Thursday, December 17, 2009

The tale of Officer Grinch and Judge Santa

A few months ago, I was driving home from my parents’ house along a stretch of road that is notorious for the constantly changing speed limits. Now, I’m usually a conscientious driver, but excuse me for going 71 in a 60, when I got pulled over for being at the bottom of a hill just feet after the sign had changed. Honestly, the sign literally changed at the top of the hill, and Officer Grinch was waiting for me at the bottom. Sneaky sneaky. I know this is notorious for police officers to do, especially in small towns like the one I was pulled over in, but I was pissed! Pissed I tell you! But not so much at the police officer. So, maybe it’s not completely fair that I call him Officer Grinch, but I need to have this story tie in with the 15th and 16th Grinch/Santa entries that I haven’t completed, so we’ll leave his name as is. Anyways, I was more upset at the fact that my last ticket was April 2005, so I was just months shy of having a totally clean record and reaping the benefits from my car insurance (side note: having a ticket in 4.5 years, and not having one in 5 years literally knocks $5 off a 6-month premium with GEICO, so I’m not sure how I was mislead into thinking this would change it by hundreds of dollars per year). Anyways, determined not to have my car insurance sky rocket, I went to my court date to beg for mercy.

Here’s where Judge Santa comes in. Apparently, he hands out reductions in tickets left and right. I can’t believe I spent the night before in a nervous panic, perfecting my speech on how I was so upset to learn I had been speeding because I am a very conscientious driver, and fully understand the importance of safe driving, blah-blah-blah. Turns out I could have gone in there and picked my nose and he would have offered driving school in lieu of the speeding charge. While on one hand, I found this to be a very nice gesture, and believe you me, was thrilled with the outcome, on the other, I was a little upset, because it meant that I had no chance in him saying something like “well, just don’t get another ticket for 1 year, and we’ll forget about this” as I know other judges in other counties have been known to do. He was fair, that’s for sure, but sometimes you don’t want them to be quite so fair and to be able to use your cuteness to your advantage. Anyways, I won’t complain however, because he was willing to reduce the charge to a non-moving violation, which won’t affect my car insurance. So, all in all, it was worth it, and I am very grateful to Judge Santa for being so compassionate to all these crazy speeders!

The funny thing was, the Officer had to give his testimony and he had VERBATIM what I had said! It was so funny, I don’t know why I found it funny, but I did. So, just be careful what you say, it’ll come back to bit you in the butt. And don’t ever admit you were speeding. (Oh, and side note, something I learned from Chelsea Handler, but hope you never need it, don’t ever admit you’ve been drinking either. You don’t say “just one” or “a few a few hours ago” you say “no.” Now I know why.)

Judge: Did Ms. S admit guilt?
Officer: No
Judge: What did Ms. S say?
Officer: She said “I can’t have been going that fast” and when I told her she was going 71, she said “I thought the speed limit was 65.”

I don’t know, just hearing my exact words like that replay from his mouth amused me to no end!

So, I’m planning on going to traffic school sometime, and debating between the online course and the course actually in-person. While I think off hand, the online would be ideal, I have heard from other people that sometimes the in-person course gets let out hours early, while the online is not self-guided, but rather you sit and watch videos, so I have that decision to make.

Now for the fun stuff. I’ve been to traffic court before, but this court, probably due to the fact it was in a small county, combined traffic with the general court. I got there promptly at 9 am like my summons said, and didn’t get called up until nearly 11. Here’s why:

Men in jump suits apparently get first billing. Yes, they were actually in orange jumpsuits with handcuffs. I felt odd knowing I was in the presence of someone who was accused of such a serious crime. These men were appointed their court-appointed lawyer and told what day their pre-trial case would be held.

Next came the DUIs. There were a few, but one in particular really made me laugh. From where I was sitting, I could only see the top of this guy’s head. He looked pretty normal, nothing special. He had a lawyer with him who did all the talking. Apparently this guy was charged with a DUI and the judge was going to give him a restricted license and started asking him a couple of questions. Turns out he was hurt in the accident that resulted from this charge, and needed the license to get to medical treatment. The judge says ok, then asks how he gets to work. He ain’t got no job. Ok, then you can use the license to get to and from job interviews only. And for transportation to ASAP class. Ok, we’re good here? Oh wait, uh oh, he ain’t got no car insurance. Seems it’s hard to get car insurance when you’re an unemployed alcoholic that got arrested for a DUI. Seems like he ain’t got no license (restricted or not) until he finds some car insurance. Once he was finished, the guy sort of shuffles back and I get my first real glimpse at him. This guy has to be a raging alcoholic! He is so skinny, I mean skin and bones, but he has the most gi-normous beer gut I’ve ever seen! Literally looked like a 13 year old with a basketball under his shirt. Now, there’s only one think that I know that will simultaneously make you skin and bones while putting all excess weight straight to your belly and that is beer! I can’t believe the judge was even contemplating a restricted license. This guy was probably drunk right now in court!

Next came the traffic cases, all were like me, speeding and the judge gave them a reduced ticket if they either did community service or traffic school.

$121 dollars later, with traffic court and more costs to be incurred looming in my future, I start heading home and thus ends the day of Officer Grinch and Judge Santa, complete with all sorts of alcoholic and degenerate elves to boot.


RAP said...

Too funny. My court experience for traffic was the same way but they had the serious criminals on a tv screen from jail. Plus I totally dressed up in a nice not suit but business skirt and tights and a sweater. Half those fools rolled in - in Miller Lite t-shirts and ripped up jeans. I was like what the hell. Mine got reduced too but the judge didn't even get testimony. It was like do you want to do the non-moving thing and pay this super steep fine... yes... ok see ya later.

SJP said...

Hahahah, OMG, I totally forgot about the clothes. Yea! I was like "ok, gotta dress nice, but not too much like bam, here's my expensive suit cuz I'm from the big city." And exactly like you said, half were dressed in trash redneck t-shirts. And the judge didn't care what I had to say, just "do you want to go to traffic court and pay a reduced fine? Ok, good then!" It was ridic!

RAP said...

Your next post should totally be about the clothes. I was like am I in the right place. Same thing you said not too nice (like full on suit) but professional. People were totally ridic!! I'm talking one step up from PJ's.