Thursday, June 2, 2016

Traffic Court

I am not the best driver.  I tend to speed, especially with the new Brave Astronaut space vehicle, with its V8 engine under the hood.  I also come by it honestly, my mother had a lead foot.  Back in December, I was stopped on my way to work for failing to come to a complete stop at a stop sign.  It was an occasion where I was genuinely surprised that I was being pulled over.

I arrived at the intersection, where a car was making its way through the intersection, so I had to stop.  As I prepared to pull forward a cruiser arrived at the intersection to my right.  I proceeded straight and was pulled over by the same cruiser for failing to yield at the stop sign.  I accepted the citation and prepared to plead not guilty and request a trial.

And here's the moral of the story dear readers - ALWAYS plead not guilty.  And here's why.  First of all, your court date will be scheduled for some time later - as was in this case, I was pulled over in December and my court date was today, nearly six months later.  It is entirely worth your time to go to court and plead your case in front of the judge.

Secondly, if you go to court and the officer does not show up, your case is dismissed and you will be found guilty.  This was the case with me today (as was also the case for a speeding ticket I got last fall).  As I sat in the courtroom today, I did get to hear some good stories, including one gentleman who was stopped for doing 108 MPH on Route 50.  And even he got a reduced fine.  But what astonished me, was those individuals who had pleaded not guilty, requested a trial, and then didn't show up, FTA, or Failure to Appear, in the legal parlance.  If you're going to go through the trouble of pleading not guilty, show up for your court date - now those fine folks have more trouble on their plates.

Someday I might regale you with my other stories of traffic infractions and moving violations, but for today, Brave Astronaut beat the rap again.  And remember, ALWAYS plead not guilty.

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