The Back Story
January of 2011, yes well over a year ago, coming back from Las Vegas NAB at 1am I needed gas. A cop was pulling out of the gas station trying to take a left, I slowed down to let him out. (Being nice doesn’t pay… wait for it…)
After I pumped my gas I took a left out of the gas station just as the cop had done 7 minutes before. Suddenly, lights and a siren.
He busted me for taking a left on a no left turn.
“But.. You.. And.. Left.. And I.. Let you in.. And…”
“Whatever, here is your ticket. Have a nice day!”
A year later I suddenly remembered that ticket and went to the Pasadena Courthouse to pay. “You owe $900.” What?!!
Apparently they had scheduled a court date, never told me, I missed it and thus the extra fine.
I told them I would pay the original fine right then and there. “Nope, your court date is now June 6, 2012” (a year and 1/2 after the original ticket)
So now what you wanted:
TIPS FOR WHEN YOU GET A TICKET:
- Don’t Be Early Seems like you’d want to be early. Not so much. I had an 8:15am appearance, I got there at 7:45. The court doors didn’t open until 8:15 we all filed in- no line, no order. Nothing. From 8:30am- 9:15am they did 3 roll calls. By 9:30am the roll call was closed and no one else was allowed in. So the lesson, get there by 9:00/9:15 you’ll be fine.
- Don’t Dress Nice I wore a suit. I was the only one. Most people had on jeans and a T-Shirt. Surely the judge would kick these people out, teach them a lesson about manners and respect? Nope. In fact, those who were dressed poorly seemed to be able to talk down their fines more. One girl had on running shorts and a t-shirt- she talked her no insurance, no headlight, no registration fine down to $25 and out she went. (And no, the judge was not male)
- Plead “Not Guilty“ This means you’ll have to come back another day- but over and over again cases were dismissed because the police officer did not show up.
So what did I do? I plead “Guilty!” Why? Well, interesting story…
After waiting 3 hours (See: Don’t Be Early) I was all set to take my case to the next level and explain (If the officer actually showed up) how he took the same left, how the car in front of me did a left, how it was 1am in a place I have never been, I never saw the signs.. etc..
Suddenly a well dressed blues player looking 80 year old man stepped up proceeded by a cop who looked familiar. (But I am AWFUL at remembering faces. If I haven’t met you at least 10 times chances are I won’t remember your face.) The cop began explaining the location… Hey this sounds familiar.. He explained it was a gas station… And the defendant made a left and… HEY WAIT- THIS IS THE SAME COP PULLING THE SAME CRAP WITH THIS OLD GUY!!
The defendant explained how he didn’t see the sign, and that it was early morning and no one was on the road…
The judge didn’t care. GUILTY!
I have seen my future, it didn’t look good.
I had to plead guilty, as even if I came back with a great argument, this cop has done this same scam many many times and wins. it wasn’t worth it to spend another morning in court and risk the chance of not being able to go to traffic school and take this ticket off my record.
The same I wanted to pay 6 months ago but they wouldn’t let me. $248 + $64 for traffic school.
Why they wouldn’t let me pay when I offered instead of making me waste a morning in court and the tax payers money? Beats me.
And you wonder why our court systems are a mess and California has no money.