Friday, January 23, 2009

At least they didn't arrest me

I got a speeding ticket last month. I was doing 19 over the limit in a zone that changes speed 3 times, 2 while going down hill. Not that that is an excuse. I drive that road often enough that I know the limit goes down halfway down the hill. I drive often enough with children having hysterics that their lollipop fell on the floor, that it shouldn't distract me from slowing down on the hill. But sometimes events overtake us and we find ourselves noticing a police car off to the side ahead of us, instinctively look down at the speedometer, hit the brakes just seconds too late and  SHIT! those blue lights are for us.

This is hardly my first speeding ticket. I'm not trying out for NASCAR or anything but every 3 years, give or take, I get a ticket. Usually for for going too fast in a 35 or 45 zone because I fail to notice the limit changed. Since nearly all my tickets occur around where I live, this is solely due to failure to pay attention on my part and in nearly every case I willingly  'admit my guilt' by mailing in the ticket with a check for my fine.  I see no point in trying to play gotcha with the cops at the courthouse asking about when the radar gun was last tested or calling the legality of the zone into question or hoping the cop won't turn up to testify (unless he is sick or there is something bad going down nearby, he'll be there). I was speeding & I got caught.

I have a slight learning disability with numbers. I see them backwards initially & unless I take focused time & double check, I write them down backwards. Sometimes even then I get them wrong, especially if it is more than 2 digits long.  I looked at my court date & in my memory it was Jan 12 at 1:30. Then we went on vacation & I forgot to order a new wall calendar and it slipped my mind, until the 12th when I remembered, dug out the ticket & saw with relief it was actually Jan 22. I made a note to go pay the fine after the 15th.

But I never did.

So yesterday I am in the car, headed into town to run some errands & see my OB. I'm just started listening to a new Stephanie Plum mystery & the book starts with her explaining she is bounty hunter working for a bail bondsman & tracks down people who miss their court dates.

Court. dates. SHIT!

Ok, I think, it's only noon, my court time isn't until 1:30 & I am only 10 minutes from home, turn around, get the ticket, call for the fine, swing by the bank & then go pay it. Should be done by 1 at the latest.

Except my court time was 9:30am

Now I'm starting to worry a bit. I didn't show & I didn't pay the fine. What are they going to do to me? Put out a warrant? Suspend my license? Will they tack on court costs, making it a $300+ ticket? Will they arrest me if I turn up to pay the fine? I know they will take my license right then if it's suspended.  How will I get home?  Who'll meet the kids' bus?  Should I even bother going in today or wait until Monday when DH can come with me? DH is away on business, he won't be back until tomorrow. No one I know can meet my kids' bus because they are meeting their own kids' busses. If they arrest me should I not even bother wasting the phone call & just tell the police to have CPS pick my kids up at the end of school?

The more rational part of my brain is telling me that I'm just looking at a huge fine, they only do that other stuff to people who have a history of vehicular citations. But the panicy part is saying "A ticket every 3 or so years regularly over a period of 25 years IS a history of vehicular citations. And remember the time you rear ended the handicapped school bus on the icy road going 5MPH? It was a decade or so ago but it's in your records. You are a danger to society.

I'm driving in to town, on hold with the court house (just racking up offenses here, though I had a hand's free set & had dialed before getting on the road), trying to find out what they are going to do with me and never reach anybody, while all this is going through my head. I get $300 out of the bank & go to the courthouse. The cops at the scanner say "Smile. It's a good day" and I smile because it's been drummed into me that by not smiling I am the rude person, not the person who demands a total stranger change their expression for no obvious reason other than their own pleasure. (anyone else find that odd?) They joke with me about leaving my hand grenades in the car, which shocks me because I didn't think they were allowed to joke about things like that (though maybe that is just the TSA). Apparently that is ok but not me taking a picture of their sign


must be taken out of your pockets


So I could sent it to the Blog of Unnecessary Quotations.

I get in the fine paying line & stand for 20 minutes, listening while the 2 cases in front of me get their licenses suspended and one of the clerks is being told off on the phone by someone who had been on hold longer than I had.   I'm still trying to work out who to call to come & take me home so I can at least meet the kids' bus  and suddenly it's my turn. The clerk says she'll have to check if I have a fine or am on remand. Remand? That means they'll arrest me right? What, no suspending first? Back she comes, apologizing because she thought I was someone else with the same last name. I just have a fine, no court costs even. 2 points on my license & here's a list of safe driving classes to take to get one of the points removed, have a nice day.

So then I drove home at exactly the speed limit because the fine took all my 'fun money' & I couldn't go shopping. But at least they didn't arrest me.


Rachael Giallongo said...

LOL..... great story.... I was on the edge of my seat!

Lucrecia said...

This could so happen to me these days!!

Is this your first Stephanie Plum book? I've read them all - love them!

Lisa C. said...

girl.. i was just in traffic court yesterday.. hated it.. lol.. i am a speeder... unfortunately and do get them often, but i just prepay.. have no time to be going to court.. mine are usually a few miles over the limit though... have never broken 15 over.. :)

but i'm glad everything worked out..

Wookies Mama said...

I've never been pulled over thank goodness. Everyone has a speed racer in them, dying to get out.

Glad you only had to pay a fine.

Jenni Jiggety said...

I am so glad you didn't land in the slammer! would have made a good blog post if you did! I'm just sayin'...

Too Many Hats said...

Great story - you really can carry a logical point a long way :)

So glad they did not haul you off to the pokey and place your kids in protective custody.

Doré said...

I'm glad to hear everything worked out okay. I haven't had a ticket in awhile... I'm sure my time is coming!

Thanks for your well wishes for Brayden. I really appreciate it!

Eve said...

Yikes, what a story! I am glad it turned out ok though and you were not forced to blog behind bars!! LOL

barb said...

I'm sorry you got busted, but it made for a great story!

Mary Moore said...

Man, I hate it when that happens. I have a great speeding ticket story too, but I'll share it with everyone one day on my site.

Yours was good, very good!

Sucks that you now have no $$ to go shopping...

Charming Lamb said...


I'm so glad Texas doesn't deal in 'points'. A good arrest story would have been a riot! Of course, then you'd have to 'splain that to the boys. Not!

Karlana said...

OMG, I'd crap my pants in that situation if I had went through all that. But at least you walked away not having to spend time behind bars that are so bare!

Just to let you know, I left you an award for you on my blog!

Paula Constable said...

Oh man, my heart was racing for you. I've done that-where I completely spaced on something.

Daisy said...

And January is the worst time to have something like that happen! That switch of the calendar; it's the worst.

Creative Junkie said...

omg, I was laughing at the part about you photographing the "everything" sign.

I've been stopped twice but I've never gotten a ticket, thank God. My husband, on the other hand, is another story entirely and I won't even get into THAT lest I want to make this Monday morning even crappier than it is.