With all the parking tickets, speeding tickets, moving violations and so on that I rack up, I had to go to court on Tuesday to try and contest one of them. Here’s what happened. Everyone waits in a holding area until 6:30pm when the courtroom is opened. Everyone takes a seat. There are signs on every wall that read, “Do not eat, drink, talk, or read while in court.” You’re supposed to sit there patiently and wait.
A Chinese woman stands in front of us and starts speaking in Chinese. One by one, these Asians follow her out of the courtroom. I pondered what was happening. “Wow, that is one powerful network,” thinking maybe the Chinese Consulate was paying to have these tickets dismissed. Why isn’t anyone getting up there and speaking Spanish or Russian, huh?
Then the deputy starts talking. “That was our Chinese translator. She’s taking them to another room. Now it’s your turn. I’m going to call names individually. If I call your name, I want you to come up here. Please no eating, drinking, reading, or talking. I have a clerk back here and I need to be able to communicate with her. If she doesn’t hear something that I say, then it’s your record that’s on the line.”
He goes on to call out about five names and asks those people for their driver’s license and proof of insurance. Three of the five actually showed up that day and they didn’t bring proof of insurance! How idiotic! But the deputy didn’t seem too bothered and gave them a month to came back to court with proof.
The deputy could have been a comedian. He was cracking jokes throughout the whole process. After telling some guy that he had one more month to bring back proof of insurance, he says straight to his face, “You got that, Candy?” The guy gives him a weird look. The deputy says, “I was talking to the clerk—Candy. Man, I wasn’t trying to hit on you! Our clerk’s name is Candy!”
Next, he proceeds to call out about fifteen names. He hands them a packet, saying, “Go sit down. Read this and take a look at the pictures.” Slowly, people receive their packets and sit back down. One woman who seemed like a regular in court yells, “Oh, shit!!!” when her name is called. I didn’t realize this until later, but it turns out…the cops who issued those particular tickets completed comprehensive write-ups and even went out and took pictures to prove why they had issued the ticket. So these people were going to have to pay the full price of their ticket.
After distributing these packets, he says, “Everyone else come on up. You’re dismissed.” People start chattering. I’m surprised. I happened to be sitting up front and was the second person in line. The deputy handed me some paperwork. I then went over to Candy and asked, “Ummm, so do I need to go to traffic school? Is there a point on my record? I didn’t bring my checkbook, do you take Visa?”
She looked at me and laughed. “Go home. Your ticket is dismissed.”
$370. Dismissed. Learn from my experiences. Got an expensive ticket? Go to court.