Our legal system, full of liars and cheats.

Posted: May 9, 2011 in Automotive, General

Last October, on my way into work, I was pulled over for “driving too fast for conditions”, a $127 fine. Instead of paying the fine I decided to fight it, because I thought that I was in the right. In the end, it really doesn’t matter.

I suppose anyone who decides to fight an infraction (or even anything larger) feels someone entitled. You’ve been wronged and you expect to be heard. I walked into court the first time, knowing that this was the preface to real court. I’d been here before, they offer a lower fine in the hope that you’ll plead guilty and leave. I didn’t. I held my ground, told them that “it wasn’t about the money”, especially since they offered to knock my fine down to $60. I left red faced (I don’t deal well with situations like that), and frustrated, but the writing was on the wall.

Seven months after my ticket I arrived back at the courthouse to have my day in court. I arrived early, and waited. First outside the courthouse in the nippy spring weather, then later sitting outside the courtroom while I waited for the doors to open. Fifteen minutes after the appointed time, we all walked into the court room. Luckily I was one of the first through the door.

So again I sit with a court employee to go through pre-trial. I restated my case, explained that it wasn’t about the money, but that I was in the right here. I had planned on proving it.

Then deceit. She tells me that the infraction had been bumped up from traveling too fast, to speeding, and that the fine was at least double my original $127 plus court costs if I lost. She told me that the officer was there in court and that I would probably lose. Then she offers me the original $60.

I flinched, I took the deal and left.

As I thought about it though, it started to rub me the wrong way. I don’t know our court systems, but now with a clear head, why do I think that it’s very unlikely that they have the power to “bump up” a charge without any notice or cause? It makes me question whether the cop was in the room, it makes me think that perhaps their case was very weak (as I thought) and this nice [sic] woman was throwing a hail mary in the hope that I’d do exactly as I did.

Now I’m upset with myself for not standing my ground, for not being stronger. I didn’t believe in myself enough to see my plan through, I let a con-woman sell me snake oil. Why do I feel that there is very little justice in a courtroom? Maybe I’m just jaded.

UPDATE: After some investigation, it is apparently totally within the court’s rights to modify the infraction any time up-to seeing the judge. I still question the logic of the decision to “bump-it-up”, and I wonder if I would have had an easier time defending a speeding infraction over the traveling too fast. Alas I will never find out.

  1. Robert says:

    I was at a local bar playing pool with friends, no drinking involved. After I left the bar I was pulled over by a local town cop. Of course I get the usual questions and I was pulled over for ‘Failure to Keep Right’ I politely responed ‘ I never crossed the center lane’ and he accused me of ‘Harrasment’

    Now I have a ticket for $120. so I went to the ‘Kangroo Court’. I explained the exact situation and the Judge didn’t care… PAY the money. This was back in the mid-90’s and now all these years later the Police FORCE has been voted out of the town. Go figure…

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