Wednesday, March 22, 2006

a very good day, or, palette cleanser

Remember the speeding ticket?

Here's the rest...

There's an area on the ticket where the cop checks the box next to the court you're supposed to contact to pay the ticket no fewer than 5, but no more than 14, days from the date the ticket is issued. My special cop checked two different boxes: Salt Lake County Justice Court, and Sandy City (written in and checked).

Figuring that the day I got pulled over was Day 1, I called the Sandy City Court on Day 7 - they said that it wasn't on file. So I called the Salt Lake County Court - they didn't have it either, but they asked the location of the incident (my being pulled over) and said that it belongs in the South Jordan Court, who I called, and who also, didn't have my ticket on file.

On Day 14 I made more calls: to South Jordan, who said it belonged in Sandy; to Sandy, who said it belonged in South Jordan (and also that the 5-14 day thing actually refers to the date the citation number is filed, not the day the citation is issued, like it says on the ticket); and then to Salt Lake County who, again, told me that it belongs in South Jordan.

Are you getting my drift? I made so many, many calls - about twice a week or so...I think my favorite was on Day 28 (yes, that's 4 weeks from when I received the ticket) when South Jordan told me to call the city's police department which issued the ticket, which was Cottonwood Heights (what? I know...I didn't understand that either). They told me that the ticket had been filed and that I-15 is under Salt Lake County's jurisdiction (the entire interstate? I wondered), and that I should call Salt Lake County and it would be on file under 'Records'. I called Salt Lake County, asked if it could be in 'Records', and they said no, and when I told them that I was told that I-15 was their jurisdiction, they told me to never listen to anything that Cottonwood Heights tells me.

I think it all ended on Day 43, when South Jordan told me that they had it and I had until 3/23 to pay or else I would be charged extra - a delinquency fee. You know...because I'd been delinquent.

I had had it up to HERE and told Darin that I was just going to pay it over the phone, and he reminded me of how diligent I had been, and how I was given the run-around, and encouraged me to make the effort to speak with the judge. I was still hesitant, until Darin told me that he had arranged to take the morning off from work so that I could go. So last night, I wrote out my proceedings (phone calls), then proofread it all this morning before Darin printed it out for me. I got ready, and drove to South Jordan, where the City Hall is located smack dab in the middle of a bunch of strip malls (hard to believe, I know).

I took my seat in the courtroom. The judge called my name and said I should take my place at the podium. He said, "Jennifer, you've been charged with speeding. Do you plead Guilty or Not Guilty?" I proudly proclaimed, "Guilty." He then told me that I otherwise had a clean driving record and could take an online traffic course to erase this charge - I asked what it entailed, and he said just 2 hours online. I asked if I had to do this at the court, and he said No, that I could do it at home, print out the certificate when I was finished, and then mail in the certificate to get the charge dropped and maintain my sparkly clean driving record. I agreed.

**SIDE NOTE: My sister, who is more experienced in traffic citations and such, told me that after I take this course, I can fax a copy of the certificate (proof of defensive driving instruction) to my car insurance company for a discount. I'm going to look into that. Thanks, Beans.**

Judge then said, "Now, since you were going 20 miles per hour over the limit, I have to charge you the fee of $167." I said, "Okay," and then he motioned for me to 'approach the bench' (SO AWESOME!) to sign a paper. When I got there - you know, the bench - I said, "Could I give you something?" I then, oh so professionally, produced a copy of my phone call proceedings (2 pages, stapled), a written statement about the crap the cop pulled when I encountered him, and a photocopy of my ticket, all paperclipped together. "I had a really difficult time trying to find out where this ticket was, and I was sent all over the valley, courts telling me it belonged elsewhere" --Judge takes off his glasses for a closer look at what I had just given him-- "and it took a really long time to finally track it down. The officer actually checked two different courts on the ticket, and neither was this court." Judge called the Baliff over to have a look at the ticket.

Judge looked at Baliff. "How the hell is she supposed to know where to even take this ticket?! This is the second one of these I've gotten this morning!" He was pretty ticked.

After a few more explatives, he told me that to compensate for all my trouble, I had the court's apology and he was reducing my ticket to only 15 mph over, which meant $117 instead of $167.

GOOD ENOUGH!!

I thanked him and then asked, "Am I finished?" He said, "Yes. Have a nice day."

And a nice day I had.

23 comments:

wendysue said...

Good for you! I bet it feels so nice to stick up for yourself and have someone in that authority support you! (Too bad he wasn't feeling $167 supportive...) And I secretly (I guess not so secretly) hope Mr. little Officer Peckerton hears about all of this. . .

La Yen said...

I love when judges curse and when they laugh.
(If you don't pay, your consequences will be double.)

~j. said...

And then my nice day was made into a nice night when I heard Kellie Pickler utter the words:

"What's a 'ballsy'?"

AzĂșcar said...

That Cottonwood Heights, a shifty lot if I ever saw one...a shifty lot I tell you.

