Sometimes it doesn’t pay to try to stand upon your principles. About five or six weeks ago I was given a traffic ticket in a neighboring community. If I had chosen to mail in the fine, it would have been $57.50. Since I didn’t think I was guilty of the offence — failure to stop at a stop sign — I chose to go to the municipal court session instead, in the hopes that the judge would see my logic and throw the whole thing out.
Well, I learned fairly quickly that wasn’t going to happen. If I wanted to avoid having a jury trial — for a traffic ticket! — then I had to plead guilty with explanation. I explained that the officer had told me I had stopped at the stop sign but I was over the white line. It was late at night, dark, and I never saw the white line. I thought the fact that he stated I had stopped would carry some weight.
It didn’t carry enough. The judge decided to change the charge to illegal parking and charge me $65. That way there would be no points charged against my license. I would have done better to just write the check and mail it in back when I got the ticket.
I’m not so sure I saw justice being dispensed last night but I think I did see a community making money off the general public. There were lots of traffic tickets being dealt with resulting in various fines and court costs. I found it interesting that the court was willing to work out payment plans for those unable to pay up last night.
Oh, well, I can chalk this up to adding to my education. I suppose the fact that this was my first time in court is commendable since I was one of the oldest people — if not the oldest — in the courtroom.