Monday, September 27, 2004

Before The Court 

Court date this afternoon dating back to my unfortunate triple-threat pullover, and I'm sweating already. Though I think we have some kind of case, it's a complicated one, and my admittedly anecdotal and television-fed sense of our lovely justice system is that too-tangled webs are drawbacks in smalltown civil court.

The skinny, for those who never heard the whole story: pulled over as I passed the cop station on a last-minute Friday eve Volunteer's Weekend run between campuses, I was found guilty of:
  1. Driving with an out of date registration (with accompanying out-of-date platesticker, the visible impetus for the carstop in the first place)

  2. Driving with a 6-month-gone expired license

  3. Driving without an inspection sticker

In context, it's all (sorta kinda) explicable, if not necessarily ideal. We'd lost the keys to the car months and months before, and just got it back on the road on a "for emergency use only" status; in that time neither Darcie nor Dad (who handled the car ownership transfer a year or two ago) nor I recall seeing anything in the mail about renewal, and who notices expired registrations without an RMV reminder? The license reminder turns out to have come last sumer when I was in Bangladesh, and, as it prompted both Darcie and I to renew simultaneously, she had renewed and lost track of both event and paperwork by the time I returned, so I never saw it (and who looks at the date on their own license?). And the missing inspection sticker dates back to a post-accident windshield-replacement last winter: they tried to tape the sticker back on the new 'shield, but it never took, and without that big ol' number on the sticker, who notices that it's time to re-inspect?

Whether the judge has time for context seems to be the crux of the matter of leniency; that 'graph seems a bit long for a synopsis, and as such does nothing to quell my fears. That, and whether he cares about it in the first place, I suppose. It feels like a relatively solid sympathy plea to me, but I'm a wee biased, eh?

At the time, it looked like this could have been much simpler. I could have sworn the mobility-arresting officer said that if I showed due dilligence -- renew everything in the four business days before I had to send in the citation to request a hearing, and send in proof of that renewal set with the citation -- I could avoid a hearing, and get off the hook (minus fines, I'm assuming). But when we showed at the courthouse that Wednesday, paperwork in hand, the clerk told me to save it for the hearing. So much for trying to do it right by doing it in person; next time I'm using the US Postal Service.

There's a real possibility that I'll get my license revoked outright, or get those last three driver's "points" I need to put me over the top. I figure even the best case, a serious bankbreaker -- cop doesn't show, fines and court costs levied -- is a longshot. Pray for me, willya?

posted by boyhowdy | 8:16 AM |

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