Wednesday, February 2, 2011

The One With Traffic Court

Happy February, everyone! I finally took all of my Christmas decorations down today, and the living room is looking bright and cheerful and decidedly not Christmasy.

You guys? I have a confession to make. Back in December, I got a ticket. Not for speeding (stop pretending to be shocked), but because my tag was expired. I'd had my inspection done, but the tag wasn't up to date. It cost less than $50 to do, but every month, it literally came down to "Am I going to buy insulin this month, or am I going to update my tag?" After I got the ticket, D paid for the tag for me. So now I'm good until July.

So anyway, I got this ticket back in December and I had to wait until yesterday for my court date. I've gotten tickets before. Not including this last one (which wasn't actually a ticket, per se, but a citation), I've had 3 tickets. My very first one was for making a right on red when the sign said not to, and the other ones were speeding tickets. (For some reason, I don't ever remember to slow down a little around the holidays when the cops are out in FULL FORCE.)

Any time I've gotten a ticket in the past, I've just paid it and the court costs. The first one, I got an hour and a half from home, the second was about two and a half hours from home, and the third was about an hour from home. It was better for me to just pay them, because I was working full time at the time and didn't have the time to drive to the county where I got the ticket to appeal it. And I haven't, until December, had a ticket since 2009.

Since I'm not working full time currently, I had the time to go to court yesterday. The ticket said to be at the courthouse at 7:45 (A.M.!!), so we set out about half an hour before that and, blessedly, made it on time.

Up until this point, I'd been freaking out. Whenever I get pulled over, I cry. Not because I think it'll help my case, but because I can't help it. I cry when I get the least bit stressed out, not because I'm sad or upset, but just because that's what happens. And believe me, it does not endear me to anyone. (Clearly, considering my ticket history.) I was worried I'd get up in front of a judge and be like, "I. . .um. . .I wanted to see if I could. . .get. . .mercy of the court?" and then I'd cry.

I'd cry while explaining why I hadn't done it, I'd cry while explaining that I'd had it done the next day because someone had paid for it for me, and I'd cry when they told me to stop crying.

So I dressed professionally, trying not to look like someone that did stuff like this all the time. I looked it up online, trying to figure out what was going to happen, trying to prepare myself to be cuffed and thrown to the ground if I didn't answer a question properly. I put a book in my bag in case I was waiting a long time. (Granted, I don't think pulling out a book in court would have been the smartest thing I'd ever done, but I like to be prepared.) I also put a granola bar in my bag in case it took a long time and my blood sugar went low.

I'm pretty much freaking out on the trip over there, and going through the security station didn't help. The wand beeped on me (like it always does) and I explained to the guard that it was an insulin pump. Nothing else made it go off, but I had a Sarah Moment when I couldn't get the belt on my jacket untied because I was wearing gloves. Then I tried taking one of the gloves off, but apparently, it's also difficult to untie a belt with one free hand.

Then I got in line.

There was a line of about 25 people in front of me when I got there. I checked in and got in line behind this guy who was probably 3 or 4 years younger then me, dressed to the nines in a suit and tie. He looked nervous. I knew the feeling.

I watched people get their name called and go up to the DA and get directed into a courtroom. Some other people got a court date of March 1 when they had to come back, and I was trying to figure out the rhyme and reason behind the people who got sent into the courtroom and the people who had to come back next month.

Finally, it was my turn (and actually, I say finally, but this whole process probably took 10 to 15 minutes). I gave my citation to the DA with visions of crying in front of judges and trying to explain myself to mean-looking police officers. He asked if I had proof of getting the tag updated. I handed that to him.

Then he said, "OK, charges have been dismissed. Have a wonderful day."



No court? No judge? No sloppily running mascara rolling down my face? Nothing going on my permanent record and having potential employers say, "Oh, I see you didn't update your license plate at the end of 2010. Sorry. Next!"

That was it.

I walked out into downtown and called D to tell him I was done.

And instead of going to jail, we went to McDonald's.

And that's my story. I guess I'm now an ex-con. I should go get a tattoo of barbed wire around my arm.

1 comment:

  1. I'm glad it was dismissed! Nice!

    McDonalds is a good choice.