Thursday, October 13, 2005

Vindication, well, not really, but a least a good bargain.

Went to court today to battle the $361 bicycle citation I received last month. I came prepared to explain the safety issues endured by bicyclists on a daily basis, to speak out against ill formed, biased laws, and to stand up against evil, so that one day good can hopefully prevail, and the eternal sun may shine down on glimmering cranks everywhere.
Hell, I even bought a belt.

Of course, as anyone who’s ever dealt with the legal system knows, these things make little difference. The system at this level is designed to process as many (and there are a lot), of citations as possible. During the initial hearing, the judge is just there to hear you plea guilty or not guilty, after which the guilty plea-ers go through the door on the left, and the “not guilty” plea-ers stand off to the right, ready to face off with the army of county attorneys waiting to process as many defendants as possible, in as timely a manner as possible that still yields profits to the city. Many un-informed, nervous, people try to talk (lie) their way out at the plea point, with out even realizing that the judge only wants to hear “guilty” or “not guilty”. It’s kind of sad that there really isn’t a proper resource to explain to everyone, in an understandable way, how the system works. The judge we had this morning was at least pretty fun though, and joked around with the people.

I stepped forward when my name was called, pled not guilty, and took a step to the right. A few moments later, one of the attorneys who had been going in and out with people all day, came out and called my name. She was pretty young, super nice, and even kind of cute; to bad she’s a lawyer. This is a stark contrast to the only other county attorney I’ve dealt with, Charles C Adams, the attorney for Sheboygan. He’s a total dick, but that’s a different story. Anyway, I followed the young attorney through the door to the left, where we briefly discussed the case in the hallway, not even taking time to go to one of the conference rooms. She completely agreed with me that the bicycle/car laws were messed up, but stated that she’s not a legislator, so she can’t really do anything about it. She then grabbed a binder, and started paging through it, saying she’d look for something she could give me that wouldn’t affect my clean driving record. (Yeah, this ticket, as it stood, would have given me a point on my driver’s license. In CA, you get your license revoked after 4 points in a year. This would have sucked for insurance.)

“How about a pedestrian traffic signal violation?” she asked, pointing her finger to one of the hundreds of violations listed in the binder. “$100, and it has no effect on your driving record”

I was sold, and agreed. Granted, I think I would have had a good chance to fight it all the way, especially since I doubt the officer would have showed up for court. Returning for another court date though, would have involved taking another morning off of work, and risking fucking up my insurance.

I walked back into the courtroom, accepted the new charge, and paid the clerk before leaving the building.


Post a Comment

<< Home