Anne Bell , Good Citizen. . . . . . No More!

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I imagine I have gotten your attention with that title and image !  Probably not what you expected from me! Well, let me start at the beginning. . . . .

Several weeks ago, I was clocked on radar doing seventeen miles  above the speed limit on a road I travel almost daily and  often several times.  I had a perfect driving record for the many years  living in Troy! I hadn’t even had a parking ticket.  That is how my family gave me the above  title, because I don’t drive like an old lady, yet, but neither  am I am speedy driver.  I usually just go with the flow !  Except this time!

Thus  began this journey  resulting in a court appearance this week.  My immediate thought was that my insurance would rise and I would have the dreaded points added  on my license. Telling my tale to whom would listen, I learned some interesting facts. I should not sign and return the ticket saying that I was guilty and  pay for the  ticket.  But I was guilty. . . well it turns out pleading not  guilty doesn’t mean that . . . . lawyer speak , but not guilty means you want the process to be seen by a judge or letting the process proceed. If you plead guilty, you will get a fine, points, and your insurance company will be notified resulting in a rate increase.

My day to appear, I got to the court 20 minutes early to find already a serpentine line of about 100 people, I am estimating.  We waited and waited.  Finally 45 minutes after the scheduled time , each person was called to sign-in.  Next we went to the courtroom where the jovial judge gave us our four options. I wish I could remember what they were but I was waiting for the last one, #4 where I would be given a chance to plea down from a moving violation to a lesser  charge  of non-moving violation. That plead down  group was taken to another room where we were we  met with an attorney  to plead our case for lowering the charges. ( Mine was a flawless record.)

My first question was whether there was an accident involved.  “No.”  Any other charges such as phone involvement or alcohol, “No.” I was eligible for a non-moving charge, but the fine would be nearly $200, ouch. . . but that was the best I could  expect.  All the  offenders with the high speed tickets were expected to appear before the judge to see if he agreed with the results of the conference.  Nervously, I reentered the court with about half of the original group. I had noticed others  leaving after speaking to the District Attorney , they just went to pay their fine and left. There speed must have been less.

Each defendant had to stand and address the judge.  To  say I was nervous was definitely an understatement .  but  he turned out to be rather  low-key and friendly.

“Mrs. Bell, you will pay the fine and there will be no points or notification of this transaction with your insurance company.  If you need time to pay the fine, that will be arranged. Do you accept this judgement?”

“Thank you , your Honor.”

I was trying to quickly exit the courtroom when someone grabbed my hand.  I looked up at this large bear of a man whom I didn’t recognize.  He told me I had not seen him since grammar school, 4th grade to be specific and, he  had grown mostly up rather dramatically since then.  He, too, had one of the large fines and must speak to the judge. I gave him a hug and said, thank you ever so much for speaking to me!   Gosh, did you recognize me?  He laughed but didn’t say.  I wished him luck and left.

As I was walking home,  I remember with great fondness this student who had been one of my all time favorites.  Yes, teachers can’t show it but we are human,  we do have  favorites.  At least I did. I was so happy to reconnect if only in passing. Come to think about it, he probably heard my name called and didn’t recognize me but he did make the effort to speak to me! That was a special moment in a long day at court  the resulting in  paying for a darn expensive “parking ticket!”


About annetbell

I am a retired elementary teacher, well seasoned world traveler,new blogger, grandmother, and a new enthusiastic discoverer of the wonderfully complex country of India. Anne
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5 Responses to Anne Bell , Good Citizen. . . . . . No More!

  1. Kentucky Angel says:

    Oh dear, Anne, almost a criminal. My day in court was so many years ago I don’t remember the year, but I think it might have been 1991. My car tags should have been renewed in January, my hubs birth month. I had gall bladder surgery that month, so I left it to him to renew. The week before Christmas I was tagged by State Police for driving without an up to date license plate, and then an added insult, no insurance papers in the car. Mandatory court appearance. I had the tags renewed, and got the proof of insurance papers before the appearance, so got probation for 6 months.
    The worst part of this was that hubs was pulled over that same week for driving without working rear lights, and only received a warning. Something is definitely wrong with our “good old boy” system in this state.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Ha ha! I’ve been there too, years ago I got caught doing over 100 miles per hour on the motorway – 3 weeks ban and £400 fine!

    Liked by 1 person

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