On May 20, 2006 I was tagged for speeding on the 405 while returning from my friend’s wedding in Valencia. This was one of the (rare) instances when I felt I was undeserving of a speeding ticket. There were cars on either side of me and a guy was coming up my rear like a bat outta hell. I even said, “Look at this happy a**hole!” as I gunned it to get out of his way and into the right lane. The happy a**hole was a CHiP and he gave me a ticket even though I tried to explain to him that I was only getting out of his way.
I had to deal with the ticket by July 14th, and of course that didn’t happen. I actually had the date confused with the court date of a different speeding ticket so I went to wrong courthouse. Ha! (Note: The LA Superior Court didn’t find this even remotely comical.) Even though they were upset, the State of California allowed me to reschedule and set a new court date. I had to appear at the San Fernando Courthouse in September.
From previous experience I knew that if I wanted to reschedule that I would have to let them know at least ten days ahead of time. Of course I flunked “basic court document reading” and — like an idiot — didn’t remember (from my previous four California traffic violations) that it’s ten business days. So when my girlfriend’s step-mom decided two weeks before my court date that she wanted to take us all to Hawaii, it was too late for me to make the ten-day window.
I called the court to get a new hearing date, but they said that since it was within ten business days all I could do was take the bullet and wait for the nasty letters to appear. So I waited. Eventually in November they contacted me to let me know my license was going to be suspended if I didn’t handle it RIGHT.AWAY. I called and they said that I had to appear in person at the San Fernando Courthouse to pay my fine — $676 — and schedule a new hearing. So I did that.
At some point in December I made the trek to San Fernando and put the bail on my Mastercard. The earliest court date I could get was January 22nd. In a stroke of incredibly good karma — likely because I am so nice to puppies and kittens and never throw garbage out the window of my car — the clerk behind the counter said that I was smart to wait so long to deal with all this because Officer Petty (the happy a**hole) had quit the force and wouldn’t be there to testify against me. I only needed to appear and everything would be golden.
Today I skipped work and — wary of getting caught in traffic — arrived at the San Fernando Courthouse two hours early. I sat there and waited … and waited … and waited. And finally the judge called my name. “Here, your Honor!” Then he called Officer Petty. Silence. Lovely, beautiful silence. “Let it be known that the Defendant has appeared to the court and that Officer Petty has not. All charges are to be dropped and the bail amount refunded to the Defendant.” Woo hoo!
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