!  Personable. Reasonable. Funny!!!  My kinda judge.

It was my turn (dun, dun, dun!!!) 

Not having Officer McBackside there helped with my stress levels.  Not having an uptight and unreasonable judge hearing my case helped even more. Having my buddy with me helped most of all.

No, wait, having my Friend in the Sky with me helped most of all!

I started.  I explained about no signs being posted in the area where I was “caught” speeding.  I was animated and passionate about the fact that I was the party that had been wronged by the state of NY, not the other way ’round.  I explained the only sign visible from my driving lane indicated a speed that was ten miles higher than what I was ticketed for and I showed His Honor pictures I had conscientiously taken in my defense.

That’s right, this girl comes to court ready!!!

His Honor kept the pictures and guess what?  He’s submitting them with a letter to the NYS authority, petitioning them to put up new signs.

So there, NYS!

His Honor agreed that I should not have gotten a ticket for that rate of speed.  Whew!  He agreed!!!

I did, however, get a speeding ticket.  [Insert frown-y face]

Nuts! 

Buttttt…it was much lower than it would have been.  Much lower!

So, Yay!

I am so happy to be putting this whole episode in my rear view mirror, as I slowly drive away from this time in my life.  Sooo happy!  Everything turned out for the best with traffic court.  Afterward, I felt good, my SIL felt good, His Honor seemed to feel good about doing good for me, and his assistant definitely felt good as I handed her my credit card!

Upon making my payment, teeny, tiny town America got a little more casheesh with which to build bridges and plug up potholes in the future.

I got two points on my license!

I also got a printed receipt from the court, plus I got to pay a $4.99 processing fee for using my credit card. What?  Again, I’m doing them a favor and I have to pay for it?  So not cool!

I wish instead of building speed traps on secondary roads these little burgs would sell scratchers and pay for their municipal projects that way.  I bet they would collect a whole lot more money, and maybe then they would leave the normal Janes on the road alone and let them get to their dentist appointments without stopping them and giving them a speeding ticket.

It’s not like I’m some speed demon, for crying out loud.  I’m a glamourous granna, don’t ya know?!

I did feel heard, respected, and helped last week in that teeny, tiny town America court so that’s something!

Have you ever gotten a speeding ticket?  Was your Honor honorable and fair?

 

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4 thoughts on “Moving Violation Meeting

  1. My last speeding ticket was in 1999. I was speeding and simply asked the police officer for any assistance he could offer. I did not have any other violations so when he came back to my car, he reduced the speed I was traveling and provided me documents so I could go to a class and get a “prayer for judgement” to nullify the insurance rate hike. It happened right in front of my clinic and I could have lied stating I had an emergency case waiting at the clinic. I just couldn’t do it; I was speeding and I would still have to live with myself after being untruthful. The police officer was fair with me and I was guilty and paid my fine. It’s much better to be truthful to oneself and accept the consequences for behaviors that we know are wrong (although in your case, it sounds like you really didn’t realize you were in violation of the speed limit.)

    • I agree, honesty is the best policy!

      I’ve never gotten a speeding ticket before this one. The Officer who pulled me over said I was doing 18 miles over the speed limit, but the judge agreed that because there were no signs for the lower speed visible from my driving lane, and the one that was visible had a speed 10 miles higher on it, that I was not as guilty as the officer purported me to be. When pulled over, I was moving along with the flow of the traffic in front of and behind me in what I like to call, and did call in the judge’s chambers, an “ambiguous zone” (coming off one road, onto another, and near a small village area where speeds are much lower, but not coming from/through the village prior to my ticketing). I had just crested a knoll when the Officer clocked me, which explains why my speed was a tad bit higher than it might otherwise have been. Still, I was not traveling any faster than those vehicles in front and behind me.

      I think I was the one who got stopped because I was the only PA driver (easy to identify because I don’t have a front plate on my car, as NYS drivers do). The arresting officer also mentioned that he was working with his supervisor in the car, which I thought was weird and felt translated to, “Sorry I have to do this to you, but my boss is with me today and, well, you know…”

  2. Like any field, the law is mixed with decent and not so decent people.

    I haven’t had a ST in quite a while. I once got one where because of the tire size on my jeep even though I had my cruise control set on a legal speed, I was over the limit. I explained this to the officer. He told me that he believed me, but technically I was still speeding so he had to ticket me, much like the decision in your case. He did tell me that he wished all people that he stopped were as nice as me! The most recent time I was stopped, I had an appointment and was late. Once I got off the main highway and was on a deserted country road, I took my supercar up to very high speeds. Within one minute I had a Sheriff behind me! After telling me to “Pull of the road!” and “Stay in the car!” with a very serious voice on his speakers, he came around to the passenger’s side. I took off my sunglasses as I rolled down the window. NICE CAR were his first words to me!! Followed by, “I’ve had a long night and I’m heading home, keep the speed down, okay?” I promised the kind officer that I would, and it’s years later, and I have kept that promise ever since!

    • Great story! Sounds like your car is a Sweet Ride and FUN to drive! I agree with you that not all troopers are of a miserly spirit, and I believe my ticket was due to a series of unfortunate events colliding. I kinda wish I had gone to trial after all now, because I wonder if the Officer would have shown up. If they don’t, the judge dismisses the ticket in NYS. I think this guy felt a tinge of guilt about ticketing me, but with his Supervisor riding along what’s a guy to do?

      Thanks for sharing your story, Dr. J. Oh, and by the way, I was over at your site last night, reading about sitting being the new smoking. My commuter and I were talking about it this morning on the way in to work. Great post! I need to walk around more during the day!

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