Traffic court is it’s own punishment

So, I got this outrageous traffic ticket last month. $364 for bail or $370 plus traffic school. You wanna know what I did wrong? A hollywood stop. For those of you who are not familiar with the term, allow me to explain. A hollywood stop (also known as a California stop) is when you either slow to such a speed that a person can jump out, tuck, roll and not be injured or that you can look both ways and proceed with caution. The thing is; it is a stop…but it’s not the kind of stop the cops like; which is when you roll back a little once you hit the brake. Anyhow, I came to a stop at a red light (but not the roll-back kind of stop) and I made a right hand turn (with a signal and everything)…which is perfectly legal at that intersection. Anyhow…I got pulled over by a sheriff and was issued a ticket. I was strong…I didn’t cry and I didn’t cash in on the “I’m an innocent young girl and I won’t ever do it again!*sob*” discount.

So yesterday morning I went to traffic court to try and get that fee lowered. I went there with a friend and we were in line by 7 am. The doors to the place hadn’t even opened. The line was already half way down the block and people were cranky. The doors finally opened and we went through the metal detectors and had a little pat-down. *shiver* That wasn’t so fun.
The windows opened at around 9 and we were finally sitting in the court by 9:30. I was finally heard at 11. By that time my head was space-bound and I was so ready to get out of there. And I thought I had recited in my head what I was going to say that you’d think I would have come up with something brilliant. No such luck. I said about five words…

Judge: “Do you understand your rights”
Me- word number one: “yes”
Judge: “What is your plea?”
Me-words three and four: “Traffic school”
Judge: “Ok.” *gives me sentance of $329 and traffic school* “Is that all you have to say?”
Me-words five through seven: “Yes, thank you.”

And I was out of there. My friend looked at me after we walked out of the court and asked “Why didn’t you go with guilty, get another date and see if the cop didn’t show?”
As I thought about it later, I wasn’t sure why I went with what I did. After I finally got back to work, the $41 dollars I had saved myself was lost in the hours I missed at work. I didn’t get back to the office until 2pm. I lost 7 hours…that’s $70! So all in all, that stupid traffic ticket cost me not only $329, it also cost me whatever traffic school is going to cost; another day of work which is about $100; and then the $70 I lost going to traffic court. Plus, I felt really bad that my friend waited around for me the whole time, so I took him out to one of his favorite breakfast places (that was $23); then finally, because both my parents took their own vehicles to work and thus, both Fast tracks…I also paid the $3 bridge toll. So it was a very expensive day.
Or, perhaps I should say…it was a very expensive lesson.
I’m not even going to go into some of the excuses I heard people giving the judge. (“My doctor told me I have 3 months to live!” No joke, that was an excuse someone gave…did they have a doctor’s note? “No..he’s out of town…right now.” Uh-huh…suuuure he is.)

P.S. I can’t wait to play tennis today. I’ll probably feel better after I hit something. 🙂

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