Remember a month or so ago when I got that terrible, horrible, no good, very bad ticket?
Well this morning, I went to court to fight the power!!! I dressed up and everything. I’m not proud to tell you this, but it was the first time since Saturday that I put on makeup and pants with a waist band.
I got up extra early since traffic can be a little tricky driving out to the city where I received said ticket, and I didn’t want to be late for court!
I arrived a good 45 minutes early after hunting around for the court building for a while. My GPS and the navigation on my phone both took me to an address that was definitely not there.
I eventually pulled over and called the number on my ticket for directions. The court is secretly hidden on the street adjacent to the street on the address.
Sneaky. I believe this is a conspiracy to keep people from fighting the power. After all, if you can’t get there, you can’t fight it. True story.
So, once I found the secret location, I sat in the parking lot for a bit drinking my coffee and watching police officers move cars from one parking space to another. Because that’s an effective use of civil servant time.
I also formulated my story—which actually happens to be the truth—but I get nervous in these scenarios so I had to get my talking points together.
I recently moved back to Michigan from Virginia, and I was driving in an area that I wasn’t familiar with. On a 4 lane divided highway, I wasn’t looking for a bus, since it’s not really a safe area for children to be boarding a bus. As a former schoolteacher, I promise you that I do stop for buses and understand the importance of stopping for them. But I can honestly say that I didn’t see the bus. I was completely confused as to why I got pulled over and had no idea where the bus even was.
I’m a safe driver; I have a clean driving record, and I’d really like to keep it as clean as possible. Is there any chance I can have the violation reduced to a zero point ticket for impeding traffic? If not, would it be ok for me to request a formal hearing where my attorney can appear with me?
Pretty legit explanation, if I do say so myself.
So I go in and proceed to wait a good 40 minutes (yes, I was still super early) before court starts. I tried to chat with my fellow civil violators, but no one seemed especially chatty, so I just sat there and felt nervous. I don’t like being in trouble. I was the kid who went into the bathroom and cried when I got my name on the board in 3rd grade.
1. Admit responsibility and pay the ticket. NO
2. Plead no responsibility and request a formal hearing. NO
3. Plead my case to the judge and request a lesser charge. DING DING DING!!!!
The judge in his patient manner explained the options again (he really did seem like a decent guy!) and without further ado, I told him I chose option 3.
He was willing to reduce the charge to impeding traffic–a zero point violation with a reduced fine. Sold!
I told him that I am a former schoolteacher and that I really do stop for buses. I honestly just didn’t see it this time. He cautioned me to be careful in the future, and I was on my way! Woot!
The moral here, kids, is this: Fight the Power!!! As far as I could tell, this whole ticket scenario was kind of a shakedown, and the judge seemed to know it. I wasn’t the only person there for the exact same violation. Seems highly suspect to me, wouldn’t you agree?
Have you ever fought the power? Were you successful?
I’m feeling extra thankful today for the opportunity to plead my case with a reasonable human being. And to contribute to the revenue of the city of Berkley, MI. You’re welcome, Berkley.