I’ve got a story for you today. It’s a true story. It really happened.
Monday, November 14th, 2011 I was driving my boss and me to lunch. This was after a delightful trip to a discount store to purchase Christmas trees. As I drive through an intersection, I’m blindsided by an SUV. Everyone is fine, insurance is exchanged, and I walk away shaken up and a bit angry because I received a ticket for failing to have my driver’s license on my person.
Wednesday, December 28th, 2011: I call the Monroe City Clerk to find out how much my fine is with the intention of paying it that day. I’m informed that I cannot pay it, that I must attend court on my assigned court date of Wednesday December 28th, 2011. I leave my office, sit in court for a few hours while this transpires.
Judge: “Kristi Greene, you’ve been charged with failure to have your driver’s license on your person. How do you wish to please?”
Kristi: “Guilty, Your Honor. I didn’t have my license and I wish to pay the fine and go about my day.”
Judge: “Because this was an accident, I’d like to make sure that you have a letter of restitution in place demonstrating that your insurance company has paid everyone involved. You have until March 7th to do this. If you get this in, the prosecutor’s will likely amend your charge and you can settle out of court with no need to reappear in the court room.”
Kristi: “Alright Your Honor. I’ll change my plea to not guilty and get that letter in.”
March 2nd, 2012: I meet with prosecutors at my appointed time, letter of restitution in hand. Bear in mind, of course, that this is the second time I’ve had to take off work for what is a non-moving violation. The prosecutors tell me that they will not be amending my charge and that I need to pay the fine. I proceed to the Cashier’s desk, cash in hand, in order to pay my fine and be through with the entire matter. The cashier and subsequently the judge’s clerk inform me that I am unable to simply plead guilty out of court and pay the fine because the ticket is associated with an accident. I’m informed that I must attend court on Wednesday, March 7th, 2012.
March 7th, 2012: I arrive in the court room. I find out that the two women who were also involved in the accident were subpoenaed as witnesses in my case. These means that they have also been required to take time off work. In Monroe City Court, the docket is read, defendants are required to answer to their names being read, there is a short recess, and then trials begin. My name is called, I inform the court that I am present and then the rest of the docket is read. During the recess, the prosecutor calls my name. I walk to her podium. She asks me if I have a driver’s license; I present her with my license, she records something in my file, comments kindly on my organ donor status, and then sends me back to my seat. When court is back in session, my name is eventually called and the prosecutor tells me that the charges have been dismissed and that I am free to go.
The morals of the story? I know what’s wasting Monroe city taxpayer money and ALWAYS have your driver’s license on you. Otherwise you’ll be subjected to three court appearances during working hours.
In reality, I’m extremely thankful that I ended up not owing anything. I love it when I don’t have to spend money on things that are no fun.