Bek said...

Good for you. My sister had a similar situation...a ticket she wanted to fight (she got it in CA while living with me). No one would claim they had it. Finally (6 months later) when she found the court where she could pay it...they told her she was 3 months late and the fine had DOUBLED. She went to court and it eventually got dismissed...mostly b/c of the rediculous run around she had.......power to the people!

:-)

c jane said...

but it was all worth seeing my dog do the stick pull with Joe.
right??????.?????

Lorien said...

did you say "Your Honor"? I like saying things like "Yes, Your Honor" and "Yes, sir". Somehow I feel cool, like I would "Approaching the Bench"

lisa v. clark said...

I was in a car once when the driver got pulled over and he kept saying, "Yes, SIR," "sorry Officer, SIR," "of course SIR," etc that the Officer asked him to stop saying it! It was hilareous.

~j. said...

I didn't call him "Your Honor", but I probably called him "Sir" (I don't really remember). I might have called him 'Your Honor' if he would have been wearing one of those black robes, but he wasn't.

Rachel said...

i HATE the run-around. i've had it far too many times with different companies, that even hearing your story makes my blood boil. yikes. maybe i'll take online anger management courses while you do your defensive driving.

and i think THEY should have paid YOU after all of that crap.

JC said...

Don't forget Darin is the one that made this all possible. Go Darin. You da man. Jen, Oprah. Oprah, Jen.

april said...

Just be glad you didn't have to deal with Provo. Ricky once tried to pay a ticket every week for 2 years--that's right, he called for 2 years. Provo kept telling him that they didn't have it and finally to stop worrying about it because obviously the officer had never filed it. So he did just that and about 6 months later, he got a letter in the mail saying that his license was going to be suspended. When he went to the courthouse to take care of it, he mentioned that he had tried to pay it for two years. He then got yelled at and told that it was his fault--he should have come in, let them know that he owed them money, and paid. His response was, "So, you expect me to come in and tell you how to do your job and then pay you? Yeah right." He didn't get out of the ticket but they did "do him a favor" and not make him pay the late fee.

wendysue said...

What? No black robe? My respect for the judicial system has all changed. Please at least tell me someone said "I object."

sue said...

Do you need printer lessons, or do you just like having Darin do all of your printing for you? Plus I am jealous that you get to do your course online. I had to go to a two hour session at the Provo City council chambers (where of course I ran into all the officers and staff I knew...fun!)
Congratulations on your diligence... and thank you for caring for E this morning. She had fun.

more caffeine, please said...

Oooh, what are you going to do with that $50?

beans said...

funny, you should say that i'm more experienced in traffic citations... i got pulled over a few weeks ago on my way home from a meeeting at work. i was at school all day, worked, then had a a meeting. i just wanted to go home. when the cop walked away with my papaerwork, i started sobbing. when he came back ... with my warning... he asked if i was ok. i apologized and said, "i *sniffle* don't normally cry. this has happened *sniffle* to me thousands of times. i've just had a really long day and want to go home." who tells a cop they've gotten pulled over for speeding a thousand times??? baliff, whack his pee pee.

~j. said...

Yes, Props to Darin for having me go up to the South Jordan Strip Mall Court.

April - I wish I could have seen that interaction...

WendySue - I don't know if anyone said "I object" - I was the first of my group to get to talk to Judge. I wonder what they'd object to...?

Sue - No printer lessons, just no printer. Darin took it to his office (where he was taking the morning off) to print it for me. I take that back: TWO printers not hooked up. And E.'s welcomed to come over any time in the morning before school - she did Rae's hair! Got her all nice & prettied-up for the field trip to Hogle Zoo.

MCP - I know, a whole, shiny, $50. Maybe I'll give it to my sister to bribe her to stop telling cops that she's been pulled over...or to bribe her to stop saying "pee pee" on my blog.

beans - i can't stop laughing. you just...bring it out in me. Maybe I should write a blog about all the times you've been pulled over.

wendysue said...

I guess it's a good thing there was no black robe, maybe that's when it gets serious. "It's a big day, I'm pullin' out the black robe. . ."

I hated spending my 8 hours in "STOP class." Ugh. That was after I hit a parked car. Wait. I haven't blogged about that yet? What am I thinking? Coming soon to a blog near you . . ."Yo momma's so dumb. . ."

MOM said...

OKAY, make sure mention the one when the State trooper said he had been waiting for her and her reply was, "I got here as soon as I could". BEANS!!

~j. said...

Mom, that was going to be my entire post.

Queen Scarlett said...

Wow - if anyone questions our legal system and police in general... they are so wack.

I can't stand police... especially Utah police. Seriously...they have nothing better to do...and I have a sneaking suspicion that most guys that go into that are compensating...desperately needing that uniform and the big gun. Sad... to smell like bacon.

beans said...

pee pee

beans said...

if you DO do (ha! do do) a blog on when i got pulled over that time, be sure to include what i was wearing. if you don't remember, i'll tell you.