October 21, 2009

Justice sux

So I attended my court date today. For a traffic violation... a traffic violation that I do not believe I was guilty of. A traffic violation that was going to cost me $190 bucks! So you know, I had to fight it.

But I did something stupid... I was late getting to court and that my friends (if there are any friends reading) messed me up big time. Let me explain:

I don't know how it works elsewhere but here in The Big Smoke (BTW: really don't understand why that's a nickname for Toronto. I get Hogtown - meat processing plants; and Muddy York - unpaved streets; and everyone gets T-dot; but The Big Smoke? WTF?). Anyhoo, here in The Big Smoke we can fight traffic violation and parking infraction tickets in court. And I take everything to court! Because half the time T.O.'s finest do not bother to show up since they only get a minimum amount of paid on-duty time to attend court dates. So if you show up and your cop isn't there, you tell the prosecutor you want to fight the charges and your case has to be dismissed since there's no witness to testify against you. Should you crap out and get the lone overzealous po-po who actually comes to court, you simple plead guilty with an explanation and get a reduced fine (and usually no demerit points taken from your license). Not a bad deal all in all, and one that I have taken advantage of a number of times in my driving career.

Today, I totally intended to follow a similar route. And as luck would have it, my cop totally didn't show up. But I totally screwed myself because I didn't get there early enough to check-in with the prosecutor and discuss the trial. So she didn't know my intentions before we had to appear before the judge. And she didn't have the opportunity to determine my cop was a no-show and be so kind as to throw my case out. Instead, I got there seconds (I kid you not people - seconds!) before the judge enters. The prosecutor hisses at me to "Sit down! I'll speak to you later!" And I know I am screwed.

About 25 minutes into the proceeding (mainly a lot of folks pleading guilty to lesser charges and asking for time to pay their fine) the freaking prosecutor asks the judge for a moment of indulgence to speak to a defendant that arrived late. Oh thanks lady! That'll help my case for sure. She then gives me the usual spiel about pleading down, etc. When I ask about fighting the charge she advises me that if I choose that route she'll have no other option but to post-pone the matter to another date since I arrived late. She then advises that me that if goes to trial and I am found guilty the fine could be increased (up to $500) and the three demerits points would be non-negotiable.

And this is the point when I lose all my bravado (I usually walk around with a hell of a lot of this shit) and I say, "okay, I'll plead guilty... ma'am." Dammit. I hate in when my balls shrink like that. (Yes, as a matter of fact I do have balls - not hermaphrodite-Caster Semenya-type testes mind you, but brazen-filled, spit-and-vinegar, psychological, lady balls.)

So I plead guilty. And I get a reduced charge of $85 with no demerit points. And I skulk out of that courtroom so fast with my stepson laughing at my back and saying "yo, you punked out! what happened back there huh?" Ridiculed by a teenage boy, great.

Thinking back on it now, I know the $500 that scared me. I couldn't risk that. And re-booking the court date meant another notice of trial being sent to me and the cop which meant another chance that he'd show. And I wasn't willing to risk it. I could have pushed for another trial date, I realize now. Lady Prosecutor *might* have backed down and thrown it out. Or I could have showed up at the second trial and changed my plea then if needed. But I didn't think of all that then. All I was thinking then was, "Girl you do NOT have $500 bucks to waste on this ish". And so I punked out. Simply put, LP played a better game of chicken than I did.

So I guess the lesson learned here is that I should stop being late all time and get to places on time. (I can hear my family saying "Hell ya" right now.) Cost me $105 (85 reduced fine + 20 court surcharge fee) to learn that lesson.

Or I could stop getting traffic tickets... nah! (I got two other trials scheduled for this year and two more coming next year! lol)

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