Well, Saturday was my day in court for me speeding ticket. I couldn’t sleep the night before so I had gotten up in plenty of time to be extra early. I was able to see the roll call for the 8am docket and was able to see exactly how everything was going to work. Going early is something I’d suggest that everyone do the next time you get a ticket. It’ll give you a good idea about how lenient the judge is being, how not to talk to the judge when you’re up there, that sort of thing. I was glad I went because apparently traffic court in Texas is different than New Hampshire. Here, it’s a 3 step process if you’d like to say “not guilty”. In New Hampshire it was handled all at once. Let me explain. Here in Texas, if you get a ticket, for anything, you have to go to your arraignment trial, as if you’d committed a murder or something. At the arraignment you enter your plea: Guilty, Not Guilty or No Contest. That’s it. You don’t get to present evidence, you don’t get to ask the judge anything, you’re simply there to enter a plea. I found this out by watching a girl who was there for an expired registration try to explain to the judge why she didn’t have her car registered and the judge just kept saying “Mame, all I need is a guilty or not guilty from you.” Now, if you’re going to say “not guilty” the judge asks you if you want a trial by jury or by judge and then sets a court date for a “pre-trial”. This is what I had been to in New Hampshire. At the pre-trial, the cops are there to defend themselves, you get to ask questions, you get to present evidence. Then, if there’s enough stuff to go forward the judge will set yet another court date for your actual trial.
Since I had no plans on coming back to court a 2nd and 3rd time I figured the best course of action was to plead “no contest” and ask for leniency and defensive driving. It worked. For my speeding ticket all I had to pay is the court fee, which I’ll get to in a minute. As for my license plate, when the judge asked “guilty or not guilty” I said “I don’t know, I don’t believe it’s obstructed and I’ve taken the plate cover off but I don’t want to have a trial over it”. The judge kind of looked at me funny and said “ok… so you’ve taken it off, and its not obstructed anymore right?” “Yes your Honor” I said. “Well, since it’s a state fine I can’t dismiss it, but I can lower it to the court minimum of $5…. *slams gavel*… next case”.
So, $5 and defensive driving (which I can take over the internet). Not bad. I was pretty pleased at that point. The next step was to see the clerk at the end of the room and get my papers and be dismissed. Here I found out how much my “court fees” would be. $146. Ouch. $146 for myself to appear. How nice of them to charge me for using my civil rights to come to court. Then again, it’s cheaper than the tickets and I don’t get any points on my license in the end, so it all worked out I guess. I might even take the DD course today, since it is my day off and I’m just sitting here in front of the computer anyway.
That’s about it guys, that was my drama for the weekend.
Oh, and I just want to say a little “good luck” to Nagle, who’ll be heading back to SCAD in a little bit. He survived the hurricane last week and now goes back to try and survive the freshmen hurricane that is the Savannah College of Art and Design. What’cha figure SCAD is, a category 5? I’d say that’s about right. Anyway, good luck to you sir.
Now, wheres my Doom 3 disk….?