Back on May 8th I got a ticket; 79MPH in a 50MPH zone. I’ve really been sweating, thinking it was going to cost me a fortune. Around these parts, anything above 25 over the limit and you have to appear in court, the fine (if you waive your right to spend the day in court) for 15-25 over is $135, so I’m thinking this is going to be a $200 deal, minimum.
Anyway, I originally went to night court on the 15th, but there was a civil trial that was running extremely late, so they let me postpone; I could come back any day there was open court (Monday or Tuesday at 5:30PM, Wednesday at 9:00AM) within 2 weeks. After over a week of dread-filled procrastination, I decided Wednesday morning would be the least busy, so today was the day.
So, I show up at 9:00, find a parking spot right at the door, then discover the meter is only 30 minutes max. “No worries”, I think, “I’ll just move the car to a 2 hour spot down the block after I sign in.” I sign in, and sit and wait. Much better looking crowd in the mornings, apparently, so that’s a plus (Monday night it looked more like they were taking job applications for carnival workers). 9:30 comes, they haven’t called me into the courtroom yet, so I ask the lady next to me to listen for my name and I run down to the car. Naturally, the meter’s expired and I now have a parking ticket, too. Oh, joy!
Thankfully there’s an open 2 hour spot just down the block. I move the car and return to the waiting room. They didn’t come for me while I was gone, so I sit and wait some more. Finally around 10:30 they call me and a couple of other lucky contestants into the court room.
The girl before the judge (the Honorable Susan L. Goldie) finishes up with her time and the Judge says: “Gregory Evans”, Gregory, just to remind me that I’m in trouble. I approach the bench, feeling like I just got called into the Principal’s office. She reads the complaint against me and tells me the maximum fine is $150. “Yep”, I’m thinking, “with court costs that’ll be twohundred-something.” She asks how I plead, I plead guilty, and she fines me… $35! And I swear, she even gave me an almost imperceptible “I’m letting you off easy” smile. No apologizing, no begging for leniency, and for whatever reason she gives me a huge break and sends me on my way.
With court costs the total was $102. I was so relieved that it wasn’t double or triple that amount that I didn’t even care about getting the parking ticket anymore.
Since I wouldn’t have gone to court if I didn’t have to, it actually would have cost me more money if I had been going slower!